June 15, 2017
By Scott Bernarde
Learning how to catch deep-water bass will increase your fishing confidence and deepen your angling skills.
It's summer, bass anglers, and time to stop beating the banks.
We know. It's fun when the fishing's on to cast at every stump, downed tree, stick-up, rip-rap and weed line you see as you cruise down the bank.
That'll still catch you fish — especially in low-light times of the day — but taking the time to get offshore to find those deep-loving fish will make you a better angler and put more fish in the boat.
BASS Elite pro Terry "Big Show" Scroggins thinks the apprehension some weekend anglers have about leaving the comfy shallows may be a product of low confidence.
"But here's the thing. If you go out on the bank and catch 7, 8, 9 fish in the morning, you've already had a good productive day," Scroggins said during an early-May outing on Toledo Bend Reservoir on the Louisiana-Texas line, where he was targeting mid-afternoon bass on secondary points, road beds and channel swings in creek channels. "And then you can take some time off-shore and learn how to do that. You'll build your confidence off-shore as well as make you more of a well-rounded angler."
Now, this doesn't mean there aren't any bass in the shallows during the summer — there always are. So if a frog bite is on, there's no need to look elsewhere.
But with the aid of a lake map, some decent electronics — not everyone runs a Humminbird Helix 10 like Scroggins — and some patience, you can find those deep ledges, brushpiles, underwater points, creeks, ditches that hold fish during hot times.
"When you find an off-shore spot it can be very rewarding," Scroggins said. "You can catch 30 or 40 fish."
In the May outing at Toledo Bend, Scroggins said the bass were setting up on the bank early feeding on spawning shad and bluegills, then moving to the secondary points as the day progressed. The fish will be out in the mainlake by the end of June at Toledo Bend.
"If I hit the shoreline, it's going to be during low light, meaning the first three hours of the morning and the last 2 or 3 in the evening," Scroggins said. He prefers baits that cover a lot of water, like topwater baits, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits.
In deeper water, it's crankbaits, Carolina rigs, shaky heads, big worms and jigs in slower presentations.
"I feel like that's a whole lot more productive than beating the bank all day long. Spend your time up there (on the bank) in the morning and right before dark, and mid-day spend more time off-shore."