by Mike Gerry
As the heat, and lack of rain, becomes the norm going into the month of September often the best approach is to attack the bite vertically.
All summer long we have been fortunate to continue to see unusual amounts of rain, but if history repeats itself, we will see September as a dry, sticky month; it will form a thermocline at the bottom of the lake and until it starts to cool, vertical fishing will be your best presentation. Understanding this as a key element and how the change in conditions will affect the behavior of the fish is critical.
When the days get hot and sticky, and the water temperature hits the mid to upper 80’s, generally the fish suspend, especially during the late morning and midafternoon. When this happens, angler versatility is key to your success. There are certain elements that you have to be aware of to overcome the lethargic feeding patterns during this time. One very important key is the position the bass are in. The only way to see it is to scan the bottom with your Lowrance Structure scan. In doing this, I believe that there are two kinds of suspending fish, those that positioned under the bait fish and those that are not.
When you see bass positioned under the bait, you have found what I believe are catchable fish. This is when vertical presentations become a killer presentation. The good news is that there are many ways to fish vertically; the first one I like is a big jigging spoon, something in the four-to-five-inch size, with a weight of at least one ounce. Also, I like to take a ¾ ounce, Tight-Line football jig with a small paddling trailer like the Missile Bait D-Bomb and get it to drop under the bait fish. Many times, just leaving the jig on the bottom to spider out from the current will catch a fish. A drop shot rigged with small finesse worms, gobies, leeches or Senko’s are killers for the drop shot enthusiast.
The changing conditions are always key to catching fish and understanding them by making yourself aware of the elements can lead you to a very productive day on the water; combining your awareness with good vertical techniques catches fish!