Thursday, September 30, 2010, 9:13 a.m.
by Captain Steve Chaconas
Cooler temperatures are on the way. We should see a drop by months end to around 70! This opens the tacklebox for most moving baits and topwaters for sure. Buzzbaits, poppers, walkers, and wakers! Note, water warms in midday toward the evening providing a good topwater bite twice a day! Speed is key. Slower presentations in cooler mornings. Speed up as water warms to 70. Fish are crowding available hard cover like docks and laydowns in shallow water as scattered grass in Broad, Swan, Piscataway, Bryans Point is breaking up. To see fish-holding cover, try rose lenses like Maui Jim PolarizedPlus ideal for low light to full sun conditions. The Wilson Bridge barges and pilings are great. Target structure like drops and edges around the Spoils, and Smoots (National Harbor).
Topwater action is great early under low light or in the evening. Start with a continuous pop, pop, pop of a Lucky Craft G-Splash, throw in pauses, and smaller twitches. During colder conditions, wait 10 seconds between pops. Watch baits carefully to note bass movement under your bait. A pull is better than a pop! Feathered hooks give you a second chance if fish blow up and miss. Replace with MUSTAD feathered Ultra Point trebles also in RED!! Just reel to make feathers move slightly! Fish sometimes strike several times before they take the bait. For rods, use a medium 6 foot 6 inch or even 7-foot rod to gain distance and leverage. Cooler water, try walking a Lucky Craft Gunfish. Wake baits like the Manns WAKER are great as they can be fished at any speed. Use a medheavy rod for best results in clear water over grass.
Buzzbaits with clackers, like the 14-ounce Hank Parker Classic, draw strikes from quality bass in cover over grass clumps as the tide falls, and after water warms through the day. Use a freely swinging trailer hook like the 20 Mustad Ultra Point. Manns HARDNOSE Swim Toad on a 50 Mustad Ultra Point swimbait hook is great for grass mats. The hard nose keeps the bait on even in thick grass.
Cover depths with Carolina rigs with HardNose lizards on points or grass edges near deep water. Use a 34-ounce weight, Mustad Ultra Point Mega Lite hooks, and an 18-inch leadersometimes shorter. Move baits with your rod, dragging slowly, stopping to let baits cover drops. Bump cover, stop and let sit a few seconds. When you get a bite, sweep set. For the tough bite, try splitshotting smaller baits, lighter weights, line and tackle.
Target grass remnants with lipless crankbaits like Lucky Crafts LVR D-7 in shad patterns and firetiger in stained water. Because lipless crankbaits are notorious for big bass to throw, upgrade to Mustad Ultra Point Triple Grip short shank treblesgo up a size. Cover water on long casts with a 7-foot medium action graphite rod to enable you to rip baits free from grass.
Burning Hank Parker Classic spinnerbaits, willowColorado combination and a white skirt, near cover produces hard strikes. When water warms, try double willow, faster retrieves. For clear water, use silver blades, gold for stained and a combo for in between. Bump cover and rip free from grass. At higher tides, its easier to work a 38-ounce and larger bait down to the grass.
As tides fall, work edges, clumps or isolated pieces of cover including docks with Mizmo Arkansas Craw and green pumpkin candy tubes soaked in garlic flavor Jacks Juice Texas rigged on Mustad 30 Ultra Point Tube hooks with 316 weights. In stained water, use blackblue with blue pepper tails or the new jig tube colors! Use Mizmo tubes with Gerkin (now R&R Baits) tube heads around bridge pilings and docks deeper than 5 feet on 10 pound test Berkley 100 Fluorocarbon, on spinning gear. The R&R Custom Baits head is weedless, easy to skip and glides on the drop. With cooler temperatures following cold fronts, hop smaller profile baits like Manns avocado Stingray grub on 8-10 pound test rigged on a 14-ounce head in ditches and in front of pads.
For drop shots use Manns 5-inch HardNose Finesse Worms on 20 Mustad wide gap Mega Lite hooks with 8-inch leaders. A 14-ounce Water Gremlin Bullshot weight is perfect in current on 8-pound test fluorocarbon line. It has less resistance and sinks better, so I dont have to add heavier weight to keep it down in current. Make short pitches to pilings along sides and leave on slightly slack line. Shake as needed. Feel pressure; set the hook with a reel and pull.
Get to the bottom fast with heavier 12 or 34 ounce BlackBlue Manns Stone Jigs with Mizmos new Shredder Chunk with tube tails in bright blue. Metal rattles from Punisher Jigs, the loudest attachable rattle, inserted into chunks will not come off! Pitch to cover, occasionally shaking to attract a bass. Watch line for bites! Higher tides and sun are better for dock fishing. As tides fall, move to deeper pilings. At lower tides, fish are moving to scattered grass in deeper water. Search baits like Manns Baby 1-Minus and spinnerbaits are working in these spots. Remember; slow presentations in stained water! More speed in clearer water. Swim jigs around grass, wood cover and docks!
Crank South Point, Smoots, Spoils, Fox Ferry, Hogg Island, Fort Washington, barges in Broad, around barges near the Wilson Bridge, pilings, and all hard cover. Cover different depths: Manns C-4 and for deeper spots Manns 15 with a wide wobble on 12-pound test line. Sharp hooks are a must! Treble hooks are big in numbers, not big in bite, not holding in much of the fish. Line stretch and rod flexibility make it easier for fish to take baits and provide give needed to land fish hooked on trebles.