Piedmont Lakes Fishing Report: August - September 2018
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What to expect when you head out to fish the lakes of the Piedmont over the next few weeks. Get a clue from noted outdoor writer Mike Marsh.
Yadkin/Pee Dee Reservoirs
High Rock Lake
Maynard Edwards (Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said in August, bass will be deep.
"When the water is moving for power generation on weekdays, look for the bass in deep water," he said. "On weekends when the water is not moving, the fish will be under the shady boat docks."
On the deeper ledges, crankbaits work well. When the fish are under the docks, the best bet is flipping jigs or cast spinnerbaits. A 3/8-ounce orange, brown and green twisty tail grub on a green pumpkin jig is a good bet.
In September, crappie will be at 20 to 25 feet in Flat Swamp Creek. Trolling with dropper rigs baited with jigs and minnows is the best tactic.
Blue and channel cats will strike cut shad trolled on the bottom at 8 to 20 feet. Flatheads will stick to the deep holes in the river, where anglers should find them with down-imaging sonar. The best way to catch flatheads is on a Carolina rig with a 3-ounce no-roll sinker and a live white perch for bait.
Maynard Edwards (Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said anglers should mow the grass for bass.
"It's a great time for ripping buzzbaits through the grass," he said. "A floating worm is another good lure for thick grass. After the sun is high, bass head offshore to drop-offs, ledges and humps at 12 to 24 feet. I use Carolina rigs and deep diving crankbaits like a Fat Free Shad and Rapala DT6,10 and 14."
Crappie will be deep, where long-line and tight-line trolling tactics will catch them. Anglers should find the schools on their depthfinders and troll them with jigs and minnows.
Flathead catfish will bite live white perch and bream at the mouth of Ryles Creek. Farther up in the creek, channel cats will bite cut baits and live shad.
Maynard Edwards (Extreme Fishing Concepts, 336-249-6782) said Badin bass fishing will fire up.
"Badin has some remarkably good fishing for schooling bass," he said. "Zara Spooks, Whopper Ploppers, propeller baits chugging lures will catch them. You have to pay attention because they might jump up anywhere."
When the bass are not showing on top, casting shaky head worms in the grass beds will draw strikes. The fish also hit floating worms cast around docks. When the bass head to deeper points in the middle of the day, deep diving crankbaits and Carolina rigs are the best options.
Crappie anglers should troll tight lines baited with minnows. Anglers should find baitfish in 30 to 45 feet of water and crappie will be eating them.
Blue and channel catfish will be on the flats. Cut shad and white perch are the best baits. If the water is moving, the fish will be shallow. If it's not moving, anglers should look for them as deep as 40 feet.
Rodney Crisco (Joe's Bait & Tackle, 704-982-8716) said bass would be hitting on top in the morning.
"The best topwater lures for bass when you see them schooling are Kastmaster spoons and clear Zara Spooks," he said. "They will also hit floating white Zoom Trick Worms and white 5-inch or 7-inch Senkos."
After sunrise, when the bass move to the deeper points, the best soft plastics are Zoom Ultra-Vibe jigs with plastic trailers in Green Craw and Brown Craw colors. A good crankbait is a Rapala DT-20 in red colors, such as Demon and any chartreuse color combination.
Sunfish will be biting around docks, stumps and rocks. Shellcrackers will bite red worms and night crawlers. Redbreast and bluegill sunfish will bite crickets.
Stripers will hit Preacher Jigs trolled on lead core line in 15 to 25 feet of water. The best colors are white/chartreuse, blue/white and Sexy Shad. Anglers can also cast Preacher Jigs and Roadrunners with 7-inch Snake Worm trailers to surfacing stripers.
White perch will hit ice flies trolled on planers at 12 to 20 feet. They will also strike jigged Kastmaster spoons and Joe's Special Waccamaw rigs, which have three ice flies with a sinker or spoon below them to keep the line tight.
Blue catfish will eat cut bream and shad. Anglers can catch them by bottom trolling or casting lines from boats anchored on drop-offs.
Bryan Rice (Bryanricefishing.com), a pro angler on the FLW T&H Marine BFL circuit, said bass fishing should heat up when the water cools down.
"In August, the water is so hot, the fish will be deep," he said. "I fish a flutter spoon, jigging spoon or a ¾- to 1-ounce Pro Line jig on the humps, points and ledges. Good jig colors are green pumpkin for clear water and brown/orange in dark water. The best place to fish is where a higher hump in deeper water is adjacent to a point."
Another good place to look is the river, where the fish hunt for the moving water and cooler water temperatures. Anglers can cast the same lures to lay downs reaching into the deeper water and get some strikes. The bass will be no deeper than six feet under the cover.
Before sunrise, a Zorro Headknocker buzzbait or double willow leaf spinnerbait cast around the points, timber and docks is a good bet. After the sun gets up, anglers should switch to crankbaits, such as a Bay Rat 1.5 square bill or a Rat-L-Trap.
In September, when fish are on the move, anglers will see schooling bass at the riprap near bridges and waterfront homes. The best bets will be Whopper Ploppers, Spooks and other topwater lures. If the water is rippled, square bill crankbaits, spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits will work better than topwater lures.
Other schooling fish will strike the same lures. Anglers should be on the lookout for white bass, striped bass and hybrids, which may churn the surface at riprap, points and bridges.
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