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Summer rains spur bass activity

By By Mike Giles / outdoors writer
July 11, 2003
The recent abnormally high summer rainfall spawned by tropical storm activity has turned our streams, rivers and lakes into spring-like conditions.
Lakes such as Okatibbee Reservoir are at near record high levels for the month of July. This might spell trouble for outdoor workers, but it means active fish in area waters.
Much like in the spring, the recent cooling rains have seen a surge of bait fish and bass infiltrating the shallow water areas of our lakes.
Many of the bass had just gone to their summertime haunts when the heavy rainfalls drove up the lake levels. As the water rose, the fish followed into the shallows to feed.
Topwater time
Many anglers are now catching bass on topwater baits such as buzz baits, frogs, and prop baits. The old traditional standbys like the Devil's Horse and Nip-i-didee have been real hot as of late.
Many anglers are casting the prop baits near or around any type of brush that may be found in shallow water.
A lot of bass are being caught around the button bushes and willows that are normally too shallow to fish this time of year.
Anglers should be on the water at the crack of dawn to receive the full benefits of the shallow water activity.
Since the days are now getting hot, the bass activity will slow down as the temperature soars into the 90s.
Last Saturday morning my nephew Justin and I were on the water before daylight.
As the day slowly dawned, bass could be heard slashing the water all over the lake.
Once it got light enough to see, we detected many of these same bass striking at bait fish on the surface.
After casting a white Devil's Horse near one bass, the water erupted with the bass attacking my plug with a fury. The bass vaulted skyward time after time to no avail. With a mouth full of Gamakatsu treble hooks, the lunker bass was quickly subdued and brought to the boat. After a quick look of admiration, we released the bass to grow up and fight another day. Although I prefer fishing topwater baits in the white or shad color, there are several other colors that provide hot action at times.
Bream and frog colored baits are also deadly when it comes to catching shallow water bass in lakes and ponds.
Buzzers, frogs, and grass
If the lake you are fishing has any grass, that would be a key area to start.
With a lot of flooded grass and vegetation underwater, the bass are once again keying on areas that they were active in during the spring.
Recent trips to Okatibbee reservoir have produced lunker bass on both buzz baits and frogs in the grass.
Local anglers have reported catching nice bass in and around flooded vegetation in shallow water areas that normally are devoid of activity this time of year. One angler in particular caught quite a few bass by casting frogs around the grass something that is usually unheard of on the lake during July.
Other anglers have turned back to the old faithful buzz baits for some hot action as well. Buzz baits worked around vegetation or wood have been hot at times.
If the bass get to a point where they are striking short or missing the baits, simply switch to a frog or trick worm and work the bait a little slower. Sometimes that is all it takes to fill up the livewell.
If you want to enjoy some hot top water action, now is the time to go.
Prime times are still early and late in the day. However the action is also hot during and right after the rain showers.