Quoted from an article which appeared in the June/July 2002
issue of Outdoor Sports In The Southeast magazine.
Post Spawn Topwater Bass on Lake Oconee
written by Aaron Batson
There are several good times of the year to catch fish on Lake Oconee using many different techniques. One of my favorites, however, has to be the top water bite that occurs just after the spawn. Fish will be making their way out of the shallows and away from their beds heading to deeper water to recover from the spawn. As they make their move, they will aggressively feed primarily on shad early and late in the day. Look for rocks and wood that hold shad, which are also going through their annual spawn during this time.
There are several types of baits that will catch these feeding fish. Spinnerbaits, Crankbaits and Texas rigged flukes will all work. But for me there is something special about watching a nice bass explode on a topwater plug. There are several different baits that will work very well including Pop-Rs, Buzzbaits, Bang-o-lures, Tiny Torpedoes, etc. However, one bait that consistently produces big bass for me on Oconee this time of year is a 5 inch, 7/8 oz., Zara Super Spook. There is something about the "walk-the-dog" action of this bait that big bass just can't stand. If there is a large fish feeding with a school on a group of shad, she will be the one to bust the Spook. There are several good colors that work, but my favorite is a "modified" bone color. What I mean by "modified" is I like to use either red fingernail polish or a permanent red marker and paint some gills on the bottom, front portion of the plug. It helps to paint some eyes on the bottom of the plug as well. If you look at the Spook in the water, then you will notice that the bass only sees the underside of the plug, where there are no details painted from the factory. I definitely have more confidence in the bait if it has some color on the bottom of it.
Concentrate your efforts on the lake's many seawalls in the back half of any cove or creek. The larger bass are low light feeders and will only be up shallow with the shad during early and late hours in the day. If you find an area that is visibly holding bait, then stay with it. The bass will be there. However, I have found that areas without thousands of shad present can still produce well. Cast your plug right up at the wall and let it rest in the water for at least a 10 count. Once the bait has settled, begin the retrieve with short rod twitches low to the water. The plug will wag back and forth with every rod twitch as you work it back to the boat. Try different speeds with your bait. Sometimes the fish like it extremely slow and other times they like it ripping along the top. At times the fish like for the bait to be stopped after a few feet and will hit it in the resting position. Try different things until you see what the bass prefer. Some fish will actually miss the bait on the first strike. Keep working the bait and the bass will normally come back to strike again.
Also, be sure not to set the hook until you know the bass has sucked the bait in well. Setting the hook early, as the bass swirls, will normally pull it away from the fish. I normally use a 7 feet medium/heavy rod with 15-pound P-Line to target big bass.
Get out on the lake and give this technique a try, you just might catch the biggest bass of your life.
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