Elite Series pro Mark Menendez knows a thing or two about fishing drought stricken waters. He lives in Kentucky, one of the hardest hit areas of our country, and has years of fishing experience under adverse conditions as a professional angler.
"The key to finding bass under drought conditions is to find deep water," he says. "Deep water will always be important because there's very little of it. The bass have to take advantage of what little there is."
Menendez's 5 tips to help you take advantage of the drought
1. Focus on deep water routes.
"Bass will always look for routes to deep water during a drought. They're instinctively afraid of being trapped in shallow water.
"I look for areas where a flat runs up against a point. This natural structure, creating an escape route, will produce if it leads to deep water. The best bait option here is a spinnerbait or a Strike King Red Eye Shad lipless crankbait."
2. Target vertical areas.
"Look for bluffs, channels and gullies that fall vertically into deep water. Find the spots that have baitfish on them and you'll likely find schooling bass.
"You'll need to make long casts and get your lure down deep to the fish in these areas. A Strike King Rocket Shad is my top lure choice under these conditions because it helps me do both."
3. Fish rock.
"As the drought lingers, most of the bank cover will be exposed and therefore useless to anglers. That's when I start looking for rock. The best areas are those where the size changes, such as a spot where it shifts quickly from softball size to golf ball size chunks. This change draws baitfish, and baitfish draw bass.
"Under those conditions a Strike King Football Jig usually gets the nod. I use a fast retrieve and bang it around the rocks a lot. The football head design moves through the rock better and helps keep it from getting hung."
4. Don't forget standing timber.
"Standing timber in deep water — or what was once deep water — is often a magnet for bass during falling water conditions. They like to suspend by the trunks or in the branches.
"Banging a Strike King Series 6 crankbait off the trunks and limbs of the trees will often pay huge dividends. That very tactic has allowed me to cash several checks over the years."
5. Go light.
"Drought conditions create clear water, and the longer the drought goes, the clearer the water gets. The fish turn spooky and it can be hard to find the bite. Sometimes downsizing can be what it takes to catch them.
"Drop shot and shaky head rigs are something you should always consider. I never leave home without a couple of spinning rods and reels spooled with 6 or 8-pound-test line. They're indispensable."