Float-and-fly when it's hot

About the author

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick is better known to the bass fishing world as the Smallmouth Guru. He lives in Celina, Tenn., and is the owner of Punisher Lures.

Last week I said I’d tell you more about the hot weather version of the float-and-fly after I knew more about it. Well, this week I’ve had a chance to give it a try. I think I know more about it. What I found was interesting. It has a future in smallmouth angling, if it’s adapted to conditions.

First, I should tell you that all my experience is at night. Daytime fishing with this outfit might be a whole lot different. I won’t know until the heat breaks. It’s been absolutely awful across the Midwest and the surrounding states. I’m not going to go fishing when it’s 100 degrees.

The next thing is that I never found any baitfish schools in open water with arches in them. After looking for a couple of hours each night, I gave up and decided to try something different. I started with my deep brush piles.

I hung the jig down so that it was a few inches above the brush and wiggled the bobber along until my jig was away from the brush. It worked like a charm. My first attempt resulted in three good fish. To be fair, two of them were largemouth. Only one was a smallie. Still, I was encouraged.

After that I moved to some weedlines in deep water. The bite was just as good there — I caught smallmouth — but only if I fished shallow, up where the weeds were thick and nasty. On Dale Hollow that was in the 10 to 15 foot range. It got me thinking. Maybe the brush pile bite would be better in shallow water. I gave that a try and guess what? The bite was much better. Again, smallmouth.

So, what I think so far is that you might be able to catch more bass if you move shallower. I know that sounds crazy. The fish should be as deep as they can get. But, it’s hard to argue with success. If you don’t catch them deep and you do catch them shallow, why in the world would you fish deep? That wouldn’t make sense.

Another thing that surprised me was color. I tried shad colors, greens and browns. Nothing. When I switched to black — like the man told me to do in the first place — I started catching them. Now I know that black is a good color at night, but so are natural colors, especially in the clear waters I fish.

I said last week it doesn’t make sense. But I know what worked for me. I'm waiting for the full moon, however. I wonder if more light might make a difference when it comes to color. We’ll see.

So, with a little research under my belt, I have this to report: Go ahead and look for arches in baitfish schools with your electronics. If you find them, fish there. If you can't, don’t give up. Head for some relatively shallow brush piles or weeds and go to work. And, make sure your jig is black!

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