Lay Lake keeps on keeping on

In the morning, Duckett picks off active bass by working the water willows over with a weedless frog and a swim jig. When the sun gets up, the bass shut down and nestle into the vegetation. This is when many fishermen abandon the water willows and fish for spotted bass.

Duckett continues to catch bass in the water willows by flipping a Yamamoto Flappin’ Hog with a 3/8-ounce bullet weight and 17-pound Vicious 100% Fluorocarbon line. When a more finesse presentation is needed to coax bites, he opts for a Senko with a 1/16-ounce or 1/8-ounce bullet sinker fished on 12-pound fluorocarbon. With either bait, he flips only a foot into the grass as the bass station themselves on the outside edge.

“You’ll catch the biggest summertime bass from Lay Lake in the water willows,” Duckett says.

Deep River-Turn Spots

Wherever the river channel makes a turn on the main lake, spotted bass cluster on the upstream sides of humps and creek-mouth depressions. Prime feeding time is when Alabama Power generates electricity. The resulting current turns on the bass.

“The spotted bass are 18 to 25 feet deep, because that’s where the shad are in the summer,” Duckett says.

Duckett gets down to the bass with a fast sinking Silver Buddy, a metal vibrating blade bait. He casts upstream or quartering upstream, lets the Silver Buddy sink to the bottom and works it back with a sweep-drop retrieve.

“Just pull the bait up hard enough to make it vibrate,” Duckett advises. “You don’t want to rip it off the bottom

A drop shot rig also scores for Duckett. He dresses a No. 3 drop shot hook with a 4-inch Yamamoto Shad Shape and fishes it on 8-pound fluorocarbon with a 1/4-ounce weight.

“I’ll drop the bait straight down if I see a bass on my depthfinder,” Duckett says. “But I usually pitch it out a short distance and work it back over the bottom.”

Upriver Option

“I’ve won tournaments at Lay Lake by running upriver,” Duckett said. “The bass are current oriented when you get within about 10 miles of the Logan Martin Dam.”

When the current flows, the big spotted bass that thrive in this stretch go on the prowl. Duckett takes full advantage of the feeding spree by pitching a 7/16-ounce 4x4 Jig dressed with a Strike King Rage Tail Chunk. He threads the chunk onto the hook’s shank to keep it compact. A small profile jig appeals to spotted bass, and it creates less drag in the current than a bulkier jig.

Pitching the jig to the bank pays off in the spring, but not in the summertime, Duckett stresses. Now you’ll get more bites in 6 to 8 feet of water. Try crankbaits and topwater lures when the current isn’t flowing.