Russ Lane on the Alabama River

“I like a 1/4-ounce buzzbait in calm water and a 1/2-ounce size when a breeze chops the surface” Lane says. “I fish buzzbaits on a 7-foot medium-heavy baitcasting rod with Sunline FX2 50-pound braid.”

WAKE ’EM UP

Lane’s other spotted bass smasher is an oyster color Wake Up Wake Bait, also from Buckeye Lures. This buoyant, balsa long minnow lure floats high and wobbles across the surface when retrieved slowly, creating a V wake.

“You need to hold the rod high to keep that bait from diving under the surface,” Lane adds.

He relies on a 7-foot, 6-inch medium action Castaway Skeleton Cranking Rod and 12-pound fluorocarbon to keep the Wake Up working on the surface. Lane concentrates on the middle section of Jones Bluff when casting for spotted bass.

LARGEMOUTH AT HIGH NOON

When the sun gets high and kills the topwater bite, Lane switches gears and heads for shallow creeks where largemouth bass lurk. Calawasse Creek, Pintlala Creek and the Crescent Lake area are high on his hit list.

“The water temperature can be in the low 90s late in the day,” Lane says. “What will surprise a lot of people is that the largemouth go shallow when the water gets hot. The shad get shallow, too.”

Lane suspects that a slow summertime current and a lack of oxygen draws the bass into the shallows. Whatever the reason, he knows how to take full advantage of this opportunity.

With two flippin’ rods matched with 25-pound fluorocarbon, Lane attacks outside creek bends in the backwaters. The water is deeper there and offers more cover in the form of laydowns, stumps and brushpiles.

One flippin’ rod is paired with a 3/8-ounce bullet sinker and a 4-inch Big Bite Yomama beaver-style bait with wide pincers. The other rod is rigged with a 5/16-ounce sinker and a 4.75-inch deeply ribbed Big Bite Coontail Worm.

“The flippin’ bite can be slow, but you’ll catch 12 to 15 bass by the end of the day,” Lane says. “There’s a good chance you’ll have a few that’ll go 4 pounds and maybe one heavier than 5.

GO HERE FIRST

Before you visit the Alabama River or any other Alabama reservoir, go to alabamabasstrail.org. Here you'll find detailed information about nine lakes and two major river systems on the Alabama Bass Trail, including fishing locations, productive fishing patterns, local guides, campgrounds and where to stay.

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