“Scour hole” is the name Knapp applies to the smallest midstream pockets. “These places are very subtle, with depth measured in inches rather than feet. Yet they are deep enough to provide a comfortable holding site for a single bass to shoot out and grab prey as it passes by. Scour holes at the head of a riffle are particularly productive and are likely to hold larger than average size bass.”
Another of Knapp’s favorite summer low water areas is the run located below a fast-water riffle or rapid where forceful current begins to slow, also referred to as a riffle tailing. During low water, these sites are typically 3 to 5 feet deep. Unlike a scour hole, which holds a single fish, these larger areas are capable of hosting many bass if the bottom contains numerous basketball-size rocks to break the current.
When it comes to lure presentations for extreme low flows, these experts employ a limited number of baits.
“I’ve been told that I’m a one-trick pony for summer low water,” Black says. “I throw — or more appropriately, dead drift — a 4-inch stickworm probably 90 percent of the time. It’s going to be a Yum Dinger in green pumpkin rigged Tex-posed on a Mustad 4/0 Mega-Lite Hook with a 1/16-ounce bullet weight on 8-pound fluorocarbon. I’ll cast upstream of a shallow-water, fish-holding location and let the current carry it into the pocket. If it settles to the bottom before reaching the pocket, I’ll gently hop it along the bottom. This soft bait presentation is a representation of hellgrammites, crawfish, stone cats, darters, dace, log perch and a host of other bottom-hugging smallmouth prey found in riffles and runs during the summer.”
“It’s important to incorporate the pauses,” Knapp continues. “When ripping a suspending lure, a bass might be trying to eat it but misses it because of the lure’s sudden unexpected movements. Periodic stopping of the X-Rap gives bass a chance to zero in and grab the bait. The ripping gets their attention; the pause lets them nail it.”