One thing we all learned from our recent tournament on Wheeler Lake is that the better postspawn bass are already deep. They were the first to move to the spawning beds. They were the first to move off the beds. And now they’re the first to move deep for the summer.
By the better bass I mean those in the 3 to 5 pound range. They might not be giants, but they are quality bass that will help you win a tournament or give you a real sense of accomplishment if you’re fishing for fun.
The best places to find them are on long, main lake points or around offshore humps. They aren’t on all of them, however. In fact, they aren’t on very many of them. You may very well fish 20 or 30 places before you find a few good ones. And when I say a few that’s exactly what I mean. They aren’t schooled up yet so don’t expect to find the motherlode.
When I’m looking for places to fish at this time of the year I start with a paper map. I want places that rise up a little shallow but that have water that’s at least 20 feet deep right alongside them. The best deep water comes from channels in my experience, but don’t neglect drops and holes. They’ll attract the better ones, too.
When I get on the water, I use my electronics to refine my search so that I only fish high percentage areas and to target specific spots on those areas. This is when your SONAR really comes into its own. You can find spots that are different or unusual and know exactly what you’re fishing.
However, don’t expect to see individual fish like I’m talking about on your screen. You have to fish for them. I don’t really know why but most of the time I don’t see individual fish out where I’m fishing. My electronics are Lowrance so I know it’s not them. It’s just that they’re hard to see – for me, anyway – when they’re hanging around deep water and they’re by themselves.
My primary search bait is a Strike King 6XD crankbait. Its wiggle will generate reflex strikes, and it’ll run down close to 20 feet so it’s right at the deep water level that’s around my spots. Everybody has a favorite color. I’m not so concerned about that. For me, it’s more about action and depth.
Before I go there’s one thing I want to emphasize. This is not a numbers approach to the postspawn. You’ll only catch one or two from each spot, and you’ll spend more time fishing than you will catching. Still, if you want the big ones, and you’re willing to do the work to get them, this is one way to do it.
Everything I’ve said will change in two or three weeks. They’ll start schooling up and almost all of them will be out deep. That’ll require a different approach. But for now this is one way to go.