The spring spawning season has come to an end. Until next year, when Lay Lake’s spotted bass and largemouth bass will again head for the lake’s shallow spawning grounds, in preparation for another spring season, again producing another yearly offspring.
So, should Lay Lake regulars (or even those first timers to this weedy lake on the Coosa River system, now almost 100 years since its impoundment), now start considering ”going deep” for Lay lake’s spotted bass and largemouth bass?
Some say yes. Some say no.
I say, ” both shallow water largemouth bass and deep water spotted bass can be found and caught throughout the months of summer. Often, right on into the hotter days of the mid-to-late summer period, fishing for both of these bass species, can be fantastic!
Bass anglers can always find bass on Lay lake if they are experimenting with both shallow and deep water applications. That is, with a little preparation beforehand.
Still, many anglers love to challenge these Lay lake largemouth bass while fishing the lake’s weedy, shoreline cover. An arsenal of weedless lures will be needed to avoid losing costly lures and to avoid wasted time and frustration with otherwise hung-up lures.
So here are some bass fishing tips for targeting these weed-dwelling Lay lake largemouth bass. Including lure suggestions and various “time tested” bass catching techniques, for fishing in and around Lay lake’s weed-infested waters this summer.
These are techniques and lures that work during the early summer months and right on in the earlier days of Fall. While purposefully targeting some big, largemouth bass in Lay Lake’s shallow, weedy waters.
Then as summer progresses Lay lake’s astute anglers may consider an advance towards deeper water — just like some of Lay Lake’s bass will do — throughout this fifty mile long, man made lake, impounded in 1914. But that’s another whole article in itself.
SHALLOW WATER BASS ON LAY LAKE
After most of Lay lake’s anglers have fished the lake’s shallow, weedy waters for the past spring season targeting spawning bass, its hard for some of them to even consider heading offshore for those hot summer days, deep water bass.
For some anglers there is no reason to dabble their offerings in deeper water, in their search for these now, very nomadic bass. Especially if those traditionally shallow water anglers are in search of some of Lay’s big, largemouth bass.
Most anglers that have fished for bass in the past know there are always some bass to be discovered both in and around shallow water during the summer months on Lay lake. Sometimes these bass are very shallow in water temps close to 90 degrees in mid-summer!
Believe it, you can take it from me, after fishing bass tournaments for over 25 years and professionally guiding (anglers from all over the globe) for bass on Lay Lake for over 40 years now, there are still plenty of bass hanging around the shallows in the summer.
Of course if you are not a Lay lake regular, like any newcomer to Lay lake, you may struggle to find these shallow water bass without any sense of direction.
You must also be a very astute angler, one that knows how to fish aquatic weeds…for Lay lake has plenty of variety when it comes to aquatic weeds, for you to explore!
WEEDS, WOOD AND ROCK COVER
Targeting bass holding in and around the many types of shallow water cover found on Lay lake always involves some search. These bass have many places to hide among Lay lake’s miles and miles of shore line weeds, wood and rock cover.
Some searching among the many types of wood cover such as around piers, boat houses, shallow timber, laying logs, trees, brush piles, stumps, etc. can help an angler discover a lot of bass most weed-fishing anglers may overlook.
This tactic may even involve fishing shallow rock cover. Like when fishing around man made rip-rap rocks. Like those rocks found around the lake’s bridges, causeways, culverts and the dam area.
Or anglers can target other forms of rock cover found throughout the shallows on Lay lake. Like current-laden block walls, rocky points, all around small islands, or when targeting one or more of the lake’s many bluff-lined banks and adjoining small pockets, mostly found on the mid-to-lower section of Lay lake.
Lay lake has coon tail moss, Lilly pads, and many exotic weeds. Including some recently introduced aquatic weeds that have invaded and choked out many places on the lake in recent years.
Thick, stringy hook-grabbing weeds like Eurasian milfoil and hydrilla aquatic weeds. Some of these weeds, the bass like for cover, and the anglers that target these largemouth bass like to fish it as well.
Swimmers, water skiers and other people that like to enter the lake’s weedy waters during the summer months, don’t like it.
So, some weed spraying (yes, with poison), may take place during the summer period. This is usually very evident by the unsightly-looking dead, brown and decaying weeds that are always left behind.
Usually resulting in no bites from bass normally found in these places. Poisonous-sprayed aquatic weeds, usually show bass that have either died or they have completely left the sprayed area. Evident by floating fish or you getting no bites.
If an angler chooses to fish Lay Lake’s weedy waters this summer then he/she will need to stock up on a variety of lures. Some lures will be needed that are meant to be fished right up in the weeds. Some lures that are meant to be dropped right in the thickest of weeds
Or Lay’s bass anglers can choose to fish those types of lures that can be manipulated in and around those treble hook-grabbing weeds. Always have several rods rigged and ready for all types of applications when fishing in and around Lay Lake’s various weedy types.
Frogs – As when fishing any weedy body of water you need a good supply of those cute little frog lures. (See: “Fun with frogs and rats” article link on my website; www.fishingalabama.com). There are basically two types of fake frogs.
Having both types of frogs, the hollow-bodied frog (or the two-hook rubber frogs) is suggested.
A soft plastic bodied single-hook (w/Gamakatsu hooks; sizes 4/0 to 5/0) frog is needed when bass are picky. It can be reeled in like when retrieving a buzz bait.
Variety, gives the bass a choice and on some days they do prefer one model frog over another. The two hook frog looks more natural when utilizing short hops of the lure with your retrieve. Like when a real frog hops across the water’s surface.
Rigging these frogs requires the choice of using either monofilament line, braided line or fluorocarbon line. All heavy test line. The choice is up to each individual angler.
I suggest to at least use monofilament in the 17-20 pound test, preferably Trilene Big Game monofilament line, used on a wide-spooled ABU Garcia Revo Reel, coupled with a 6 ½ to 7 ½ foot long, heavy action rod. Or 30-40 pound test braided line.
* Flipping rods make great frog rods!
These outfits are needed for making those long casts far back in Lay Lake’s weedy, scummy-looking waters and for getting those big bass that do bite, out of this weedy cover fast! Lure color choice is up to each individual angler. Frogs come in all colors!
Floating Worms, Soft Jerk Baits and Senkos – These types of soft plastics are meant to be fished weightless on at least 10-15 pound monofilament or fluorocarbon line with the use of a 3/0 to 4/0 hook.
They can be cast right up in the thickest of weeds, often resulting in little or no hang-ups. That is, if they are rigged weedless with the lures hook point imbedded in the soft plastic lures body.
* Wacky Style is another application for these lures, hooking the lure in the middle with no added weight. But the hook is left exposed and this technique is reserved for less weed- hanging applications.
Floating worms such as Zoom’s very popular “Trick worm” can be manipulated to be walked right up in the weeds. Some anglers prefer natural colors.
Brighter colors of bubblegum, yellow, white or limetruce can be seen better and this readies the angler for a more visual strike. These brighter colors may better than when using colors you cannot see and must develop a feel for bass bites.
Soft jerk baits in shad or bream colors, like Flukes or Bass Assassins, etc. can be fished just beneath the waters surface, manipulated to weave all in and around these weeds.
These can be deadly lures on Lay Lake’s shallow largemouth bass. Both during the early summer period, all summer long and on into the early fall.
Gary Yamamoto’s soft plastic Senkos were developed to be fished weightless on a 3/0 to 5/0 size hook. They have a very slow and enticing wiggle as they are allowed to just slowly fall on a tight line, when fished in or around these Lay lake aquatic weeds.
This is one weightless lure you let sink out of sight and must develop a ”feel” for some often very subtle bites! Cast Senkos right in weedy holes, or allow these Senkos to slowly and seductively decent along weed edges or around isolated weed patches.
You must train yourself to resist the urge to retrieve Senkos or to even slightly work them, like you may do with other slow-sinking lures. Just keep a tight line and set the hook when you feel any lure movement. Watermelon green, pumpkinseed or even solid colors like black, blue or brown are popular choices. Some anglers dye the tail chartreuse.
BUZZ BAITS, CHATTER BAITS, IN-LINE SPINNERS, SPINNERBAITS and SWIM BAITS
Most anglers that fish aquatic weeds eventually tie on one (or all) of these types of lures. All types work great on Lay year round!
Buzz Baits – These lures have fooled a lot of bass on Lay lake. They are irritating surface lures that are traditionally big bass lures, that draw in some very vicious strikes. Often, continuously casting a buzz bait to a known big bass lair will aggravate an oversized bass to attack.
At times this ploy works very well. When other lures have been fished in a certain area they fail to generate a strike, always give a buzz bait a try, before leaving the area.
Rigging a buzz bait outfit calls for the use of heavy line, at least using line in the 17-20 pound test category. A good wide-spooled ABU Garcia Reel, coupled with a strong 6-7 foot long rod with plenty of back bone (but a little bit of a limber tip), is needed.
This helps create getting a good hook set, making extra long casts and for not pulling the lure away from the striking bass.
* Always use a trailer hook for those short striking bass, when using buzz baits.
Chatter Baits and In-line Spinners – When the ever-popular Chatter Bait first hit the fishing scene it was a hot lure and one of a kind. It still is today! However, today there are many copies.
With an odd-looking metal lip, sharp hook, skirt and added plastic trailer these flashing and extremely vibrating lures are for sure going to get any bass attention that is within a cast away. They are excellent lures for fishing stained to muddy water conditions.
Chatter Baits have no weed guard. So fishing them along thin weedy lanes, around openings in the weeds and along the edges of weeds, is suggested for less hang-ups. Heavy line in the 14-17 pound test is best. Using a 6 1/2 foot medium action rod and good, dependable reel is suggested.
In-Line Spinners – In-line spinners are very similar to the Chatter Bait. An old favorite of mine still in production today is the Snagless Sally. It vibrates almost as much as the Chatter bait and “Sallies” have a single # 4 – # 5 size Colorado blade that spins around an in-line shaft decorated with an added plastic trailer.
Most Snagless Sallies feature silver or gold beads on a in-line shaft, adorned with either a rubber or silicone material skirt. In the past adding a pork trailer was popular.
Best colors can vary on either of these types of lures for there are many color choices. White, chartreuse and white, yellow, lime or other brighter colors work well in Lay lakes often off-colored waters.
Spinnerbaits – Over the past few years manufactures of safety-pin type spinnerbaits have really came up with all kinds of configurations. Most bass on our very, over crowded lakes have either seen or been hooked by a spinnerbait or two in their lifetime.
Some bass have been hooked many times with these flashing and vibrating oddities.
Regardless, on Lay Lake these often labeled “lure-conditioned bass” will still hit a standard white, or chartreuse and white, ¼ to ½ ounce spinnerbait.
When choosing (or creating your own) spinnerbaits anglers can really mix it up, even with a little on-the-water experimentation. When fishing spinnerbaits on Alabama’s fifty mile long Lay Lake.
Changing blades and/or skirts, and adding various types of plastic trailers, often shows these Lay Lake bass a little bit of a different-looking spinnerbait.
Maybe one they have not seen before! One that often entices them to strike!
Anglers that fish Lay Lake with any regularity should always consider trying at least a few variations of various types of spinnerbait blades. Especially if these often very picky bass are not hitting you favorite spinnerbait!
There are times you may discover a certain preference the bass are attracted to. It can be a spinnerbait sporting either two willow leaf blades, or one featuring two Colorado blades.
Or a spinnerbait featuring a small Colorado blade up front, followed by a either a silver or gold willow leaf blade on the back, or another bigger size Colorado blade on back.
Whether you choose to adorn your spinnerbaits with silver blades, gold blades, copper blades, hammered blades, smooth blades or even painted blades. Keep one thing in mind. There are always some bass on Lay Lake that will hit a spinnerbait!
Swim Baits – The popularity these lures have gained in recent years has really conducted lure manufactures to increase their swim bait production. These are often very meticulously designed (or with hand-carved swim baits, intensely created) swim baits. They come in several sizes and feature lots of color choices.
Swim Baits can either be jointed, hard-bodied models with some of today’s high priced hard bodied swim baits a regular work of art. Or anglers can choose to fish with soft bodied swim baits like Berkley’s swim baits.
The choices can vary according to each angler’s preference.
Although some swim baits feature a visible or half hidden treble hook, even these normally weed-grabbing trebles can be cast right up in the thinner strands of aquatic weeds found throughout Lay Lake. Retrieves can vary, according to the day’s conditions.
* A fast retrieve results in a very enticing, kicking action on the swim baits tail.
This retrieve entices — both spotted bass and some very big largemouth bass — to instinctively strike hard, especially when encountering some very clear water situations. Like when fishing Lay lake’s mid-to-lower section.
These “reaction strikes” can often be very violent. Strong line is suggested!
* Slow is Better
When choosing to fish either hard-bodied, jointed-type swim baits or selecting soft bodied swim baits, for Lay Lake’s often lightly stained water conditions, always keep in mind; a slow, steady retrieve is usually needed to help these bass locate and home in on these very realistic-looking shad and baitfish imitations.
Lures are tools. It takes a different tool to get each specific job done. Which in fishing
terms is catching bass! Understanding the bass and its daily habits and movements is just as important as choosing the lures they may prefer on any particular fishing trip.
Always fish like it’s the first time you have approached a particular lake. Even on Lay lake you must keep an open mind. Every day is a new day and a new challenge.
There is always some new way you can figure out how to fool these bass of Alabama’s Lay Lake…into biting!