Five, “Big Bass Lures” For Both Day and Night Fishing, Alabama’s Tallapoosa River System Lake Wedowee – During the Summer Season
By Reed Montgomery / Reeds Guide Service (205) 663-1504 Alabaster, Alabama
Website: www.fishingalabama.com Face book too! Alabama’s Oldest, Bass Fishing Only Guide Service for Over 50 Years!
[Lake Wedowee (also known as Lake Harris), is located in the north eastern portion of Alabama, near the town of Wedowee. Its consists of the upper portion of the Big and Little Tallapoosa River System, right above down stream Lake Martin. Lake Wedowee was impounded in 1993 and it is Alabama’s youngest, man made impoundment. Many bass over ten pounds have been fooled in year’s past on this 40 mile long lake. Including several largemouth bass weighing in the “teens”! There have even been a few successfully caught, really true trophy-sized bass, some weighing over 15 pounds with some over 16 pounds as well! One floater found dead, weighed over 17 pounds!]
Suddenly, the spring spawning season is over. Its summer and its getting hot! As the month of June emerges and the fourth of July hot as firecracker! August and early September …even hotter! Lake Wedowee’s “Trophy Bass Anglers” take on a much different approach towards the advance of fooling their quarry, the largemouth bass.
Lake Wedowee’s largemouth bass have been in shallow water for months. But now the spring spawn is over. For the next three to four months of this summer season, these bass anglers, know they have an inevitably hot summer of fishing, just waiting ahead. The question many may now ponder is; Should I continue to fish shallow water, or should I fish deep water, or maybe just fish at night?
The main questions most anglers now ponder is; “Should I be fishing during the hot, daytime hours? Or should I be night fishing?” Considering the summer heat, many anglers will choose the latter of the two. By mid summer it can be 100 degrees at midday in Alabama! Even very muggy at night.
Another consideration is, which choice of lures anglers will select. Both to use during the day and when fishing at night. What lure technique is best during the hot, daylight hours when plenty of company is always at hand? Or what lure should they choose to fish with at night? In a much more peaceful setting, with some solitude actually possible lake wide.
The later it gets into the night, the better your chances are for fooling a truly big, Lake Wedowee largemouth bass is possible! At dawn, these same big bass are on the prowl and during the late evening hours, they begin their low-light period of feeding once again.
Fishing under the stars, when most recreational vehicles have left the lake, would be the first choice most summertime , “Trophy Bass Anglers” would consider for having a really good chance at fooling one of Lake Wedowee’s true, monster size bass.
Maybe a bass exceeding ten pounds. The kind of bass “Trophy Bass Anglers” are looking for during the summer months. The kind of bass most anglers never see on end of their line. Some anglers never fish at night. One in the “teens.”
You also have some daylight hours, when you actually plan a night fishing trip, with about a one – two hour opportunity at having a good chance at fooling a really big largemouth bass. One huge bass, that is feeding under low-light conditions during sundown and/or sunup.
So as you can see, commitment to about twelve hours of constant fishing should be included in your summertime game plan. That is, if you consider yourself a “Trophy Bass Angler.“ Do you have what it takes to fish for possibly just one bite, on an all day fishing trip in the hot summer sun, using lures most smaller bass would avoid?
If not, you can become one “Trophy Bass Angler” this summer season! Here’s how, and the five best lure types for both day and night fishing Lake Wedowee this summer season. For some truly big, largemouth bass…
Topwater Lures – Big, noisy topwater lures! My number one choice for big, largemouth bass on Lake Wedowee. Why? Because I’ve seen and caught dozens of huge largemouth bass on topwater lures, both during the day and at night, in the hot summer months on this lake for almost 30 years, since its impoundment in 1983.
Heddon’s three hook, Zara Super Spooks, black noisy type, clacker-model half-ounce buzz baits, Heddon’s black, broke-back Jitterbug and both solid body, one hook frogs and hollow-bodied, two-hook rubber imitation frogs, (in any color), but still black is best seen by the bass, always looking up at these fake frogs! They all work very well both during the day and at night on Lake Wedowee, all summer long! Experiment, with several pre-rigged rods with many different types of topwater lures.
Heavy, monofilament line of 17-25 pound test category is suggested with all of these lures. Some anglers prefer the use of braided line, usually in the 30-50 pound test (or higher) category. If you have a desire for your lures to sink faster and your fishing in extremely clear water clarity, then you may prefer to use fluorocarbon line in heavy test, of at least 17 pounds or up to 25 pound test! Leave the light line outfits at home.
With the buzz bait, I always go with the color black on the entire lure, the head, the skirt and the trailer, and I always add a trailer hook to any buzz bait, day or night. In open water situations, I may even add another trailer treble hook, behind this single trailer hook. This time it will be a #2 treble hook! Short strikes are common with topwater lures, especially when fishing with buzz baits.
Of the three treble hooks on a Zara Super Spook, I change the front and back treble hooks to a bigger # 2 size round bend Gamakatsu hook. Change to a Gamakatsu # 4 size, middle position, treble hook or just leave the original #4 hook. This keeps the 3 hooks on the Spook from hanging up with each other.
With the now famous, age old, (black) broke-back Jitterbug, some still come with internal rattles. If not (or if you want more noise), you can superglue some glass or brass worm rattles, to each side (of the lower segment near the tail of the Jitterbug), on these jointed-type, topwater lures. Also, for that extra enticing noise, adding rattles or a small bullet weight to the hollow body of the frog is suggested too!
Fishing With Worms – Big Worms! Whether you fishing during the day or your night fishing, offering these big largemouth bass a big name sake worm of 10-15 inches in length, simulates a lot of slithering summertime meals these big bass feed on. Big Lizards work too!
Sticking with darker colors during the night and selecting more translucent colors during the day, helps contribute more to the visual appeal of these bass. Adding scents and rattles to these worms may help appeal to their other keen senses of smell and hearing, for some very big and often very picky, summertime bass.
Even the selection of the tail of your worm is very important too! A swinger-type tailor a flat, paddle-type tail will emit more vibrations in the water and help bass home in on your lure. Much better than a straight tailed worm!
* Stealth is very important day or night to expect any degree of success.
These big bass bite better; if it smells good, tastes good, looks good, sounds good and they can home in on it, finding and hearing it better. If your worm or other soft plastic offering has an added noise like worm rattles (that appeals to their hearing and lateral line senses), these big, often very weary bass, are more likely to attack! If these big bass do not know your there, and they have not been alerted in any way of your presence, they will often let their guard down, and then they are somewhat easier to fool into biting your lures.
Fish these over sized worms and lizards on a long, 6-7 foot rod, one with plenty of back bone to help you land these often very tackle-testing bass. Always us strong, big 4/0 to 6/0 size Gamakatsu round bend hooks or a offset bend worm hook, and always use as heavy a line as possible.
There are a lot of rocks and wood cover that can damage lighter line causing it to break, usually at a very inopportune time. Like when a trophy bass is on the line! Heavy test monofilament line, fluorocarbon line of at least 20 pound test, or braided line in the 30-50 pound test is best for success!
* Again, leave the light-tackle outfits at home.
Jig Combos – There are still many other lures to select from, when targeting trophy sized bass! Big Jig Combos with Over sized Trailers Are For Big Bass! You may wonder why would I select a jig combo for bottom fishing during the day or night, when I’ve already included plastics like a big worm or lizard in this top five lure line up for summer? Simple. A jig combo is a big bass meal, just like a big worm or lizard!
Just like a big plastic worm, jigs and jig combos have been around for years. Both lure types have proven through the test of time, they are “big bass lures” that work in aiding an angler in fooling a big bass into biting, during any season. Especially the summer months when bass eat a lot of snakes, worms, eels, lizards and crayfish..
When these big bass are not actively feeding on worms, snakes, eels, lizards, frogs and other slithering meals, they go after crayfish. Crayfish are a much slower and easier to catch meal and they are loaded with nutrition. And Big Bass seem to know this! Jig combos simulate crayfish and to a big ol’ Lake Wedowee monster size largemouth bass, the bigger the crayfish, the better!
Select ½ ounce to ¾ ounce jig combos for deeper water situations. Try ¼ ounce to 3/8 ounce jigs if fishing shallow water. Keep in mind. The jig trailer is often the big bass appeal. Trophy bass anglers add over sized soft plastics as jig trailers, for that added big bass appeal. Like the crayfish your imitating with your jig combos, the bigger the trailer the better!
JIG TRAILERS – There are loads of jig trailers to consider. Like anytime, experimenting with several lure trailer choices, will help you determine the best jig trailer selection on any particular fishing trip, day or night.
An angler, especially a trophy bass angler, should never be afraid of selecting too big of a jig trailer, even the biggest, most outlandish of big jig trailers! If it can be added to the jig…try it! That’s why they call them largemouth bass!
In all my forty plus years of fishing Alabama’s lakes, I’ve spent dozens of those years fishing Lake Wedowee since the first year it was opened to the public. I have fished with a lot of anglers and I’ve seen jigs adorned with the biggest of trailers, huge jig combos, that even surprised me when that huge bass hit such a monstrosity!
I’ve seen big trophy bass hit jigs adorned with added worms of all sizes, including big lizards, creature baits, beavers, plastic crayfish, twin tailed grubs, plastic shad imitations and oversized chunks of real pork.
Its that, “visual appeal of a full course meal” that attracts the bigger bass bites!
Spinnerbaits – The Bigger and More Added Flash and Vibration, the Better! Whether you fish during the day or at night, a trophy bass angler should always have an oversized spinnerbait tied on a long rod, coupled with heavy line. Why? You may ask. Because through the sheer test of time, spinnerbaits have proven, they can fool a big trophy bass!
With Lake Wedowee’s often clear water situation during the summer months, your spinnerbait color and blade selection may vary. Like jigs, spinnerbaits can be adorned with an added plastic trailer or at times they can be fished with no trailer at all.
If fishing deep water during the day (like when dropping or slow rolling spinnerbaits) you may want to select a heavier, half ounce to one ounce model spinnerbait and keep the blades on the smaller size, with a selection of #3 to #5 size silver willow leaf blades.
These smaller size blades on a heavier model spinnerbait, are for helping these heavier spinnerbaits fall faster, getting them down deeper, faster. Adding a grub or other type of enticing plastic trailer may help slow the lure’s fall, while adding a little bit of extra enticement, with an added lure color.
If you do not own some of these heavier model spinnerbaits you can make one by adding a pegged bullet weight to your spinnerbait. Simply slid the bullet weight up on the fishing line before you tie on the spinnerbait.
Then peg the bullet weight tight to the spinnerbait by breaking off a toothpick in the bullet weight. Adding a half ounce bullet worm weight to a half ounce spinnerbait makes it then a one ounce spinnerbait!
During the daylight hours try fishing a 1/2 ounce spinnerbait, sporting a white skirt with double silver willow leaf blades and an added white grub on 15-17 pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon line.
When fishing after it gets dark at night, I suggest a black and red skirt on a 1/2 ounce spinnerbait with a single #5 to #6 size Colorado blade. Adding a single grub in contrasting colors may entice extra bites from curious bass holding down deep. I rarely use a spinnerbait trailer hook when dropping or dragging the lure on bottom or through submerged cover. They just hang up too much. But often (like when fishing in open water situations), you experience short strikes, just like when using a topwater buzz bait. So a trailer hook may be needed then.
Heavy line of 17-20 pound test is suggested for night fishing with spinnerbaits. There are a lot of lure hanging trees, stumps, rocks and bluffs and re-tying your spinnerbait often may be needed. Braided line is much stronger and provides a much better “feel” of the spinnerbait. Fluorocarbon line will cause the spinnerbait to sink much faster as well, if that’s what you want.
OK I’ve added Swim Baits to the Crankbait category because with both lures you just cast them out and reel them in and both lures can be fished either during the day or at night on Lake Wedowee for some big, summertime bass.
CRANKBAITS – Yes, crankbaits at night! To many anglers, this technique is odd. But if you think about it, minnows, bream, shad and other bait fish get eaten at night and both crankbaits and swim baits simulate these bait fish and they look a lot like a shad when retrieved! There are just some places on Lake Wedowee you just do not cast a crankbait at night and expect to get it back…like in standing timber!
SWIMBAITS – Swim baits can be small, medium size or big, soft plastic shad imitations, usually rigged on a single hook, on a jig head or Texas-rigged with a bullet weight and big single worm hook. Or some are hard-bodied swim baits, featuring a jointed, segmented-type body. Swim baits are excellent lure choices for targeting Lake Wedowee’s really big, largemouth bass (Ten pounders or bigger bass, those in the ‘teens”), found during the summer season often hanging around the lake’s many, miles and miles of standing timber, wood cover that was left here, when the lake was impounded in 1983.
At night during the summer months a lot of big largemouth bass suspend just beneath the surface of the water, but they may be holding in standing timber that is 50 feet deep or more! Many anglers fail to even cast for these deep, often suspended bass.
During the day in the summer season, constant boat traffic may cause these same bass to hold a little deeper, like in and around this standing timber. The use of your electronics will reveal what depth these bass are holding at both during the day and at night. They are usually right below any ball of bait fish your electronics reveal.
With both types of lures, big deep diving crankbaits and swim baits (some swim baits are from 6 inches to almost one foot in length), the use of a long 7-8 foot rod is highly suggested. Unlike during the daylight hours (when anglers may go to lighter line to get their lures deeper), using heavier line is suggested.
Crankbaits can be coupled with a high speed, wide-spool reel and long rods loaded with medium to heavy monofilament line (or fluorocarbon line), of the 15-20 pound test category, or heavier line, are suggested, especially at night.
If fishing during the daylight hours and you want to get a deep diving crankbait to go deeper, the use of lighter monofilament or fluorocarbon line in the 8-10 pound test category will be needed. But use braided line, only on the swim bait.
Long casts are suggested for both fishing with deep diving crankbaits and for getting swim baits long distances! Including very sharp hooks! Experiment with deep diving crankbaits, with various colors, different styles and various types like flat bodies, round bodies and short bodies, verses long-bodied crankbaits.
Try crankbaits with rattles and try fishing with some (Like Rapala’s Shad Raps) with no rattles, and always pay close attention to what your crankbait was doing — like how deep it was, or what direction you were retrieving the lure, and in what relation to any nearby cover the bass revealed — when you do get it to bite!
These are just five types of lures for targeting big, trophy bass on Alabama’s youngest, man made impoundment, Lake Wedowee, during the summer season. A lake that is now over 40 years young! Maybe you have some lures and techniques of your own!
Like said, ”always experiment!”
There are smaller offerings that can fool big bass as well! Always pre-rig as many rods as possible! Never give up. That next cast you make could entice that big bass of a lifetime! Oh, and always have good hook proof (rubber coated) landing net (and a good net man if possible!) one with long retractable handle for reaching way out for those fighting bass at boat side.
- Many a trophy bass has been successfully fooled into biting your enticing lure, then hooked real good, and even fought all the way to the boat. Only to be lost by angler error, or the net man stabbing at the bass, causing it to come off the hook and get away, and/or no landing net!
- Check your rod, make sure the reel is bound tight, adjust your reel’s drag (never too loose or too tight!) sharpen or replace all hooks and be prepared for any last second lunge, from these often very strong, oversized bass. They never give up the first few seconds that they have been hooked. Take your time! You’ve waited all night and all your life for these “bass of lifetime!”
Let these bass go to live and fight another day. (Even if its a carp or drum!) That’s the only way we will always have trophy bass and trophy bass anglers on Lake Wedowee! Be safe and courteous to other boaters and anglers during the summer season (or any time), on our often very crowded lakes. Remember to keep in mind. It’s all ‘our” water.
Thanks and Good Fishin’ Reed Montgomery, Owner of Reeds Guide Service (205) 663-1504 Website www.fishingalabama.com “Guiding on Lake Wedowee Since its Impoundment in 1983 and All Other Alabama Lakes, for Over 40 Years. Alabama’s Oldest, Professional, Bass Fishing Only, Guide Service” Like us on face book too!