June is ledge-fishing time on Pickwick Lake. The bass will be holding on the river bars and out on the ledges of the river channel.
Because the weather will be heating-up, the hydroelectric plants on both ends of Pickwick will be generating current through the lake, which will position bass and the baitfish the bass eat on these mussel bars and ledges. The bass will move out to the ends of the bars.
June bass will be holding in 17- to 25-foot-deep water, which is much deeper than what most bass anglers tend to fish.
I depend on my Lowrance electronics to locate the bass. Before I start fishing, I'll go to all the mussel bars I can find on the lake map in my depth finder and look for fish.
You also will see these bars on a printed map of the lake.
I'll be searching the ends of these mussel bars, as well as the sides and tops of the bars to see how and where the baitfish and the bass are positioned before I ever start fishing.
Once I understand how the bass are relating to the bars, I'll back away from them and start fishing.
Go deep first
I'll fish Mann's Slick Lures Alabama rig first because I can cast it a long way up to the top of the bar and then let it sink quickly to the bottom.
I'll use five Mann's HardNose shad-colored swimbaits.
I'll reel the rig slowly and keep it close to the bottom. I'll be fishing 65-pound-test FluoroBraid, tied straight to the rig.
When the rig comes to the end of the bars, I'll let it flutter down, and then keep on reeling.
At this time of the year, I expect most of the bass to be on the ends of the mussels bars. Every now and then, I'll stop the bait, let it flutter down some, and then start reeling again.
The trick to fishing the rig this time of year is to keep it close to the bottom and make it look like a school of fish. This tactic catches mostly largemouth bass but also some spotted bass and smallmouths.
Usually I cast upcurrent and retrieve the bait with the current. Most of the bass will be holding on the downside of the bar.
Crank the bass up
The next bait I'll use in June at Pickwick is the new Mann's Jointed 20+ crankbait, one of the first deep-diving jointed crankbaits on the marketplace.
Because it's jointed, this lure has a unique action - unlike any other crankbait that's not jointed. This bait dives as quickly, if not quicker, than a standard Mann's 20+, allowing you to reach 18 to 20 feet deep on 10-pound-test line.
My favorite color is pearl black.
I like the Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon, and I'll cast the bait with a Pinnacle 4.7:1 gear ratio reel and a Seeker 7-foot-10-inch fiberglass rod. Once again, I'll cast upcurrent and bring the crankbait over the ends of the mussel bars.
I'll be casting up to the top of the bar and swimming the bait over the ends and the sides of the bar. I'll also cast parallel to the bars and reel the bait down the sides of the bars.
Sometimes I'll position my boat on top of the bar, cast way out in the river channel and swim the bait up the bar. When you use this tactic, you're getting the lure to its maximum depth before it comes into contact with the bar.
Many times, this tactic will pay off the best.
Drag the bass up
If the weather's really hot and the bass are sluggish in June and not wanting to chase bait, I'll cast a Mann's 3/4-ounce Stone Jig.
I like a black-and-brown jig with a Mann's green-pumpkin HardNose Flippin' Craw.
I'm going to cast the jig to the top of the mussel bar and slowly drag it along the bottom to the end of the bar.
The real secret to fishing the jig successfully on the bars is to keep it in contact with the bottom all the time. The current will help push the jig along the bottom.
I'll fish the jig as slowly as I can, and just bounce it along the mussel shells.
Use a dead-water tactic
When there's not any current running, the bass still will be associated generally with the bars.
However, instead of being on the ends of the bars close to the bottom, the bass will be suspended higher up in the water on the ends of the bars or out in the river channel.
To catch these fish, you need to locate them with your depth finder. Then cast out your Alabama rig, count it down and swim the rig just above the school of suspended bass, which generally will be largemouths.
Anytime I'm throwing the Alabama rig, I use a 6.4:1 Pinnacle reel and a 7-foot-3-inch Seeker Alabama Rig fiberglass rod. I like a fiberglass rod because, when fishing braided line, that fiberglass rod is far more forgiving than a graphite rod. This rod has been designed to make casting much easier because it absorbs the shock of the strike better than other rods.
Also, I don't lose nearly as many fish with this rod as I do with stiffer rods.
So come and enjoy fishing Pickwick this June.