Shortly after launching his Triton on Long Creek Reservoir, local tournament angler Eric Seale stopped and worked a shallow, moss-covered shoreline with a chugger-style bait.

"Normally the grass along the bank is underwater," Seale said. "And the bass usually hold along the shoreline in the weeds where the water is a little deeper."

As Seale worked the shoreline with his popping bait, I had a couple of short strikes on a Rage Tail shad but missed on the hook sets.

Whether or not we could catch any bass on this hot summer day with brutal conditions and rapidly falling water levels was the big question of the day.

Long Creek Reservoir, nestled in the gently rolling hills of south Lauderdale County just south of Meridian, is owned by the City of Meridian and bordered to the northwest by scenic Lakeview Golf Course.

While the lake has been off the radar screen of most anglers, it is home to a vibrant population of shad, bass and crappie.

 

5:55 a.m.

Seale moved a little farther offshore, perhaps a couple of hundred yards off the dam, and worked a shallow ledge topped with grass. As he walked the dog with the chugger, a bass suddenly smashed the lure and headed for parts unknown.

After a shot battle, the accomplished angler landed the bass and our first keeper of the day was in the boat, only a few minutes after our day had begun.

"There's a long, submerged point that runs way out here in the lake and runs out to about 4 or 5 feet deep on the tip end, and drops into 16 to 17 feet of water," Seale said. "We'll catch them along the shallow ledge, and sometimes they'll gang up out here on the tip end where I caught this one."

As Seale talked and pointed out landmarks and shallow flats filled with grass beds, he continued casting and working the lure with a swift, precise presentation that wasted no effort or time.

"I like to fan cast an area like this and keep working the area until I get a bite," he said. "Then I'll work it real good and make sure I've located the sweet spot and main school, and there's usually more than one (fish) on the grass beds, ledges and humps."

After fishing that shallow hump and catching a bass, Seale moved another couple of hundred yards farther north and worked another moss-filled ledge and point thoroughly before deciding to move on.

"I think we'll move up to the shallow end where we've been catching some on an early morning topwater bite," he said.

 

6:10 a.m.

Seale cranked the big motor and we headed up the lake, stopping just short of the north end along a shallow grass bed.

"We've been catching bass on topwater lures in this area early in the morning," said Seale. "We caught a good many up here yesterday. They were active with the cloudy, rainy weather."

The water depth in this area was 3 to 4 feet deep in the middle, with about 2 feet of water to the sides and grass growing in water up to 6 inches deep.

Seale continued working his topwater lure, and I followed up with a more-subtle, slow presentation as we tried to establish a pattern.

"I can't remember the name of this lure, but it's a popping, chugger type of bait like a Pop-R or Chug Bug, and it spits and sputters and I walk the dog with it," he said.

The upper end of the lake where we were fishing is chock full of moss, with an occasional stump or partially submerged tree. As shad skittered across the surface fish were swirling on them and striking occasionally.

 

6:20 a.m.

Taking a cue from Seale, I worked a black-and-blue Big Bite Trigger Stick across the top of the moss beds, and a bass smashed it right on the surface.

I quickly set the hook and had my first keeper of the day.

A few minutes later, Seale worked the chugger across the grass bed and another hungry bass nailed his lure.

Bass No. 3 had fallen victim to Seale's expertise, and was quickly released.

It was obvious that Seale's knowledge of the lake was paying off as the day had dawned hot and muggy with little aggressive bass activity prevalent.

"Two to three weeks ago, the bass just killed a swim jig worked with a Zoom trailer," Seale said. "We really put it on them, and they were aggressive.

"I'll take that swim jig and fish it with an Ultra Vibe trailer, and it will vibrate and just sneak up on the bass, and they'll strike out of reaction. While everybody else is fishing spinnerbaits, I'll take that swim jig with the trailer and work them over real good."

 

6:45 a.m.

Wham! Another bass swirled on my Trigger Stick and smashed it, and I reared back to drive the steel deep into the jaw of the fish.

After landing the bass, I returned him to the water and bass No. 4 was history.

We continued working the shallow grass beds, and occasionally saw a fish strike at shad and baitfish.

I missed a couple on the Trigger Stick, and Seale missed a couple of short strikers before finally setting the hook and catching the culprit.

As it turned out, chain pickerel were hitting our lures and just missing.

"I think we need to get back a little deeper where we caught our last couple of bass," Seale said. "The water may be a little shallow back in here."

Seale moved the boat back into 3- to 4-foot-deep water full of grass interspersed with a few bare spots, and we continued using a variety of lures.

I switched to a black Johnson Spoon with a Zoom U-Tail trailer and followed behind Seale as he worked a chrome/blue back Rat-L-Trap.

 

7:55 a.m.

Seale sailed the Rat-L-Trap across the grass and just ticked the lure above it, and another bass sucked it in and he worked the fish across the shallow flat and pulled him into the boat.

Seale had established a solid shallow-water grass pattern, although the bass were scattered in the vegetation.

 

8 a.m.

I worked the spoon-and-worm combo in a slow, rhythmic retrieve that had the spoon and worm wobbling slightly from side to side.

This lake has a lot of shallow water and is full of moss and grass, and the bass just bury up in it when it gets hot. We were trying to entice a few into biting before the furnace heated up to full blast.

Suddenly a bass tore into my combo, and I cracked the whip. Things were really heating up now.

 

8:30 a.m.

Seale moved back down lake and stopped adjacent to tee box No. 6 on Lakeview Golf Course, and then ne started working a grass bed along the bank.

"The ledge comes out across here, and sometimes the bass school during midday and we'll catch them on topwater lures over the ledge and shallow grass," said Seale. "The key to catching bass in this lake is the shad; find the shad and you're sure to find some bass.

"There will be shad all over the lake at times and it keeps the bass spread out, but if there is shad in the area there will probably be a few bass."

 

9 a.m.

Seale moved across the lake and worked deep water off a prominent clay bank on the southeast side of the lake.

While working the deeper water off the point, Seale discussed a prior trip to this spot a couple of months ago, before the summer heat ramped up.

"Earlier in the year we found shad schooling off the point, and there were bass stacked up here," he said. "The point is about 3 feet deep right off the bank, and it drops to 16 feet deep in about a 45-degree angle real quick, and the bass will feed on the shad when they're in here.

"We pulled up onto the point that day, and caught and released about 30 bass before it was over. We caught them on Super Flukes and a Rapala DT 16 (white with a blue back) in about 15 feet of water.

"It isn't often that we catch them stacked up on a point or ledge, but when you have the shad bunched up in one area the bass will congregate and attack with a vengeance, also."

 

10 a.m.

After getting a couple of hits without a hookup, Seale picked up and moved to another shallow, main-lake hump and worked the area over really well.

Wham!

Another bass just killed a chrome/blue back Rat-L-Trap Seale cast across the hump.

"Every once in a while the bass will get on the stumps and laydown trees, and when they do you can really catch them," Seale said. "And when you find them on the wood cover, you need to hit every piece you can find, as they'll usually be on all of them."

 

11:10 a.m.

With the sun beaming down and the temperature reaching into the 90s, bass activity was virtually nonexistent on the surface, but Seale bore down and kept casting and picking apart the shallow ridges, ledges and humps along the deeper water.

Switching to a shad-colored swim bait, Seale worked the lure off the side of the sandbar in a fast jerk, jerk, twitch, twitch retrieve over the top of the grass.

Suddenly Seale whipped the rod back and drove the hooks deep into the jaws of another bass.

"He thumped it pretty good," he said as he released the fish. "If you get a bite on something like that, you ought to learn something."

 

11:40 a.m.

After working the ledge another 30 minutes without another bite, we moved back up the lake and stopped about the middle of the lake and slightly to the left side, right off the shallow grass flats.

 

Noon

Seale moved farther up lake, right off the No. 6 tee box, and worked the Rat-L-Trap in rapid-fire casts covering the grass quickly and efficiently, while occasionally ticking the grass and ripping it out of the mats.

Bam!

Another bass bit the Trap and tried to bury down into the safety of the salad patch, but Seale was having none of that and he quickly pulled the fish up and into the boat.

Over the next hour, we worked the grassy flats, ledges and humps quickly in search of bass. Seale picked up a few hits along the way, and finally caught another bass on a Rat-L-Trap.

 

1 p.m.

As the sun beamed down intense, scorching rays of heat, we made one last stop along a submerged grass-covered ledge and Seale worked the shallow portion of the ledge while I worked the deeper water off the end of the point with a black shaky head 8-inch trick worm on a Spot Remover jighead.

Probing the deeper water off the ledge, I hit an area devoid of grass and promptly felt the telltale tap, tap, of a hungry bass.

I reeled in the slack and jacked the bass' jaw to land the 10th bass of the day.

We'd fought scorching temperatures, bright sunshine, falling water and were fishing on the first sunny day of the week, and still had an excellent day of fishing.

If you're looking for a place to fish in relative seclusion, away from the hustle and bustle of Jet Skis, skiers and pleasure boaters, then you might want to head to Long Creek Reservoir and try it out.

There's a lot of offshore water that receives little or no bass fishing pressure.