I choose the lakes I pick each month, since I know where the bass have to be, and what baits they’ve historically taken. That’s why for July I’m selecting Bogue Homa.
The weather will be hot, and the bass will be hunting shade. Shallow Bogue Homa is only about 1,000 acres. You don’t have to cover much water to know what the bass are doing there in July. Your best time of day to catch bass will be early and late. I’ll get to the lake before the sun comes up and am ready to catch bass when there’s enough light to see to run my boat.
Early and late July pattern
The first two hours of daylight probably will be the best time to catch July bass at Bogue Homa. The water will be really warm and the bass very active then. I’ll fish three baits — a Zara Spook, a Mann’s Super Frog and a Mann’s Pygmy Frog.
At first daylight, I’ll cast a shad colored Zara Super Spook, a big bait, because of the good sized bass there just past the cypress trees. Then I’ll medium retrieve the Spook by walking it within 2-3 feet of the tree trunks. My main line will be 50 pound test bass braid. I’ll use a Uni knot to tie on a 12 inch long 20 pound monofilament leader to help keep the braided line from tangling in the hooks of the Spook and to float the line in front of the Spook. I’ll fish with a 7.5:1 Team Lew’s bait-casting reel on a 6’10” medium action Lew’s rod. Since bass are known to throw the Spook once they’re hooked and jump, I like this medium action rod that allows the bass to suck in the Spook deeper than a heavy action rod will.
Once I get the bass close enough to the boat to land it, I play the bass to tire it out. Then I can get my hand under the fish’s belly and lift it into the boat. Because the Spook has three sets of treble hooks, I don’t want to lip the bass, since I’ll have a very good chance of getting a hook in my hand, especially if the bass is big.
As the sun comes up, I’ll cast the black Pygmy Frog and the white Super Frog on 65-pound braid with a 7.5:1 Team Lew’s reel and a 7’6” medium heavy Team Lew’s rod. Bogue Homa has numbers of lily pads and grass and has many small feeder creeks flowing into it.
I’ll be working those two frogs around the cypress stumps on the edges of the feeder creeks and in the main creek channel just under the water. These channels run through flats sometimes only 2-3 feet deep with only a 1½ – 3 foot drop-off from the flat into them. Often a hole will be in the grass just above the stumps, and some of the stumps will have a canopy of grass over them. When I determine which frog gets the most strikes, I’ll fish that frog.
Once the sun gets higher about 9 a.m., then I’ll concentrate my fishing on the cypress trees. I’ll pitch two baits — the ½-ounce black and blue Stone Jig with a black and blue crawfish trailer and the green pumpkin HardNose FreeFall plastic worm. I’ll pitch the Stone Jig with a 7’11” flipping rod with 50 pound braid all around the cypress trees and knees. Remember that the sun will make the bass not nearly as active as they’ve been at first light. So, concentrate your fishing on the shady sides of the cypress trees, including the base, the roots and the knees that are closest to the creek channels.
I’ll also fish the FreeFall worm on a 7’6” Team Lew’s rod and an 8.3:1 Team Lew’s reel with 23-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon line. I’ll use a 5/0 wide gap hook in the worm and pitch it to the cypress trees’ shady sides. As the worm hits the water, I’ll watch my line for a strike all the way until the worm hits the bottom. Once the worm hits the bottom, I’ll snatch it up off the bottom and allow it to fall back to the bottom. If I don’t get a strike then, I’ll reel in the worm and cast it to another target.
After about 10 – 11 a.m., I’ll go to shore, eat some lunch and stay in a cool, shady place until about 4 p.m. Then I’ll fish the cypress trees with the jig and the worm. As the sun goes down, I’ll go back to my topwater lures, like the frogs and the Spook.