This month we're going to Bogue Homa, a state-owned 1,200-acre lake right outside Laurel. The lake was closed in June 2007, but has since been restocked and is slated to reopen this month.

This shallow lake's full of cypress trees and vegetation, and features a number of small creek channels and underwater cypress stumps. Since May will be post-spawn time on Bogue Homa, the bass will be holding along the edges of those underwater channels and on the underwater stumps.

This month, you can have a lot of fun fishing the lake. Most anglers will be banging the banks and fishing visible cover, because that's the easy way to fish here. But I'll be fishing the opposite. I'll be fishing a Mann's C-4 crankbait along the creek channels and the Mann's HardNose Wonder Worm on a light Carolina rig.

During May, I prefer the chrome/blue Mann's C-4 crankbait. This color historically has been productive on Lake Bogue Homa and similar type of lakes at this time of year because it's a shad color. Since the bass have just completed spawning here, they're hungry, and they know that the quickest way to rebuild their bodies is to eat as many shad as they can.

To be successful, use your depth finder to follow the creek channels with your trolling motor. I'll be casting either parallel or at a 45-degree angle along the edges of those creek channels. I'll be banging that Mann's C-4 crankbait into the stumps on the creek channels, letting it deflect off the stumps and expecting the bass to bite.

Because Lake Bogue Homa is a new lake, you'll catch a number of small bass from 1 to 2 pounds each. However, there also will be some 4- to 5-pounders in the lake.

As I mentioned earlier, most people will be catching some bass bank fishing in the plentiful lily pads and grass vegetation. The numbers of logs and cypress trees in and near the water also will provide cover, shad and ambush points for bass.

This lake also has been designed to allow a number of boats to fish in it at the same time without interfering with each other. I'll be fishing out away from the bank and the channel, where most people won't be fishing. I'll catch bigger bass out there, and my odds of locating schools of bass will be better on the creek channels than fishing the bank structure. I'll use 15-pound-test fluorocarbon line with a Pinnacle cranking rod and a Pinnacle 6.2:1 gear-ratio reel. Then I can wind that C-4 fairly quickly around those stumps.

On Lake Bogue Homa, I prefer a 1/4-ounce slip sinker up the line with a barrel swivel tied to the end of the line below the sinker and then about 12 to 14 inches of leader line tied onto the line. I'll use the straight-tailed Mann's Wonder Worm hooked up with a No. 3 Gamakatsu hook. I'll work this rig slowly along those stump rows on the edge of the creek channel. I like the black and the black/blue Wonder Worm.

The bass will be totally spawned out and feeding actively around those stumps. In a day of fishing, you can catch 20 to 25 that will weigh 1 to 3 pounds each, and you'll occasionally catch a 4-pounder. But there's not a lot of big bass in the lake yet.

I'll be fishing a Carolina rig on a Pinnacle 7-foot rod and a 7:1 gear-ratio Pinnacle reel rigged with 30-pound-test Stren Braided line and 15-pound-test fluorocarbon leader.

Lake Bogue Homa is close to my home, and since it's been closed for 3 years, the bass haven't been beaten up by every fisherman with every type of lure in the country. Any time the state opens a new lake, you can have some of the most fun you've ever had in your life catching bass.

Although I like to catch big bass, I also enjoy catching lots of fish, regardless of their sizes. Having a good day builds an angler's confidence. Even though the lake may be crowded for a while this summer and fall, Bogue Homa still will be one of the most fun lakes in the state to fish this year.


Elias update

This year, I'll be fishing all eight of the BASS Elite Tournaments and four Professional Angler events. I had the worst year of tournament fishing of my career last year. I fished for a lot of bass and should have had a really good year, but I made a lot of mistakes. So this year will be a redemption year for me on the professional circuit.

If you need a good lake to fish to rebuild your confidence and have a fun day of fishing for you, your family and friends, then Lake Bogue Homa is definitely my lake of choice and should be yours in May.