Wooden covers holds plenty of bass
Sardis Lake, near the town of the same name about 50 miles from Memphis, once was an awesome bass lake. Then, it went downhill. However, this 98,520-acre lake is making a comeback, and some good-sized bass are being caught.
November is a great month to fish Sardis, since the lake will be drawn down, and most of the bass, especially early in the month, will be holding in very shallow water, often 1 to 2 feet deep. I’ll be fishing primarily three lures: a buzzbait, Mann’s Baby 1-Minus and the C4 crankbait, and sometimes a fourth, a jerkbait.
Before severe cold fronts hit, I’ll fish a buzzbait, because it’s a shallow-running, big bass-catching lure that covers lots of water. Sardis is a main-lake type reservoir with only a few creeks and sloughs. Clear Creek, the largest creek, isn’t that big when the water’s down.
I’ll fish all the small creeks and pockets that empty into the main lake. I’m searching for wood cover and will cast around every stump and laydown. In November, the shad will pull up into the creeks and pockets, and that wood cover provides productive ambush points for the bass.
Some rock cover is around the marinas and the dam; however, the main cover will be wood. If I locate stumps under the surface, I’ll swim the buzzbait right over the tops of them. If the stump’s above the water, I’ll swim the buzzbait on either side of it.
To fish wood successfully in November, make several casts to the same target. Feeding bass usually will attack the buzzbait the first time it moves past a stump. If they’re not feeding, you can aggravate them into biting by making several casts to the same stump.
I’ll be fishing a 3/8-ounce buzzbait, but instead of a skirt being behind the blade, I’ll use either a Zoom black or white frog on the hook. I want to retrieve this buzzbait slowly, so the blades make a gurgling sound on the surface. In front of the black frog, I’ll have a black blade, and in front of the white frog, I’ll use a gold blade.
I’ll have one tied on another rod and make casts to the same cover as the buzzbait. I’ll tie this lure onto a 7-foot-1, medium-action FX Custom Rod with a Bruin ELS 8.1:1 reel and 20-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon. Then I’ll reel this lure over the tops and the sides of stumps.
Laydowns are also productive ambush points where bass will concentrate this month. Often, the laydowns only will have a small portion of the tree’s trunk and perhaps a few limbs above the water. I’ll retrieve that Baby 1-Minus along the tree’s trunk and let it bounce off any small limbs still above water. I’ll work these laydowns thoroughly, making seven or eight casts to each. As I approach a laydown, my first cast will be to the deep side, bringing the Baby 1-Minus across the laydown. Once I get closer to the tree, I’ll start casting toward the bank and swim it out from the bank to the deep side of the tree. I’ll crash the Baby 1-Minus into any limbs above the water on the deeper side of the laydown.
Cold front fishing tips
In colder weather, bass will move out of the shallows into somewhat deeper water. I’ll concentrate my fishing with a Mann’s C4 square-bill crankbait in ghost minnow color more on the main-lake wood and the riprap around the dam and boat ramps. I’ll fish it on a 7-foot-1, medium-action FX Custom Rod and 7.3:1 Bruin ELS reel spooled with 23-pound fluorocarbon. I’ll bump the C4 off the stumps and limbs of laydowns, just as I did the Baby 1-Minus. The difference is, I’m fishing this crankbait in deeper water, 3 to 5 feet. I also like a blue back, pearl sides, shad-colored C-4 that runs 3 to 4 feet deep and has a wide bill, enabling it to kick off of wood. You also may want to fish a jerkbait in those situations.
The real secret to catching November bass at Sardis with these four lures is to cover as much water as possible in the shallow creeks and bays during a day of fishing. You can hope to catch 20 bass per day, and in November, half of those 20 bass may weigh 3, pounds with maybe one between 6 and 7 pounds.
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