July is always a hot month, and Bogue Homa is relatively shallow, but the lake provides a lot of cover for bass. I believe there are three places bass have to be at Bogue Homa: stumps along the underwater creek channel, standing cypress trees and the lily pad stems. I like to crank the stumps, pitch to the cypress trees and frog the lily pads.
Fish stumps early
At daylight, I’ll start fishing crankbaits around stumps right on the edge of the underwater creek channel from the boat ramp all the way back to the shallow end of the lake. A ski area is also above the middle of the creek channel, so I want to fish the stumps before the water skiers get out there.
The creek channel is probably 6 to 12 feet deep, and on top of that underwater creek channel, the water will be 3 to 6 feet deep. I’ll fish a Mann’s C-4 square-bill crankbait in the grey ghost or blue chrome colors on a 6-foot-9, medium action FX Custom Rod and use 20-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon on a 6.2:1 Bruin Elias Legend Series reel. I’ll run that C-4 in the 3- to 6-foot deep water over the tops of and around the edges of the stumps. I search for bends in the creek channel with numbers of stumps close together.
I’ll target also isolated stumps in the deeper sections of the channel with a medium-running crankbait that dives 7- to 8-feet deep on a 7-foot-2, medium action FX Custom Rod with the same reel, just spooled with 23-pound fluorocarbon. You won’t get numbers of bites fishing the channel, but the bass that do bite usually are good sized.
When I catch a bass on the creek channel, I’ll use my Garmin electronic anchor to hold my boat on that exact spot. I’ll cast to that place with the crankbait four or five more times until the bass quit hitting. Next, I’ll fish a SpringR Worm rigged with no weight and a 2/0 weedless Gamakatsu wacky worm hook. That SpringR Worm will fall and move slowly.
I’ll fish the creek channel until about 9 or 10 o’clock, then I’ll move to the standing cypress trees. I like to fish a 6- to 7-inch stickbait, a fat, soft-plastic worm. I’ll also use a SpringR Worm with a 1/16-ounce slip sinker up the line. I pitch these lures around the cypress trees with a 7.3:1 reel, spooled with 23-pound fluorocarbon on a 7-foot-4, heavy plus action FX Custom Rod with and a moderate tip.
I’ll pull up to a cypress tree, put down my Power Poles and pitch to every hole I see around the cypress knees and knots. I use my Garmin LiveScope to look for bass holding under the trees. I try to be as quiet as possible to keep from spooking the bass. Although bass will generally be in the shade under the trees, I’ll fish all the way around the trees. Next, I’ll move to isolated cypress trees.
Frogging the pads
I’ll also fish a black/white Super Frog in the lily pads. I try to remain about two boat lengths away from the edges of the lily pads and cast the frog as far back in the pads as possible. I’ll target places with the thicker lily pads and places where other aquatic vegetation is growing up through the pads — or where hyacinths are on top of the lily pads.
I’ll be listening for the baitfish concentrated under the pads to pop as they eat bugs and minnows. I let the bass tell me which color of frog they prefer that day by the number of strikes I get. Bogue Homa is an 882-acre lake, and probably two-thirds of the lake holds lily pads.
You can get bites from bass on all three of these techniques this month, but you’ll probably catch the biggest bass on the C-4 crankbait fishing stumps on the edge of the creek channel. Catching 10 to 12 bass will be a very good day, and one 8- to 9-pound bass may be in that number. Some of those bass will be small, however; most of the bass you catch in July with these tactics will be 15 inches long or better.
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