Lately the sizes and numbers of Sardis Lake bass have rebounded. I like to fish Sardis in September because the lake usually floods in the spring, bringing in new nutrients and an abundance of food that causes bass to recover quickly from the spawn. I’ll primarily locate bass on cover in the creek and river channels.
First half of September
The lures I’ll fish during the first half of September in underwater creeks and on river ledges include a Carolina rigged plastic worm, a deep diving crankbait and a walking lure.
- Fish a Jelly Worm: On a Carolina rig, I’ll use 40 pound test bass braid and a 1 ounce bullet weight up the line with a plastic bead beneath it. I’ll tie the braided line to the top of a barrel swivel. On the other eye of the barrel swivel, I’ll tie 3 feet of 19 pound White Peacock fluorocarbon line to a 5/0 wide gap Gamakatsu hook. I’ll Texas rig either a 9 or a 10 inch Mann’s plum colored Jelly worm. I’ll cast this rig on a 7’10” heavy action FX custom rod with a Bruin ELS 8:1 gear ratio reel.
- I’ll drag the Carolina rig along the bottom slowly to feel when the weight hits the cover before the worm reaches the structure and get prepared for a strike. My boat will be sitting on the deep side of a channel or river ledge, and I’ll cast to the top of the ledge. When the lead reaches the lip of the break, it will fall off from the shallow water to the deep water, and this is the second place I’ll expect to get a bite.
- Use a deep diving crankbait: I’ll fish a Mann’s Gray Ghost colored 20+ crankbait on 14 pound White Peacock fluorocarbon line that I’ve spooled on a Bruin 6.2:1 reel. I’ll use a 7’6” medium-heavy FX custom cranking rod to burn this crankbait on the bottom by casting it onto the shallow side of the ledge, cranking it down and bouncing it off the underwater cover. When the crankbait comes over the lip of the break, I’ll reel it quickly back to the boat to get a reaction strike.
- Have a walking bait like a Zara Spook: Tie a Spook to a rod on your casting deck. You can pick it up quickly and cast it to schooling bass on the surface. I’ll use a 7.3:1 reel, spooled with 20 pound bass braid and a short (8 – 10 inch) monofilament leader. Even when the school goes down and quits breaking the surface feeding, you almost always can continue to catch bass for about 10 minutes with a walking bait.
Mid to end of September
- Fish the backs of creeks and pockets: I fish every piece of visible cover I can find — with a C4 crankbait with a brown back and chartreuse body, a SpringR Worm in watermelon red or a Mann’s Classic spinner bait. I’ll start fishing from the back ends of creeks and pockets up to their mouths. If I’m catching bass in that creek or pocket, then after I fish one side, I’ll fish the other side. The shady side of these creeks or pockets is where I’ll locate the most bass. I’ll make repeated casts to all visible cover and use my Wiley X sunglasses to look for underwater stumps, logs and trees to see wood just barely underwater.
I’ll start off fishing a C4 crankbait and bouncing it off cover to get a reaction strike. I’ll also alternate fishing the crankbait with the spinner bait. I can fish both these lures fast, cover a lot of ground in a short time and determine how many and what size of bass are holding on that cover, and whether or not they want a fast moving bait.
If the bass are hitting the crankbait and the spinner bait but missing them, or if I’m not getting as many strikes as I think I should, I’ll slow down my fishing and start picking the cover apart with a SpringR Worm on a weedless wacky hook. I’ll be fishing with a 7’4” FX custom spinning rod, 15 pound bass braid and a 5-6 foot White Peacock fluorocarbon 10 pound leader. I’ll let the wacky worm wiggle down beside and through the cover. Once it hits bottom, I’ll twitch it a couple of times to make it wiggle. If I don’t get a bite, I’ll reel the worm in and cast it to another part of the cover.
The bass you can expect to catch
In September, I’ll enjoy catching 8-10 bass, averaging 1 ½ to 3 pounds each per day, at Sardis. When fishing a school of bass on the ledges in the first half of September, I may double or triple that number of bass. I may even catch a 5 or a 6 pounder.