A bladed jig rocks, but have follow-up baits ready on September trips
Bogue Homa Lake near my hometown of Laurel is shallow and contains a lot of vegetation. In September, that vegetation dies back, opening up waters for fishing that anglers weren’t able to reach during the summer. Baitfish are moving from deeper water to more shallow water, and the bass will follow the bait fish.
A bladed jig will be my primary bait in September, since I can fish it over the top of grass, around clumps of lily pads and through open areas of grass and lily pads. I like to fish a 3/8-ounce white/chartreuse bladed jig with a white crawfish trailer.
I’ll start off fishing the edges of the grass lines, looking for isolated clumps that appear outside of the grass, with a 7-foot-6, medium-heavy cranking action FX Custom rod with a 7.3:1 ELS Bruin reel and 20-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon line on a medium retrieve. I’m trying to kick the bladed jig off those clumps of grass. Most of the time, the strike will come when the bladed jig hits a clump and then breaks free — generally in 1 to 3 feet of water. Also at this time of the year, you’ll see bass attacking shad in the grass and on the edges.
I prefer to fish the northern side of the lake during September. Bogue Homa also has cypress trees standing in the water and often along the grass lines. I’ll be throwing the bladed jig around the cypress trees as I fish the grass lines.
I always like to have a follow-up bait when I’m fishing in or around vegetation. Often, bass will blow up on lures like a frog or a bladed jig and not take the bait. My follow-up bait will be a junebug-colored Mann’s SpringR Worm, rigged wacky style. I’ll primarily fish it under cypress trees, skipping the worm under the branches and letting it free-fall. I use a weedless, No. 1 drop-shot hook in the middle of the worm. On my spinning reel, I’ll have 15-pound braid attached to a 7-foot-4, medium-action FSX Custom rod. I’ll attach 8 feet of 10-pound fluorocarbon leader to the braid.
I’ll skip this worm into the shade of the cypress trees close to their trunks and around the cypress knees. If a bass boils on the bladed jig and misses it, I can catch that same bass by skipping the worm right to the spot where the bass has missed the bait. Then, I let it fall, snatch it up off the bottom and let it fall again. I’ll snatch the worm off the bottom several times during the retrieve, then make another cast.
I’ll tie a Pop-R to 20-pound braid with a 6- to 8-inch leader of 28-pound Tarantula monofilament tied to the bass braid. My rod will be a 6-foot-9, medium-action FX Custom rod with an 8:1 ELS Bruin reel. I’ll tie the leader on my bass braid to keep the hooks from the Pop-R from getting tangled up in the line while fishing around the grass edges, the edges of isolated grass clumps, cypress trees and the open water under the cypress trees. When the Pop-R hits the water, I’ll pop it and keep it coming back to the boat, popping it again, using a fairly fast retrieve.
Bait = bass
Remember, in September, baitfish will move into shallower grass, and the bass will follow the bait. I use these three lures to cover as much water as possible, attempting to locate spots where schools of bass are holding. Once I get several bites in one place, I’ll put down my Power Poles, pull up my trolling motor, slow down my fishing and fish that water thoroughly. I may catch two to four bass out of one location. When the fish quit biting, I’ll move down the grass line and the bank and fish until I get another strike.
In September, most Bogue Homa bass will weigh 1½ to 3 pounds, and occasionally you’ll catch a 7- to 8-pound bass. However, September is not really a big-fish month. If I catch 15 bass in a day’s fishing, I’ll feel I’ve had a really good day. Because Bogue Homa is very shallow, you must cover a lot of water to find where the bass are.
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