July’s a tough month to find and catch bass. Bogue Homa with its vast vegetation and cypress trees provides shade, ambush points and oxygen for the bass and the bait fish.
Understand the daylight bite
Your best bet to catch a better than average bass is to be on the water just before daylight. Look for bass feeding on the surface, primarily in the ski area, since skiers still will be asleep.
At first light, I’ll fish three different lures — a walking bait like a Zara Spook, a popping bait like a Pop-R and a Mann’s SpringR Worm — to possibly catch the day’s biggest bass. But this bite won’t last long — probably only until the sun comes up.
I’ll start off fishing the walking and popping baits interchangeably with a 6’6” medium action FX Custom Rod and an 8.1:1 Bruin ELS reel, spooled with 30-pound test bass braid and a 6-8 inch long 25-pound monofilament leader to keep the top water lures’ treble hooks from tangling in the braided line.
I’ll also throw a pearl colored SpringR Worm that resembles a shad to the bass moving on the surface with the bait fish. If I don’t get a bite when the worm hits the water, I’ll let it fall all the way to the bottom, and a bass may take it then. If not, I’ll reel in the worm and cast it out again.
I like a 7’4” medium action FX Custom Rod with 10-pound bass braid on the reel and a 10-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon leader with a 1/0 Gamakatsu Wicked Wacky Hook. After the daylight bite ends, I’ll move to the lake’s middle lane and head toward the standing cypress trees.
Fish the shade for hot bass action
As mentioned earlier, the bass will dodge the sun, hiding in the shade of the cypress trees and/or behind the underwater or barely visible cypress knees that provide ambush points for the bass to attack bait fish. I’ll start fishing with a junebug colored SpringR Worm, skipping it under the cypress trees’ branches with a 7’ medium-heavy FX Custom Spinning Rod with 15-pound bass braid and a 10-pound test fluorocarbon leader. I’ll let the worm fall to the bottom, skip it around each tree and work it out about 10 feet from the base of the tree — with the bite generally coming when the worm’s in the shade, but not always.
I’ll also be skipping a Mann’s Super Frog in white and black under the limbs of the cypress trees to determine which color the bass prefer. I’ll tie 50-pound bass braid to the frog and skip it with a 7’3” heavy action, FX Custom Rod, with a 7.3:1 ELS Bruin reel. I’ll next let it sit dead still, until all the ripples its created are gone. I’ll retrieve the frog slowly to the boat. But the frog won’t be in the strike zone of the bass for long.
In weather so hot, you must force feed the bass. Using your electronics, you can locate several feeder ditches running through the cypress trees. Key in on trees closest to the feeder ditches and any cypress tree away from other trees for bass.
Fish the lily pads and the hyacinth clumps
I’ll fish cypress trees and the lily pads mixed with coontail moss in-between the cypress trees, in the mouths of pockets. In July, when I see patches of hyacinths, I’ll pitch a black n’ blue craw worm with a 5/0 heavy Gamakatsu Round Bend hook and 1 ½-ounce weight in front on 65-pound bass braid on my 7.3:1 Bruin reel on a 7’10” heavy plus FX Custom Rod.
I’ll also fish a Super Frog — usually white but sometimes black — through the pads, with the same rod, reel and line combination I’ve skipped the Super Frog under the cypress trees. I’ll key in on movement I spot and where I hear bait fish popping and smacking under the lily pads. I’ll stop my retrieve in openings within the pads and in places where the grass and pads are thin. I’ll start off with a medium retrieve and then move to a slow and a fast retrieve to let the fish determine the speed I should use.
Expect to catch quality bass in July at Bogue Homa
In July, I’ll hope to catch 10 bass at Bogue Homa — and perhaps an 8-10 pounder. Most bites will be quality bites. But you’ll be lucky to catch 50 percent of the bass that hit your frog. The average July bass will weigh about 3 pounds.
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