Bogue Homa bass and bream beds

Paul Elias fishes a Super Frog over the tops of the lily pads late in the day.

Great techniques for catching bass this month around bream spawning areas

Greedy bass and timid bluegills can spell success for Bogue Homa bassers this month. You won’t catch numbers there in May, but you might catch a 7- or 8-pounder. I’ve found two techniques that cause big bass to bite in May, and both of them are related to catching bedding bream.

I’m an old-school bream fisherman; I can smell a bream bed. I’m often asked what a bluegill bed smells like. Many fishermen answer this question by saying, “A very ripe watermelon.” But to me, a bluegill bed smells fishy. I tell folks the smell is unique, and you’ll know once you smell it.

I’ll stay downwind of the shallow water flats at Bogue Homa, and I drive my boat very slowly, due to the large number of stumps. I’m like a bird dog hunting quail, trying to identify the smell of bluegill beds. Although I can see some of the beds, most of them I can’t.

Skip a worm

Once I locate a bream beds, I wacky rig a 4½-inch, junebud-colored Mann’s Spring-R worm, using a No. 1 weedless wacky worm hook on 15-pound bass braid. I’ll tie this to a 4- to 5-foot leader of 10-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon. I’ll fish it on spinning tackle. The secret to success is my staying far away from the bluegill bed, but still be close enough to skip that small worm across the water’s surface and cause it to fall in the bream bed or on its edge.

Most people fishing worms wacky style either will be using a regular, 6-inch plastic worm or some type of fat, cigar shaped, Fluke-style worm. But the Spring-R worm is small and skinny. Most often, bluegill beds will be in the same vicinity as the cypress trees at Bogue Homa. Bass will often use the shade of the cypress trees as ambush points, while keeping their eyes on the bluegill beds. Once they spot smaller fish or any type of critter swimming across or falling into the bluegill beds, the bass will shift into high gear. They’ll swim hard to reach the bait before the bluegills eat it. When the bass sucks in the Spring-R worm, you only may see a tick on your line.

To have the force to skip the worm into the bluegill beds, I use a medium-heavy FX Custom spinning outfit. Once the worm falls into the bluegill bed, the race is on between the bass and the bluegill. The bass believes that if it can beat the bluegill to that itty, bitty worm, it will have breakfast or lunch, and the bluegill will have to do without.

Bet on a swim jig

I like a green pumpkin swim jig with a green pumpkin craw trailer; I’ll dye the pincers chartreuse. I’ll fish the swim jig on 30-pound bass braid on a 7-foot-4, medium-heavy FX Custom rod and an 8.3:1 Bruin reel. Many fishermen will shake their rod tips or jerk them and let the swim jig fall, but I don’t. I prefer to swim the jig on a steady retrieve through the bluegill beds. I’m counting on the pincers of the crawfish trailer to get the bass’s attention and make it bite. I’ll also skip the swim jig to the shade of the cypress trees. Most often, bluegills won’t chase the swim jig like they will the Spring-R worm, but the bass will eat up the swim jig.

Schooling bass

The bass usually won’t be far away from the bluegill beds this month.

In May at Bogue Homa, you’ll be fishing for post-spawn bass. Often, early in the morning as well as throughout the day, you may spot bass schooling on the surface, chasing shad. I’ll always have a walking type bait like a Zara Spook or a Spook Jr., tied on a rod on my casting deck within easy reach. On another rod, I’ll also have a Mann’s Super Frog tied on that I’ll fish around the edges of the lily pads and across the flats where the bluegills spawn. With a walking bait and a frog, I try to cover as much water as possible.

As the sun comes up, I’ll concentrate on fishing the Super Frog over the tops of the lily pads. Bogue Homa has lily pads growing out to about 5 feet of water. I’ll concentrate later in the day on the large, thick lily pads surrounded by sparsely scattered pads.

All three of these techniques can be deadly on Bogue Homa in May.

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Paul Elias
About Paul Elias 159 Articles
Paul Elias, of Laurel, has fished 15 Bassmaster Classics with career winnings of over $1 million, including one Bassmaster Classic Championship. Elias also holds the current record for a four-day BASS tournament weigh-in with 132 pounds, 8 ounces, on Falcon Lake in Texas.

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