Start your day with topwater plugs, then seine the lake’s cypress trees
April is a post-spawn bass month at Bogue Homa. The females will be coming off the bed, and they’ll want to feed up to help recover from the spawn. But they will still will be holding fairly close to the spawning area in shallow water.
Ever since the restructuring of Bogue Homa 10 years ago, the lake has held numbers of big, healthy bass. To successfully fish at Bogue Homa, remember that weekend anglers know the big-bass potential of this lake. So your best opportunity to catch bass there is to fish during the week.
• Two topwater baits. In April, I like to start off fishing topwater baits early in the morning around the big, underwater, cypress stumps that line the ditches running through the flats on Bogue Homa. My favorites in April are the Zara Spook and the Whopper Plopper. The stumps will be about 1 to 1½ feet under the surface and can be hard to see at first light. I have a number of them marked on my Garmin GPS, but the electronics tool I’ll primarily be using is my Garmin Panoptix.
I’ll be running the Whopper Plopper over the tops and around the sides of those stumps. The transducer of the Panoptix is on the trolling motor, and you can see the stumps with it — and often the bass holding on those stumps. If you cast in the direction in which the trolling motor is pointing, your cast will go right over the top of the stump.
• A Mann’s C4 Crankbait. I’ll ricochet a shad-pattern Mann’s C4 crankbait off the stumps. When the crankbait hits the stump, I‘ll hesitate it and then speed it up very fast, coming away from the stump. The strike usually comes as the bait approaches the stump, hits the stump and pauses after the hit or starts to swim away from the stump quickly. I’ll fish the crankbait on a 6-foot-6 medium-action Shimano rod with a Shimano Curado XG reel and 20-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon.
• Six-inch junebug Mann’s Jelly Worm. I like to use another tactic — pitching this worm with a 1/8-ounce sinker in front of it on a 7-foot-6 Shimano rod with 23-pound fluorocarbon.
I let the bass tell me which of these four lures they want during those first 3 hours of daylight. One of the secrets to catching post-spawn bass is you’ll have to make repeated casts to the same stump.
The sun’s up
As the sun gets up, I’ll fish by pitching and skipping into the shade of live cypress trees on the edges of those little ditches coming into the upper end of the lake with several baits.
• Mann’s ½-ounce black/blue Stone Jig with a black/blue craw trailer. I’ll start off pitching this bait on a Shimano 200 Curado XG reel with 50-pound bass braid as my main line. I’ll attempt to fish all the way around the shade of those cypress trees. Most of those cypress trees will have limbs close to the water, so I’ll have to skip the jig under them to get it in close to the stumps. I’ll fish the jig all the way from the stumps and through the roots and the cypress knees.
• Six-inch Jelly Worm. I’ll also pitch and skip this worm under the cypress trees and work it through the same area where I’ve worked the jig.
• Mann’s Black Super Frog. This is another bait I’ll use once the sun comes up, fishing it around and through the lily pads at Bogue Homa on 50-pound bass braid. I’ll use a 7-foot, heavy action Shimano rod with a Shimano Curado 200XG reel. I’ll keep the Super Frog moving as it comes through the pads, occasionally stopping it in the openings of the pads. The real secret to successfully fishing the pads is to listen for the bluegills and shad smacking beneath the pads and look for fish moving in the pads.
• Equipment. Fishing at Bogue Homa in April, you can expect to catch several bass weighing more than 5 pounds, and possibly an 8 or a 9 pounder. You need tackle that can handle those big bass and get them away from the stumps. Besides the rods mentioned, I’ll also be using a Shimano Curado 7-foot-2 Expride medium heavy rod with a Curado XG reel and 30-pound bass braid.