Pickwick bassing

With the right approach, you can catch some really nice bass this month at Pickwick.

Grass, ledges and mussel bars are key

September is a transition month for bass, with some holding in deep water and others moving up into the grass.

Pickwick has outstanding fishing on river ledges, underwater mussel bars on the main river and good grass growth.

My advice for this month is to fish all areas.

Grass tactics

I’ll start off early in the morning fishing grass. This year I’m fishing a new bait — Mann’s Pygmy Frog — as well as a Whopper Plopper that resembles a Zara Spook with half of a buzz bait on its back. The Whopper Plopper from River2Sea makes a unique sound and has an unusual look.

I’m often asked, “Why do you fish new lures every year?” Several studies have indicated that bass wise-up to lures the more they see them, and lures that bass haven’t seen before tend to produce more bass.

The Pygmy Frog is a small lure that spits and pops water in front of it, soliciting more strikes.

Normally, I fish a frog fairly fast. But because tit’s a smaller bait, I’ll fish the Pygmy Frog slower and let it spit water every now and then.

When the frog comes to a small opening, I allow it to sit still and twitch it some. Even though the lure’s different, I still prefer either white or black colors, and I use Lew’s 7-foot, 6-inch heavy-action rods and  Lew’s 7:5 reel spooled up with 65-pound braid.

I’ll be fishing the bone-colored Whopper Plopper with a little bit of orange on the tail of the bait on the same rod, reel and line combination. You can pop this lure like a prop bait, but you get more bites using a slow, steady retrieve — just letting that prop turn.

You have to keep visual contact with the lure because the bass either will explode on the lure or suck it in and you won’t even see the bite.

I like to fish these lures at Pickwick this month, because when a bass attacks you won’t know if you have on a largemouth, a smallmouth or a spotted bass. Generally, you’ll catch more largemouths than other species.

I also like a shad-colored Mann’s 5-inch Reel ’N Shad with a ¼-ounce lead head. I’ll swim it fairly quickly along the edge of the grass.

At this time of the year, you might also encounter some schooling bass. I’ll fish the Reel ‘N Shad on the 7-foot, 4-inch Lew’s medium-heavy graphite rod with a 7:1 Lew’s reel with 20-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon line.

Ledges and the mussel bars

When the bass quit biting around the grass, I’ll key in on current, and move out to the main river ledges and mussel bars with a ¾-ounce Stone Jig in black-and-blue with a black-and-blue crawfish trailer.

I’ll use a 7-foot, 6-inch Lew’s medium-heavy rod with 23-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon line. I use my trolling motor, the wind or the current to drag that Stone Jig across the tops of those ledges and mussel bars to resemble a crawfish crawling on the bottom.

I’ll fish the same way with a Carolina-rigged Mann’s 5-inch green pumpkin Freefall Worm fronted by a 1-ounce lead, moving the bait slowly on the deep ledges and mussel bars.

One of my favorite places to fish on the river ledges is where ditches cut through sandbars — usually where you’ll locate mussel beds.

I’ll position my boat in the deep water, cast up to the tops of the ledges and drag a Carolina-rigged worm or a jig along the edge and over the lip of a break.

If I get into actively-feeding bass, I’ll quickly work a Monster 9-inch pearl/white head Reel ’N Shad on river ledges and mussel bars. I’ll stop the lure, let it fall back to the bottom and use that retrieve until I get the lure out in deep water.

Then I’ll reel it in and cast it out again.

My setup is a Lew’s 8:1 reel on a 7-foot, 3-inch Lew’s medium-heavy action graphite rod with 25-pound White Peacock fluorocarbon line.

September is generally a dry month. But when the power plant is generating, the fish will bite more actively and I’ll catch more bass.

I’ve caught some big bass — 6- to 7-pounders — at Pickwick using that Monster Reel ’N Shad when the current’s running.

Types of bass

The grass usually will produce more largemouths and smallmouths, but you’ll catch more spotted bass fishing the river ledges.

In September, I can mix up my fishing between the grass ledges, the mussel bars and the river ledges to enjoy a great day of bass fishing for several species.

About Paul Elias 183 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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