Conditions: Air temp 56 – 76 degrees, wind 2-5 mph, clarity 5-8 ft, lake level 736 ft, and water temps 60-64 degrees
The last stop on the Future Pro Tour Northern Division at Lake Oroville had anglers scratching their heads trying to figure out how to sift thru endless cookie cutter 1lb spotted bass in order to locate that elusive 2lb bite. The weather leading up to the tournament called for a warming trend with Saturday being near perfect fishing conditions with air temps in the 70s and some cloud cover. During our one day of practice we hit all three arms, the main lake, fished shallow, deep, slow and fast and eventually found that the bass were keying in on the shad.
If we fished an area that had large schools of shad we would get bit and every fish we caught regurgitated small shad about 2” in length. No shad equaled no bites. We also noted the key depth was between 10 and 25 feet and that the shad were relating to rock piles (we also noted large schools of shad out in open water but did not see any bass chasing those specific schools). Once we figured out these key pieces to the puzzle, I used my Lowrance Structure Scan® to locate rock piles on flats and sloping points with balls of shad relating to those areas.
Although we did catch some fish dragging tubes, the most consistent bite came from the drop shot and wacky jig head. On tournament day the wacky jig ended up being our main bait. You can see from the picture that instead of rigging the bait sideways or wacky style, we nose hooked it. This gave the bait an in line slow fall that when twitched on the way down was super erratic. Then once on the bottom we could bounce it or drag it back to the boat (the bait also did not get snagged as much as dragging the drop shot thru the same areas).
Rigging the bait this way gave us a great one two punch. On the fall we caught suspending bass chasing the bait balls and once on the bottom we caught the fish that were lurking below. Another key to our success was boat position. On each spot we varied our casting angles in order to maximize the bites and our efficiency. We did this by positioning our boat out deep, casting to the shore and working the bait down the slope or rock pile. Once we thoroughly worked the area, we positioned ourselves shallow and cast out deep working the bait up the slope essentially give the bass two different looks at the bait.
In one of our areas during the tournament we were up shallow and hit a feeding school where we had five bites in less than three minutes and even had a double hook up. It was a flurry of fun. In the end we had all the bites we needed to make the top 10 but two lost big fish that cost us some money. But that’s fishing…
Until next time stay focused, fish hard and I’ll see you on the water.
Here are the baits and set-ups we used…
The jig head set up:
Bait: 3.5” Kaitech Swing Impact (black shad)
Jig Head: Damiki Kaiser Jig Head 2/0 1/8oz (black)
Rod: Dobyns Champion Series 704Sf
Reel/line: Abu Garcia Revo Sx – Power Pro Super Slick 8 20lb. braid with an 8lb. Damiki fluorocarbon leader.
The drop shot set ups:
Bait: Kaitech 3.5” Swing Impatc (black shad)
Hook: Damiki Viper wacky finesse #2 (10” drop)
Rod: Dobyns Champion Series 704sf
Reel/line: Abu Garcia Revo Sx– Power Pro Super Slick 8 20lb. braid with an 8lb. Damiki fluorocarbon leader.