With the spawning season fading throughout most of the Southern states, heavy rains and flooding conditions have opened a different set of opportunities for anglers.
We all know that when the lake rises, like it has throughout most of the South and other central lakes, the bass move shallow into the flooded trees and grasses.
However, the bass that are done spawning have other things on their minds, such moving toward summer haunts and feeding up on the baitfish.
That’s not to say that you still can’t catch fish in the shallows. Absolutely you can. But the backs of those big pockets and creeks where the fish were spawning aren’t the places to be doing it.
Better options will be flooded areas around secondary points, the mouths of spawning coves and the main lake points, especially if the water is muddy. Muddy water pushes bass shallow and tight to cover.
I would spend some time fishing the newly flooded bushes along those shorelines. Some lakes, for example, have been under drought conditions for the past few years, so the rising water covers grass and bushes that have grown on dry land during the drought. That additional cover brings more nutrients into the lake and the bait and bass find it attractive.
I’d fish them with fast moving baits, like a buzzbait, spinnerbait or a Strike King Sexy Shad. The fish likely will be scattered in that shallow cover so it’s key to cover a lot of water in search of bites.
But there’s another cool, yet overlooked pattern you can fish under high water conditions when the main lake clarity is stained or clearing – fishing current areas.
I’m not talking about the ledges that we depend on during the summer months but rather lake structure getting current due to the increase flow of water being pulled through the gates because of the high water.
I’ve had some incredible days fishing main lake points and islands where the current swirled over the structure and created hot feeding zones for bass waiting for shad to wash over nearby flats.
These are places that normally don’t see much current under normal conditions therefore the fast water opens up new places that ordinarily don’t hold many bass.
A good example of a likely hot spot would be a pinch point between two islands that creates a lot of current busting through the gap. The bass will set up on the backside of that waiting for schools of shad.
I’ve even seen bass gang up on a shallow point with current in 4 feet or less where I could catch fish on every cast with a shallow running crankbait.
One of the best ways to find these areas is start with the dam at your back and drive upstream looking at the shoreline or your map where the current swirls around points and islands that may be above or beneath the water’s surface. They are going to have the most direct current coming onto them and they’re easier to recognize when you’re headed up current.
So if your shallow water bush pattern isn’t paying off, start looking at those main lake areas where you might find the mother lode of bass and have the best day of the season!