So you decided that you are going up to Lake LBJ and see what you can do with the bass in all this heat.
If you have been there before, you know that LBJ’s shoreline is peppered with boat houses and docks that extend out into the water.
At this time of year, the shade provided by the docks and boat houses is the only shade you’ll be able to find with these ‘Blue Bird’ skies.
So what does this mean to you? Well, the shade is going to provide the bass a place to get out of that bright sunshine and provide several degrees of coolness to the water as well. That several degrees can mean the difference between suspending bass and feeding bass.
As a rule of thumb, this type weather is still going to have the water temp in the mid- to high 80s, which speeds up a bass’ metabolism to where they really need to eat more often and expend as little of their energy as possible to catch what they eat. So those big ol’ bass will lay under those docks, next to the pilings, and wait for their meal to come to them.
Are all boat houses and docks created equal? Nope. You have to pay attention to several factors this time of year when you are looking for productive ones to fish from.
Consider the following:
- Is the dock near deep or shallow water? If it’s shallow, then skip it. Deep, fish it.
- Is the dock high enough off the water to where you can cast, flip or skip a bait under it? If not, skip it. If it is, then fish it.
- Is there any kind of structure under the boat house or dock, such as brush or rocks? No — skip it. Yes — fish it.
- Is there any kind of creek or river channel running near the boat house? No — skip, if yes, then fish.
- Is there any grass, hydrilla or milfoil growing around or under the boat house or pier? No — skip it. Yes — fish it.
- Are you marking any fish on your side scan depth finder when you idle past? If not, skip it. If you do, fish it.
Now let’s break it down a little further by looking at each of the qualifiers individually.
If the dock is near deep water, then that gives the bass a route to move up and down the water column in search of food and allows them to stay in cooler water in this heat. As you may know, bait fish move up and down the water column as well and will move up and under boat houses to feed as well. So those near deep water are spots you definitely want to hit.
A boat house you cannot cast under only gives you the outside edges to fish, and at least two sides of it will be in the sun at any one point in time throughout the day. However, if you can get a bait up under it there probably will be a bass there waiting on a bait fish to swim by.
The more structure, the better. It gives something for the bass to relate to and hide behind. However, too much structure can make it hard to bring your bait through without getting it hung up. You just have to give it a shot and see.
Naturally, if there is a creek or river channel nearby, that means there will also be some current that is moving the bait fish’s dinner and will cause them to hold on the boat house or pier — and it’s like a magnet to bass.
Grass increases the oxygen levels around the boat house or pier, and that will increase the number of bait fish and other creatures that will draw bass.
If you see fish on your depth finder, you can rest assured they are either bait fish or some other predator fish.
So when you take off to LBJ, keep this in mind and skip those that don’t fit the “fish it” criteria — it will save you many hours of precious fishing time.
And who knows, you may end up catching a big ’un.
Send me your comments, questions and photos and I’ll get back with you, or you may see your pics in a future article.
Jasper Johnson is retired from the U.S. Army and is the Copperas Cove Bass Club secretary. To contact him about the club or for any questions, call 318-218-0358 or email Hook_up@yahoo.com.