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Billy Blakely of Reelfoot Lake on Hot-Weather Fishing and September Duck Hunting

Day 4: Reelfoot Lake’s Exciting Bass Fishing in August and Early September with Billy Blakely

Editor’s Note: Although temperatures have reached 100 degrees and more each day this month across much of the South and even other sections of the country, the fish at Reelfoot Lake in northwest Tennessee are still biting. Billy Blakely, head guide and manager at Blue Bank Resort on Reelfoot Lake, hunts and fishes all year, regardless of weather conditions. This week, Blakely will tell us what he’s catching and how he’s catching them, during the Dog Days of summer.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: Billy, what’s your bass fishing like up there at Reelfoot in August?

Blakely: We catch a number of our bass around duckweed at this time of year. We search for spots where the duckweed has drifted-up and made a little patch of duckweed. The bass tend to hold-up under that duckweed, because it provides shade and oxygen and attracts baitfish.

Question: What do you fish with in August to catch those bass?

Blakely: I use the Strike King Rage Shad. Most people at Reelfoot fish rubber frogs and rats and the same types of old top-water lures they’ve always used to fish around grass. But when that Rage Shad came out, I noticed that it produced a lot of action and had a different type of profile and a special way of moving in the water than the other top-water grass baits did. Click for Larger ViewSo, I started catching bass on the grey or black back and the pearl-colored Rage Shad. I fished that Rage Shad on a 7-1/2-foot rod with 50-pound-test braided line and a No. 5/0 wide-gap Mustad hook. I ran the hook all the way through the bait and then put the point of the hook just under the skin of the Rage Shad to make the bait weedless. I reeled that bait as fast as I could. Most of the buddies I fish with think I’m crazy to reel that lure as fast as I do across that grass. But after they’ve seen me catch more and bigger bass than they do in August, they finally conclude that I may know a little something they don’t. They’ll start wanting to borrow my Rage Shad, which is a different bait with a special look that runs at a different speed than the big bass in this lake ever have seen. I’ve learned that big bass don’t always bite because they’re hungry. They’re predator fish, so they want to kill prey that comes within their strike zone, whether they eat that prey or not. If you bring that Rage Shad across that thin moss quickly, those big bass will strike at it.

Question: When those big bass bow-up on that bait, do you set the hook immediately or wait to feel the bass on the line?

Blakely: I wait to feel a little bit of weight on the line before I set the hook. Instinctively setting the hook when the bass attacks the Rage Shad is something everyone wants to do, but you’ll catch far-more bass if you wait to feel the bass before you set the hook.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: How do you get those bass out of that grass?

Blakely: I use 50-pound-test braided line to drag those big bass out of that grass. I fish with a Quantum Burner reel, which gives me the winching power to get the bass’s head up out of the grass and bring it onto the boat before it has time to look for the bottom.

Question: What boat do you use?

Blakely: I use the War Eagle 2072 LDSV. There are many things I like about this boat. I can use it to fish for bass, catfish, crappie and bream and hunt ducks. Remember that whether I’m fishing or hunting, I’ve got two clients with me and all their gear. Click for Larger ViewBecause Reelfoot is basically a shallow lake, I have to take that big boat with a heavy load into water that’s often 1-foot deep or less. Too, I have to use that boat out in deeper water on really-windy days when a lightweight boat with short sides really will get beat-up. My boat has to be a fishing and a hunting boat and be able to get me to the places where the fish and the ducks are located. It has to be wide and stable to carry from two to six people (six when I’m duck hunting) and all their gear. And, it has to be able to go into any type of weather. For instance, right now, we have 100-degree-plus weather, but in the winter months, I may have to break ice with that War Eagle boat. I need a tough boat that can handle tough situations and carry a heavy load. That’s what the War Eagle 2072 provides for me.

For more information about fishing or hunting at Reelfoot, you can call Billy Blakely at (877) 258-3226 or visit To learn more about War Eagle’s top-quality boats, go to or call (870) 367-1554. For more information on Strike King’s Rage Shad, check out

Tomorrow: August Bream Fishing and September Duck Season with Billy Blakely on Reelfoot Lake

Check back each day this week for more about "Billy Blakely of Reelfoot Lake on Hot-Weather Fishing and September Duck Hunting"

Day 1: Billy Blakely of Blue Bank Resort Tells Us How to Catch Hot-Weather Crappie
Day 2 :Reelfoot Lake’s Billy Blakely Explains How to Catch Catfish During the Dog Days of Summer
Day 3: Blue Bank Resort’s Billy Blakely Discusses Catching Catfish at Night
Day 4: Reelfoot Lake’s Exciting Bass Fishing in August and Early September with Billy Blakely
Day 5: August Bream Fishing and September Duck Season with Billy Blakely on Reelfoot Lake


Entry 575, Day 4