John's Journal...


Secrets to Fishing Riprap

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Bobby Bright and Charley Slaten of Boaz, Alabama, own C&B Guide Service and specialize in fishing Alabama's Lake Guntersville, Lake Logan Martin and Lake Neely Henry. These two fishing guides make their living helping their customers catch fish, and they depend on their equipment every day they're on the water. This week Bright and Slaten will tell us how they fish and how they consistently catch more fish than other anglers do.

Question: Of the lakes you guide on, Guntersville, Logan Martin and Neely Henry, why is Neely Henry Lake your favorite?

Bright: This lake is a river-run lake and not nearly as big as the other two lakes. It doesn't get as much publicity as the other lakes do, and I can produce more bass on a day of fishing in this lake than on the other two. Now, you may catch bigger fish at Guntersville and Logan Martin, but you'll catch more bass at Neely Henry.

Question: What's one of your favorite ways to fish Neely Henry?

Bright: At this time of the year, I like to fish jigs around grass on 12- to 20-pound-test line. I'll usually be fishing 1/2- to 3/8-ounce jigs, and if I have to pick one line with which to fish, I'll choose Mossy Oak's 18-pound-test Fishing Line. I like this line so much is because of its small diameter, its abrasion resistance and most importantly the way it transfers what the jig is doing on the bottom, up the line and to the rod. Then I can feel and see what's going on with my jig.

Question: How are you fishing these jigs?

Click to enlargeBright: My favorite place is to fish jigs on grass beds and points. I'll let the jigs lay on the bottom for several seconds before I move it, and then I'll just twitch it slightly. One of the biggest mistakes that I think jig fishermen make is not letting their jigs lay on the bottom once the jigs reach the bottom. If your jig lands close to a bass, and the bass doesn't attack on the fall, many times that bass will retreat a foot or two away from the jig, look at it and attack, as soon as the jig moves. I've caught quite a few bass when the jig is laying still on the bottom. One thing that we often forget is when the jig is laying on the bottom, if you're using a split tail trailer, often the tail will move even though the jig is sitting still. So many times I've caught bass by letting the jig sit still on the bottom, and the bass will attack before I ever start moving the jig. The tail of the jig is moving, even though the head of the jig's not. The tail action will many times cause a bass to bite. I think that if you'll let your jig sit on the bottom when you cast it out and wait on a strike, many times you'll catch more fish than when you move it on the bottom. Most of the time, I'll be fishing a black-and-blue jig.

Question: When you move the jig, how are you moving it?

Bright: I move my jig with my rod tip. By using the rod tip instead of the reel to move the jig, you can see exactly how far the jig is moving on the bottom. I only move my jig 6 or 8 inches at a time, and I like to drag that jig on the bottom rather than hop it. Now if the bass aren't taking the jig using this dragging tactic, then I'll start hopping it off the bottom.

Question: Why do you like the 18-pound-test line when you're fishing the jig?

Bright: Many times I'll be fishing that jig in some really-rough cover and need a line that's got a good deal of abrasion resistance without giving up sensitivity to get it. Mossy Oak Fishing Line gives me that abrasion resistance and still maintains its resistance and strength. I fish a lot of underwater trees and riprap this time of year. So, my line is constantly contacting rocks and wood. To keep a good connection between me and the bass, I need the abrasion resistance of Mossy Oak Fishing Line.

Click to enlargeQuestion: Why are you fishing riprap this time of the year?

Bright: If you'll notice, there's a lot of baitfish on the riprap. So, if the baitfish are on the riprap, then the bass will be there too, and that's where I'm going to fish.

Question: If the bass aren't taking the jig on the riprap, what will be your next lure of choice?

Bright:I'll be fishing the plastic worm. I like V&M's 5- and 6-inch worms in either the watermelon-seed or the Junebug colors, depending on the water and weather conditions. When I'm worm fishing, I like to use a No. 3 worm hook and really prefer the 5- and 6-inch worms. I like to use a 1/8-ounce bullet sinker up the line, and I'll usually be fishing 12- to 15-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line. I prefer the lighter line because I believe that it's more sensitive. When you're fishing a plastic worm, you've got to feel or see the bottom. Therefore, you really need a sensitive line like Mossy Oak's, if you want to catch more bass.

Question: How are you working the worm?

Bright: I drag the worm down the rocks with my rod tip, just like I will if I'm fishing a jig. I can tell how far the worm's moving when I use my rod tip and also feel the bottom and feel the worm crawl over and fall off the rocks. Most of the time the bass will take the worm either when it's fallen from the surface to the bottom or when it's fallen off one rock down the riprap to the next rock. Many of the fish that we're catching are spotted bass. Therefore, we have to watch our lines. Often a spotted bass will pick up a worm and swim straight to the boat with it. You may not feel the strike, but you'll see the line move to the left or the right and can watch your line move toward the boat. That's when you set the hook.

Question: How big are the spots you're catching at Neely Henry this time of year?

Click to enlargeBright: Our spotted bass will weigh from 2- to 4-pounds each.
Question: Since many anglers aren't fishing plastic worms on riprap, why have you and Charley Slaten started fishing worms?

Question: Since many anglers aren't fishing plastic worms on riprap, why have you and Charley Slaten started fishing worms?

Bright: Most of the fishermen are fishing fast at this time of the year (early summer), and we've learned that we can catch more bass by fishing slowly. We've also learned that when we're fishing riprap, the bass aren't holding on the riprap. Instead they're swimming into the riprap to feed and then swimming away from the riprap when they're through feeding. You must fish slowly to give the bass time to see the worm, identify it and take it. Most people are fishing crankbaits and spinnerbaits on the riprap, and we've learned by fishing jigs and worms and fishing slower that we can catch more fish than the people who are going down the riprap fishing fast. I believe the bass get conditioned to those spinnerbaits and crankbaits and won't take them as readily as they will the jigs and worms.

For more information about fishing with C&B Guide Service, you can call (256) 593-7830, (256) 738-4293 (Bobby Bright) and/or (256) 572-6217 (Charley).

To learn more about Mossy Oak Fishing Line's top-quality lines, go to



Day 1: Secrets to Bluegills and Shellcrackers
Day 2: Secrets to Fishing Riprap
Day 3: Spinner Bait Secrets
Day 4: The Trophy Bass Lake
Day 5: Crappie Fish for Big Guntersville Bass in June



Entry 304, Day 2