John's Journal...


More Bill Dance on Flood-Water Bass

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Editor’s Note: Some people think that the only time to have a good day of bass fishing is when the lake is down and clear. Well, this is just not true for the bass fishing pros with whom I’ve talked. This week they’ll tell us why they love to fish in flood waters from Florida all the way to Texas. Here are some new tricks to find the big bass.

If you choose not to fly the lake in an airplane, then your next option is to ride the water. Before you begin to fish, spend time on the lake learning how the rising water has changed the lake, what areas are clearing and which sections of the lake have the warmest water. A surface temperature gauge can be a critical tool for bass fishing success under flood water conditions. Once you find the warmer water the bass are searching for, Dance believes you should give the Click to enlargebass more than one chance to take your lure. "Bass trail or track their baits when they can't see them," Dance emphasizes. "They are predators that often stalk before they attack. In muddy water, you need to slow down the retrieve of your spinner baits or crankbaits. Often a bass will come to a spot because it hears, smells or feels the bait. But then when the fish arrives at its ambush point the bait already is gone. "If I'm casting to a stump with a spinner bait when the water is muddy, I cast to the stumps bring the spinner bait by the stump and continue my retrieve. If I don't get a bite, I cast right back to the same spot and make an identical retrieve by that same stump. I want my spinner bait to follow the same tracks I’ve made on my first cast. I have learned that many times when you duplicate the same cast three or four times in the same area, you will get a strike on that fifth or sixth retrieve and catch the bass you won't have caught if you’ve only made one cast to that area."

Click to enlargeWhen the rivers and lakes flood, Dance becomes a trash fisherman. High water brings sticks, logs and debris into a lake or river. The debris usually moves in the current and hangs up in pockets and coves off the current, often leaving piles of logs, limbs and stumps just off the current. To fish this debris, Dance first will cast a shallow-running crankbait parallel to the debris. Next, he will throw a spinner bait parallel to the debris to try and catch the bass holding on the outer edge of the cover. However, before he leaves the area, he will flip a pig and jig into the thickest part of the stumps and logs to try and catch the bass holding back under the cover. "Several basic keys will aid your success when fishing flood water," Dance explains. "If you understand what bass generally do under rising water conditions, you will know where to find them and how to fish for them. When you are fishing flood waters remember that bass:

Click to enlarge* "swim to the most-shallow water,
* "move closer to objects like bushes and stumps,
* "move away from current and
* "rely on their abilities to feel the vibrations of the bait moving through the water and to smell a bait rather than see a bait."

Flood waters frighten many anglers off lakes. But the men who know what happens to a lake when it floods and how to find and catch the bass under these conditions often take the most and the biggest bass of the season.


Check back each day this week for more about THE PROS' TACTICS TO TAKING FLOOD WATER BASS

Day 1: Shaw Grigsby
Day 2: Gary Klein on Flood-Water Bass
Day 3: Paul Elias on Flood-Water Bass
Day 4: Bill Dance on Flood-Water Bass
Day 5: More Bill Dance on Flood-Water Bass



Entry 308, Day 5