John's Journal...


Worming The Timber

EDITOR'S NOTE: This week we’ll look at fishing high water with all the floods in the Gulf Coast area due to Hurricane Katrina and the rain dumped along the Eastern Seaboard by Hurricane Ophelia. Cliff Craft of Sugar Hill, Georgia, has been one of the country's leading anglers for a number of years. A professional fishing guide on Georgia's Lake Lanier as well as a tackle representative, Craft travels the country teaching fishing seminars Click to enlargeand competing in bass fishing tournaments, and enjoys fishing high water.

Besides the spinner bait, another bait that has been very productive for me in flooded timber is the plastic worm. I like a six or seven inch worm with a 1/8-ounce slip sinker rigged Texas style. This lure is excellent when you see a crankbait or a spinner bait spooking bass. Oftentimes when the water comes up, the bass are moving into a new environment, and I believe they may be somewhat nervous. The splash of the spinner bait or the crankbait may frighten more bass than they call. Even when you run these two lures into cover, they may spook nervous bass on high water. I try and feed the fish a bait that will sneak up on them. A plastic worm can enter the water without making a ripple and move through the water and the Click to enlargecover without making a sound. Oftentimes this slow-moving lure can ease up beside a bass without spooking it and cause it to strike.

One of the best ways to get the worm into the water when you find nervous bass is to throw the worm up on the bank and slowly drag it into the water. Once I get the bait in the water, I swim it on top until it comes over a log or stump. Then I let the worm fall and work it back to the boat slowly on the bottom. If the water I'm fishing has a lot of heavy brush or grass, I will peg my lead to the head of the worm. Then the lead can't slide up and down the line. The worm hangs much less in thick cover when you peg the lead.

Click to enlargeAnother worm tactic that often produces when the water comes up quickly is swimming a worm on top. If you have a lot of rain over a very short time, many critters will be caught stranded and have to swim. Since the bass know that, they often will feed on a surface-swimming plastic worm. I still rig my worm Texas style, but I use no weight. I swim the worm slowly through the cover and wait on the bass to blow up on it. The color of worm you use really doesn't matter. I prefer electric grape because I have confidence in that color. But I'm sure another color will work equally well.


Check back each day this week for more about "HOW TO FISH WHEN THE WATER IS UP WITH CLIFF CRAFT"

Day 1: Spinner Baiting High Water
Day 2: Worming The Timber
Day 3: Tantalizing The Bass On Top, And Fishing Slow-Rising Cold Water
Day 4: Angling Flooded Grass
Day 5: Bassing Steep Rocky Banks, And Finding Bass On Big Floods And In High Water



Entry 318, Day 2