John's Journal...

Summertime Bass Fishing with George Cochran

Top-Water Bites Are Over, Now What?

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: George Cochran of Hot Springs, Arkansas, won the FLW Championship in 2005. In August, 2006, the FLW Championship will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, on Logan Martin Lake. Cochran should feel like Brer Rabbit being thrown in the briar patch because if there’s ever been a tournament where Cochran’s the odds-on-favorite, it will be this year’s FLW Championship. When the Bassmasters Classic was held on the same lake, Cochran finished 9th, and he also won the Bassmasters Classic held on nearby Lay Lake in August, 1996, under extremely-hot weather conditions. The city of Birmingham has been good to Cochran’s reputation and his bank account just about every time he’s fished there. We asked Cochran how he plans to fish the Dog Days of August during the FLW Championship when the surface temperatures will reach over 100 degrees.

Question: George, what will you do the first hour or two of daylight when the top-water bite is over?Click to enlarge
Cochran: I’m going to look for key areas that I believe that bass move to after they leave the shallow water. On Logan Martin, those key areas will be docks.

Question: Why are docks so productive during August?
Cochran: There are always bream and shad around docks on a lake like Logan Martin and many of the other lakes we fish in suburban areas. This lake doesn’t have a lot of grass on it, so when the bass move into the mid-range water, they’ll move to the docks. Docks have plenty of cover with pillars and pilings, and often they’ll have brush under them. The docks also provide shade and places for the bass to hide. Therefore, boat docks have always been a major key for catching bass on Logan Martin. Most of the bass that are caught on this lake by fishermen are caught around docks. So, as soon as the top-water bite is over, I’ll move to shallow docks first because that’s where the bass will usually move when the sun comes up, and the water gets warm before they move into the deeper docks. My favorite Click to enlargelure to fish around those shallow docks is a Strike King spinner bait.

Question: What size and what color of spinner bait do you like?
Cochran: I like the new Strike King Perfect Skirt spinner baits because I’ve been highly-successful with them this year. My favorite size is the 3/8-ounce. My favorite blade combination for this time of the year is a No. 4 willow-leaf that’s chrome colored, with the gold Colorado blade above the willow-leaf blade. I like a green-and-white head. I like the silver skirt with the green flake in it because with this bait when you reel it around the boat docks, it looks exactly like a minnow.

Question: What do you expect to catch with a spinner bait on the shallow docks?
Cochran: If my plan is working, I should catch three or four good bass on those shallow docks during the morning with the spinner bait. But the spinner bait isn’t a lure you can fish all day long this time of the year. It produces best early in the morning Click to enlargearound shallow-water cover after the top-water bite is over.

Question: How will you fish the spinner bait?
Cochran: I’ll usually make a long cast past the dock, and then reel the spinner bait up to the shade of the dock. I want the spinner bait to hit the poles or the pilings and bounce off of wood, which usually triggers a reaction strike from the bass.

Question: When your spinner bait hits the wood, do you kill the spinner bait or continue your retrieve?
Cochran: I keep the bait coming because in the hot summertime, most lures produce better the faster you retrieve them. During the summer months, you need lures that you can move fast and get a reaction bite. So, when the spinner bait hits the pole, I never stop reeling. I just keep the bait coming to me, and the bass generally will come and get it.

Question: Where will you fish next when the shallow docks stop producing?
Cochran: I’m going to move out to the deeper docks.

Tomorrow: Phase Three – Deep Dock Tactics

Check back each day this week for more about " Summertime Bass Fishing with George Cochran"

Day 1: Head for the Top
Day 2: Top-Water Bites Are Over, Now What?
Day 3: Phase Three – Deep Dock Tactics
Day 4: Slow It Down to Win
Day 5: How to Fish the Magic Hour


Entry 361, Day 2