John's Journal...

Bass - How to Catch 'Em in August and Early September with Mark Davis

Down at the River

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Arkansas, has made over $200,000 in 2007 in tournament fishing. He’s won one FLW $100,000 tournament and currently, he’s in third place on the B.A.S.S. Southern Open circuit. Davis is a veteran. He won the Bassmaster’s Classic in 1995, and he’s one of the nation’s top pros. This week, he’ll tell us how to catch bass in a wide variety of lakes, when the weather’s hot, and when most fishermen are drinking iced tea and sitting by the air conditioner indoors.

Question: Mark, if you had to catch bass on a river in August and early September, where would you find the fish, and how would you catch them?
Davis: I love to fish river systems in the hot summer months. There are on the opposite end of the spectrum from the highland reservoirs Click to enlargewe’ve discussed. The good thing about rivers is you can find moving water, which causes bass to bite. With hot weather and low levels of dissolved oxygen, finding moving water is the real key to catching bass on river systems. With current, you can usually find and catch bass at this time of year. What the river has to offer as far as cover and current will dictate where I fish.

Let’s use the Arkansas River as an example. The Arkansas River has rock jetties, rip-rap jetties and a lot of undercut banks, which are sand banks with willow trees hanging out over them where the current has actually undercut those banks and exposed some of the willow tree. So, you have shade and cover on this type of bank. If you have any current at all on a place like this, youcan expect to catch bass. Current’s the key to catching bass in a riversystem, regardless of the type of structure you have to fish. If you don’t have any current coming through the river, go to the lock and dam. Click to enlargeWhenever boats are locking through a dam, current is created. When that current starts to move, you’ll be able to catch bass in the vicinity of that lock and dam.

Question: What lures will you be fishing?
Davis: Under these conditions, there are a variety of lures that will produce bass. But if I have good-moving current, I’ll fish a Strike King 3/8-ounce spinner bait with double Colorado blades, and I like the chartreuse-and-white color. I’ll be fishing it on 20-pound-test line, casting that spinner bait around any type of current break I can find. I’ll be fishing the spinner bait pretty slowly and trying to bump the cover with it.

Question: Why do you like Colorado blades instead of willowleaf blades?
Davis: If the water has color in it, and a lot of times rivers do have color in them, the Colorado blades give off more thump to attract the bass than the willowleaf blades do.

Question: What other lure will you be using besides the spinner bait when you’re fishing the river system?Click to enlarge
Davis: I’ll be fishing a Strike King Bitsy Flip paired-up with a 3X junior-size chunk. One of my favorite colors on the river is No. 22 – camo. That camo-colored jig with a green-pumpkin trailer is a great combination for river fishing. I’ll be fishing the Bitsy Flip on 20- to 25-pound-test line on a light flipping stick. I’ll be fishing the Bitsy Flip around rocks, stumps, wood, logs, pilings, and I’ll be fishing it slow and catching a lot of bass.

Question: Most people completely overlook the Bitsy Flip, don’t they?
Davis: Yes, they do, and I’m glad they do because the Bitsy Flip is the fish-catchingest jig I’ve ever fished. Every one wants to fish a full-size jig, however, I rarely ever fish a full-size jig on public waters, because I know the bass have already seen that kind of jig. I tie the Bitsy Flip on a rod just about every time I go fishing, because fishermen don’t use it, and bass haven’t seen it. When I put it in the water, I’m offering the bass a new lure they haven’t seen before and getting strikes that people who fish bigger jigs aren’t getting. I’ve found that I get a lot more bites on the little Bitsy Flip than I do on standard-size jigs.

Tomorrow: Where the Salt Water Meets the Fresh

Check back each day this week for more about "Bass - How to Catch 'Em in August and Early September with Mark Davis"

Day 1: Power-Plant Lake
Day 2: Grass Lakes
Day 3: How to Fish a Highland Reservoir Now
Day 4: Down at the River
Day 5: Where the Salt Water Meets the Fresh


Entry 419, Day 4