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John's Journal... Entry 142, Day 1


Wade Bourne's Top Picks

EDITOR'S NOTE: Anyone who says he or she can tell you the best bass-fishing lakes in the United States only can choose those lakes based on personal knowledge. However, the outdoorsmen interviewed this week fish all over the nation and have the opportunities to sample some of the best bass fishing this country has to offer. They have emphasized that they don't know the best lakes in the nation to bass fish but will share the lakes where they catch the most and the biggest bass. Wade Bourne of Clarksville, Tennessee, a nationally-known outdoor writer, photographer and lecturer, picked Lake Barkley as the one he feels most confident he can catch bass on throughout the year.

Lake Barkley, a classic mainstream shallow reservoir located between Kentucky and Tennessee near Cadiz, Kentucky, forms part of the Land Between the Lakes area. Barkley and Kentucky lakes make up the twin lakes. Kentucky Lake, the older twin, gets more publicity. But Barkley, the younger, more shallow and fertile of the twin lakes, has a better crop of bass. Plenty of buckbrush flats and cover along the shoreline provide a place for bass to spawn.

The bass move to the main lake during the summer. Search for currents to locate bass in an actively feeding mode. When the current flows through the lake, you'll find bass in the mouths or near the mouths of creeks. The fish also will congregate on the main river channel. Expect to find the bass where the current washes onto the upstream end of any island. Flip buckbrush and logs on these points with plastic worms. Too, you'll locate feeding bass on the tops of the underwater bends in the river's channel when you fish with crankbaits, Rat-L-Traps and plastic worms for big bass.

Look for bass in the backs of bays around wood cover, like logs, stumps or brush. Slow-moving baits like big crankbaits, plastic lizards and worms or slow-rolling spinner baits will catch these bass.

I go hunting.

You just can't beat flipping a jig-and-pig or a plastic lizard in the buckbrush during the spring to catch bass on Barkley. You may have to fish a number of bushes to get a bite. However, when one of those big buckbrush bass bites, you may have your arms jerked out of their sockets by 5- to 9-pound bass.




Check back each day this week for more about the AMERICA'S BEST BASS LAKES...

Day 1 - Wade Bourne's Top Picks
Day 2 - Bill Dance's Top Picks
Day 3 - Bill Dance's Cool-Weather Picks
Day 4 - Shaw Grigsby's Top Picks
Day 5 - Kevin VanDam's Top Picks

John's Journal