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Topwater Time in Tennessee

The summer is coming to an end and the temperatures are at their peak. With temperatures near 100 degrees it can be discouraging to pick up a rod and battle the heat, but do not let that keep you from enjoying some exceptional topwater fishing. During August, the low light hours of morning and evening offer some of the most exciting surface action of the year. Schools of shad pile up on flats and other shallow areas, and the bass are right underneath them ready for their next meal.

If there were one lure for catching bass, it would be some form of topwater. There is no other lure that gives me the excitement and adrenaline rush as when a bass strikes a buzzbait, Zara Spook, popper or frog. You never know when you will get a strike, and two strikes never look the same.

When fishing topwater lures in August, start by searching shallow areas like flats and points where shad locate themselves in the mornings and evenings. You can usually see the shad by the ripples and flicks they make on the surface. Once you have located your bait, creep up to them and present your lure.

One of the most important elements to topwater fishing is being able to make long cast. A 50′ cast over a 30′ cast will allow you to catch dozens more fish. To maximize your cast, try to keep your spool full of line. You also want to use the lowest lb test you can that will give you the strength you need. Last, I like to spray KVD’s new line lubricant on my line. This prevents your line from drying and causing more friction, minimizing your distance. If I am fishing a lake that has a lot of grass, I switch my reels over to braided line, which allows you to rip and pull bass out of grass without breaking. One of the reasons that braided line is so much stronger than monofilament is because the diameter of the line is much lower than the strength of the line. I usually use Power Pro line that is 12lb in diameter and 40lb test. This is a huge advantage over mono.

Once you find the shad and have tied on a topwater lure you have confidence in, start casting to the bait and fish that are feeding on the bait. As you start casting into the schools of bait, they will start swimming away from you, which will begin a cat-and-mouse game of you staying on your trolling motor in order to cast to them. You want to follow the bait around; keep casting into the bait. Many times while you are fishing, you will see bass breaking the surface around you. When you see this it is vital that you cast as fast as you can to that spot. I catch most of my fish on topwater right after I cast to a spot where a bass just broke the surface. When you get your lure into that location before the bass swims too far, he will acknowledge your bait and come back and eat it!

During the “dog days” of August, it is hard to get out and fight the heat, but do not let that keep you from experiencing topwater fishing at its finest. Usually if you get on a school of shad where there are bass feeding, you will catch a high number of fish. Then, by the time the temperature starts rising, you have already had a great day on the water and are ready to load up and head home. I hope these few tips and techniques will increase your success on the water. If you would like to get on the water with me, you can contact me at www.briancarper.com. Also, if you have any comments or questions, do not hesitate to ask at brian@briancarper.com.

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About the Author

Brian Carper is a local fishing guide working Percy Priest and Old Hickory lakes. For any questions on fishing, contact him at (615) 278-6311 or brian@briancarper.com.

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