Certain times of the year fishing gets tough, the bites are few and far between and the size of the fish isn’t what we hope it to be. Post spawn fishing can be one of those times and ladies and gentlemen we are in the post spawn period. Many of the fish have come off their beds, are no longer guarding their fry and are just trying to recuperate from their struggle to reproduce. Fishing can be tough during this time, so I thought I would share a few of my ideas for overcoming this situation.
First, I want to confirm that the fishing really is that tough or am I just hunting for the fish in the wrong areas. So I’ll fish some transition areas, areas in between where the fish were and where they are headed; i.e. points! I’ll also fish the places where they are headed; i.e., points, flats, river or creek channel drops/ledges. If I can’t get bit there then, yes I’ll concede that the fishing is tough.
Accepting the fact that the fishing is tough and knowing that the bites are few and far between helps and hurts you. Your expectations should be a little lower, understanding that you’re going to get fewer bites, this helps keep your head right. The down side to that is you can’t afford to miss or not execute when one of those few bites comes. Keep these things in mind.
So, what do I do when the fishing is tough? I slow/bear down, concentrate and try not to make any mistakes. First, I go to an area that I have a lot of confidence that there are fish in the area, usually someplace shallow with some off colored water. Then I get out a bait that I have confidence can catch fish under tough conditions, usually a RW Series Jig from TrueSouth Custom Lures or texas rigged Rusty’s Baby Bug from JAK’s Custom Baits. Next, I go to flipping or pitching the bait into the heaviest cover I can find, trying to be quiet with my presentations. Persistence is key, if these fish are not aggressively feeding, repeated pitches to the same cover/place is a must. Often times the bite will come on the third or fourth presentation.
Other options for tough fishing; a carolina rigged worm drug slowly on points is a great choice. I would keep the bait small and natural in color. The ball head jig; a.k.a. shaky head/spot sticker/spot remover is another great presentation for a tough bite. Rigged with a small, natural colored worm on relatively light line, this rig is a proven bite getter.
When the bite is tough, confidence is key! Having confidence in the area and bait you are presenting will help you mentally stay in the game. You just have to find your confidence bait and the type of water that best suits that presentation. The only way to do that is to get out there and go fishing.
There is no substitute for time on the water!
Rusty White of Rock Hill is a professional fisherman and full-time guide on the Catawba chain of lakes, offering full- and half-day services. For more information, visit fishingwithRusty.com.