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Catching Lunkers under Schooling Fish

lake fork guide John TannerIf you encounter some schooling bass this summer and want to catch the larger fish out of that school here are some tips. Number one, Boat position. Position your boat in a position that will not interfere with the feeding activity of the bass. Pay attention to wind direction. If you are say in a creek bend then you want your boat just down wind of the school. Tie or anchor your boat if you find a spot like a creek bend where the fish are holding in one spot. This will avoid spooking the fish. Sometimes they will sit in one spot just of off a lip of a drop off or on the edge of a creek waiting for schools of bait fish to make their way overhead. When they do they will attack. This is your textbook ambush point. With your boat down wind of the spot, as you cast you will be bringing your lure in the same direction that the baitfish are coming through. This works very well and is more appealing to the feeding bass because the bait will usually work along with the wind. This is the way to fish a windy point as well. If you cast across the point into the wind and come across the point with the wind it will increase your catches. Back to schooling bass! In the summer at Lake Fork some of the larger creeks will have schooling bass throughout the summer. These schools hold some real jumbos. Here are my top four lure choices. I rig up a Magic Shad by Lake Fork Tackle in Smokin Shad color. I will rig it weightless on a 5/0 Owner offset wide gap hook. When the fish come up I will swim this bait through the school very rapidly with a twitch and reel motion. Two or three times during the retrieve you should pause your bait. Watch your line, if it gets tight let it happen, set the hook and hang on! Depending on the day sometimes the larger fish will stay on the bottom taking the easier meal of the injured baitfish that are falling to the bottom after the schooling is taking place. In this situation break out the Jig and Pig Claw in White on white or Blk/Blue with a green pumpkin Pig Claw. Swim this along the bottom directly where the bass were coming to the surface. If they wont touch the jig its time to give em a dose of the tube. I mean Texas rig a Flippin tube in White or Smoke colors. I use Lake Fork Tackle's Tube bait,it is the perfect size and will handle a big Owner hook. And for the brave may I suggest adding a 3/4 ounce spinnerbait to your arsenal. Johnson Lures makes one that is perfect for this technique. You want a white or white and Chartreuse with double willows. Slow rolled on the bottom this will catch some of the largest fish in the school without a doubt. Well there you have it, next time your going down the creek and some bass start schooling try these lures and techniques. I know you will catch more fish!

Good Fishin and God Bless,
John Tanner

Fishing Tip by  Lake Fork Guide John Tanner


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