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August 2003
Walter F. George Reservoir

by Ken White

Hot, Hot, Hot! That is the way to describe Lake Walter F. George during August.  The fishing is hot and the weather is hotter as we are entering the dog days of summer.  This is the time to fish early and late as a general rule for most anglers.  For those that are willing to accept the challenge, the middle of the day may be just the best time to be on the lake.  When the sun gets on top and the temperatures are hovering close to the hundred degree range, the bass go deep.  This is the time to head to the river ledges and get ready for some action. 

August presents a challenge to the angler but it is a month that can see some really heavy stringers brought to the ramp.  A lot depends on what has been happening with the weather, however.  In a normal summer, with little of the heavy rains typically associated with the spring, the lake will really clear up.  This allows light penetration to greater depths and this, in association with higher water temperatures near the surface, will force the baitfish to go deeper.  The game fish will follow so it becomes imperative for the angler to key on the baitfish for success.  This is the time to rely on the Humminbird, or whatever your personal preference might be, to provide underwater information.  Most anglers use the depth sounder for just that-to tell them how deep the water is where they are located.  Summer time is where understanding the readout of a depth sounder is critical.  It can show you the depth of baitfish, bottom contour and hardness and any structure which is along or within the area you are researching.  This is a great aid when it comes to locating summertime bass on the ledges.

Success can be found with several lure combinations but four stands out immediately in my mind.  The first is the Carolina-rigged soft plastics.  It is hard to beat a Carolina-rig when fishing the deeper waters.  The heavier weight gets the bait down and the leader line allows a freer motion of the attached bait.  This is the time to be using the “monster” worms.  Most of the successful anglers will be tossing worms at least eight inches long with most tossing ten and twelve inch worms.  Colors will vary with the water color but junebug, black grapes and the darker shades of blue seem to work very well.  Of course, the old basic black is tough to beat as well. 

Deep-diving crankbaits are a sure-fire fish catcher on the lake during this time of year.  The Mann’s 20-Plus, Norman’s DD-22 and those other plugs that reach the 18-22 feet levels are tools of the trade that really pay off this time of year.  One thing that I suggest is to key on the depth of the baitfish when starting your search for the bass.  The depth baitfish are holding will be the key depth as the bass will work this same depth range in search of food.  Determine the depth and then look for ledges that drop at or close to this level.  Search the ledges for the structure at this depth range and keep in mind that structure plus baitfish equals gamefish. 

One method of attacking the deeper water ledges is utilizing the new heavyweight spinnerbaits.  These spinnerbaits feature a heavier body and are designed to specifically probe the deeper haunts of the gamefish.  Weights of these baits can vary from one to two-and-a-half ounces and they are available in  a wide range of color combinations.  “Slow-rolling” these baits can lead to some wrist-snapping strikes.   Not only will the largemouth and spots attack these baits as it is not unusual to hear an angling tale of a huge hybrid almost jerking the rod out of an angler’s grip.  StrikeZone Lures is a spinnerbait company that actually specializes in these deep-water spinnerbaits and the name LedgeBuster has become synonymous with these baits.  Other companies, such as Mann’s Bait Company, have developed these specialized spinnerbaits as well.  These baits can be worked in various ways and allow the angler to experiment during the fishing day to find the secret of success.  You can bet that the savvy summertime angler on Walter F. George does not leave home without at least a couple of  these baits included in his or her tackle box arsenal. Another successful angling technique is one that is not widely used on Lake Walter F. George by the casual bass angler.  Jigging a spoon can bring some real action, not only from the largemouth and spots but from the hybrids and crappie as well.  I prefer to fish the Mann’s one-ounce Mann-o-Lure for this type of fishing.  It can actually be bent to give it a little different action and change the fall rate of the lure to some degree.  Where this lure can really be deadly is when the fish are suspending away from the structure.  Lake Walter F. George has many ledges which have treetops that actually hang over and away from the actual dropoff.  This allows the fish to suspend as much as twenty to thirty feet off the actual drop but remain within the cover of the limbs.  Here again is where the Humminbird can really tell the story.  Find the bass in this situation with baitfish working in the area and you could literally find a bass bonanza.

Break out the sunscreen, add a couple of more bottles of water to the cooler, grab a good hat and the sunshades and hit the water.  Have a good time and keep an out for that occasional summertime thunderstorm and get ready to catch a few of those deep-water Walter F. George lunkers.

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