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Bass fishing is hot in the region

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Cody Eaves with his dad Frankie from Currituck.

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By Mike Sweeney
Columnist

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The dog days are here with sweltering heat and afternoon thunderstorms but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch any fish.

When I get out on the water this time of year it may surprise you to find how shallow I fish.

The water temps are high but the rains will keep the water temps cooler than most people think and with all the life up in the shallows around the stumps it’s hard to leave for deeper water.

I am a shallow water junkie with top water baits, square bills and soft plastics I can find fish shallow that most anglers ignore this time of year because of the heat.

They assume that the hotter water temps will keep the bass away from shallow structure but the rains help keep the oxygen levels high in the skinny water and the abundance of blue gills and perch give the fish plenty of reasons to stay there.

I fish top water first thing in the morning like most people with frogs and popping baits but as soon as the bite begins to slow a little I move to square bills and spinner baits in order to keep the reaction bites going.

Then in the middle of the day I move to flipping and pitching with soft plastic worms and bug baits to round out my attack on the day.

This combination will keep the bite going most of the day while rarely moving out of five feet of water.

Some of the things I keep an eye on is boat position and water flow.

I like to stay as far away from the bank as I can and still make accurate casts and I always keep the boat moving into the tide.

I focus on current breaks and points and the moving water helps position the fish behind or in front of these breaks.

If the cloud cover is heavy I will keep the top water going till the fish tell me to stop because these baits make a good search bait and if I get a short strike I change to a worm or other back up bait and throw right back in.

Don’t be afraid of going shallow this time of year you will be surprised just how many fish stay there even when the dog days are barking.

What’s biting, where...

The offshore guys are struggling this week with reports of decent bottom fish but that is usually a sign that the mahi and other regulars are hard to find.

When the skippers struggle on the pelagic fish they usually bottom fish for a backup.

There is tons of grass out on the water but the fish are scattered and difficult to find right now.

This happens in the summer sometimes but it doesn’t mean you have to stay home.

Jon and Jake Worthington got out this week and landed two really nice wahoo but they spent most of the day trying to keep the grass off the lines.

If you are not afraid to work at it you can still catch fish it’s a big ocean.

Closer to shore and on the piers it’s the typical summer time patterns going on with the southern beaches still on a pretty good puppy drum bite.

This year seems to be a banner year for pompano on the Buxton beaches with some fish over two pounds coming to the scales.

The northern beaches have the sea mullet, spot and croaker bite going with some occasional flounder coming in.

Robert from Bob’s Bait and Tackle tells me that if you want a decent flounder you have to walk for it.

What that means is the fish are right in the surf so tie on a flounder rig with some squid on the hook then walk up and down the beach casting no more than twenty yards then work it back to you.

I like to just keep a steady walking speed when I do this and cover a lot of water.

Here locally we have all the white perch you can throw a Beetle Spin at and the largemouth love all this rain.

It keeps the water cool and the bait fish shallow so top water is all the rage right now.

Cody Eaves and his dad Frankie from Currituck went out this past week and caught a nice limit of largemouth fish on frogs and soft plastics in the shallow structure of the Northwest River.

This river has really come into its own this past few years and gets almost no fishing pressure.

The Chowan Rriver is still the catfish capital of North Carolina it seems with lots of fish over twenty pounds being caught on fresh cut bait.

If anyone gets out this week send me some bragging pics and a report to fishingwithmike921@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike.

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