The bass bite is on at Lake Monticello and the largemouths are being caught throughout the lake in deep water. Tournament fisherman Andy Wicker said the fishing has been very good and should remain so for the next few weeks.

“We’re catching good numbers of hefty largemouth in the 18- to 25-foot depth range right now,” Wicker said. “The most productive areas have been on the end of points where the ledge drops into deep water, humps in the open water portion of the lake and brushpiles. We are catching a few bass in the 35- to 45-foot range, and this depth will become the favored places for catchable fish as we get into mid-July and beyond.”

Wicker said his favored lures are plastic worms fished on drop-shot and Texas rigs, as well as umbrella rigs and deep-diving crankbaits like the Norman DD 22 and the Strike King 6 XD and 10 XD.

“The drop shot and Texas rigs are accounting for most of the fish but often I’ll frequently catch a couple on a hump with the umbrella rig,” he said. “The deep crankbaits are very good, and we’ve caught some big bass cranking. Use a lure that will just tick the lake bottom at the top of the hump on a long cast, and your odds of getting bit are good if fish are there.”

Wicker said recently he had the opportunity to take a friend fishing, a man who helped him get started in bass fishing several years ago.

“He can’t see very well anymore, but my brother Dan and I got him on the boat, and he had a great day,” Wicker said. “On one cast, he hooked what we thought was a monster bass, and it turned out two huge bass were hooked on the crankbait. The smaller of the two got off at the boat but not before we got a good look at it. The one we landed was over 7 pounds, and I’m sure the other one was an easy 5 pounds. I’d call that pretty good fishing.

“Largemouth are the primary fish being caught, but we are catching the occasional smallmouth, just enough to keep things interesting,” he said. “I’ll hit a place for five to 15 minutes, and if I’m not catching fish, I’ll be on the move. If I catch a fish or two, I’ll work it thoroughly. This is the time of year to catch several from one spot, so I stay on the move unless I’m finding fish. Using a graph is essential to finding these spots.”

Wicker said early and late are the most-productive times of day, but fish can be caught at other times.

“The heat can get oppressive during mid-day,” he said. “I suspect good fishing is occurring at night, and based on past experience, I think around 2 o’clock in the morning would be very good. But plenty of action is happening during the daylight hours.”