The bluegill and shad spawns add up to a big bonanza for bass fishermen on Lake Wateree this month, according to tournament angler Dearal Rodgers of Camden.
“The bluegills will spawn heavily in coves and pockets on the full moon and will remain shallow around docks throughout the month,” Rodgers said. “The smaller bluegills spawn really shallow, almost on the bank. The bigger ones will often be attached to the same bed group, but slightly deeper.”
Bass feed on these spawning bluegills and those hanging out in the shade under docks, he said.
“Green-pumpkin candy and watermelon candy are good colors for worms to fish the bream pattern because they have brown and purple in them,” Rodgers said. “Green pumpkin and peanut butter-and-jelly Buckeye mop Jigs will also do the trick around bream beds and docks.”
Bass can also be caught around spawning shad early in the morning, he said.
“I look for shad flicking on the surface around grass, floating docks and rocks. You can also tell you’re in the right place when the shad follow your lure back to the boat,” said Rodgers, who said the best lures for the shad bite are a Buckeye double willow-leaf spinnerbait, a shad-colored Strike King 1.5 and a Buckeye or Lunker Lure buzzbait.
“Once the shad spawn is over, typically around 10 o’clock, I start to concentrate on the dock bite. The bass will be in the shade, and most will be suspended,” he said. “I like to skip jigs and worms of relatively light weights as far as I can into the shade. I use the same worm and jig colors as I fish around the bream beds. Moving slow and being stealthy are keys to success.”
Rodgers said bass are usually high in the water column and easily spooked, so a good pair of polarized sunglasses will help locate key docks.
“Another pattern to check at Wateree in June is the grass bite. The floods this year did hurt the grass, but it is quickly making a comeback,” Rodgers said. “I like to fish a buzzbait or frog in the morning and fish a craw and frog in the afternoon. The heaviest grass will often hold the heaviest bass. Wind blowing into the grass also increases chances of hooking a good fish.”
When he’s not practicing for a tournament, Rodgers likes to take his children bream fishing in June when they are up in the shallow water.
“For bluegills, I like red worms or crickets with a light cork and light weight. I use long-sharked bream hooks (that) are easy to remove if the kids let the fish swallow the bait,” he said.
“One trick I use if the bream are reluctant to bite is a very light split-shot drop-shot, rigging the hook above the weight with no cork. I like a fresh red worm for that technique and it works on shellcrackers as well,” he said.