Bass pro Brad Staley of Pleasant Garden, N.C., is more at home at Randleman Lake or Greensboro’s municipal lakes than he is at High Rock Lake, but the nature of High Rock’s bass bite this month makes it easier on him to find fish.
Bass are moving from deep, summer patterns into shallower fall patterns, so Staley can target visible structure like piers and floating docks without needing secret spots.
“Piers and docks aren’t like hidden offshore structure; anyone can find them,” said Staley, who knows that piers and docks line most of the banks in Abbotts and Swearing creeks, with plenty in Second and Crane creeks.
Since piers and docks are easy to find, they also experience extreme fishing pressure. Finding stretches of productive ones can be a challenging task. To help, Staley relies on history.
“Historically, most of the bass tournaments at High Rock are won from piers and docks in Abbotts and Second creeks,” said Staley. “Released fish from the numerous tournaments out of Tamarac Marina in Second Creek help replenish the docks and piers in that creek.
“In September, I like to fish the piers and docks in creeks more than the ones on the main lake,” said Staley, knowing that the cooler temperatures later in the month prompt the forage to move into the creeks with the fish close behind.
The movement of forage calls for a change of baits.
“The fish are starting to get on more of a shad-type bite,” said Staley, who arms himself with vibrating jigs, swimbaits and spinnerbaits. Staley uses white spinnerbaits for clear water and chartreuse/white models for dingy water. His swimbaits are usually white with a ¼-ounce jigheads.
The time of year also influences the type of wooden structure he fishes.
“I like to fish floating docks with adjoining pontoons more than piers, because the fish suspend under those floats and pontoons and chase bait,” Staley said. “I fish as tight to the docks and pontoons as possible, even skipping swimbaits and vibrating jigs under the pontoons.”
Staley said he tries to cover as much water as possible and fish as many docks as possible, so his trolling motor is always on high.