Cloudy days and rain are sometimes part of heading to the lake, and guide Tim Biesecker doesn’t mind these conditions when he’s fishing North Carolina’s Roanoke Rapids Lake this month.
Overcast days often translate into great action for largemouth bass and striped bass below Lake Gaston Dam, where the two species intermingle while chasing baitfish to the surface. With water moving through the dam, the fishing can get explosive. Long casts should be made into the feeding fish so they won’t become frightened and dive back down.
Biesecker (252-532-1846) uses ¾-ounce Zara Spooks and half-ounce Rat-L-Traps in shad patterns or weightless white Flukes in the clear waters of the lake, which fishes much like a river because of its narrow confines.
The area in the vicinity of the dam is cluttered with huge rocks that can take out the lower unit of an outboard motor in a hurry, so don’t let the sight of schooling fish blind you to the dangers nearby.
“Be careful, (there are) lots of navigation hazards; take your time,” said Biesecker, who cautions that the entire lake is stump-ridden and shallow should a boater wander from the main channel.
On sunny days when schooling fish are rare, Biesecker focuses on largemouth bass. He probes grass edges, points and indentations with soft swimbaits like the Sebile Magic Swimmer using weedless models or adding a small keel weight.
Other options for fishing the thick grass and shallow stumps are Flukes with 1/8- or 1/16-ounce jigheads or frogs in white or black.
“Some fishermen like popping frogs, but I prefer the smaller, non-popping frogs because of the clear water that characterizes the lake at this time of year,” Biesecker said.
In mornings and evenings, Biesecker fishes shallow stumps in the grass with Senkos, either weightless or with a small worm weight. In the heat of the day, he fishes stumps and cover along the main channel edges with Texas-rigged, 10-inch plastic worms.
Once a dedicated crankbait fisherman, Biesecker doesn’t use crankbaits too often because of the prolific grass.
“The grass has reduced the number of places where I can fish crankbaits,”said Biesecker, who still cranks with shallow-running baits along grass edges wherever possible.
For suspended bass, Biesecker employs a drop-shot rig on the 4,600-acre lake, which can be accessed from the Fifth Street ramp in Roanoke Rapids and the Thelma ramp in Thelma.