Summer patterns for catching largemouth bass are "coming on strong," at Shearon Harris Lake, according to guide Jeff Thomas of Broadway.

"It's definitely going to get better as the weather gets hotter," said Thomas, who has recently focused on Harris with deep-diving crankbait, big plastic worms fished on a Carolina rig and football-head jigs.

"Two of the guys on N.C. State's (national) bass-fishing championship team came out here Wednesday afternoon and caught 50 bass in a tournament and had the second-place big fish with (a TV) reporter in front of their cameras - and they finished third," said Thomas (919-770-4654). "The reporter said he was so impressed he was coming back just to fun fish."


Although deep-diving crankbaits often land large fish, Thomas said he usually hands clients rods fitted with ½- to ¾- ounce football-head jigs.

"Not a lot of people know how to throw a baitcaster that good, and (a deep-diving) crankbait wears 'em out pretty quick," he said. "With the jig, they just throw it out, let it sink to the bottom, then work it back to the boat on the bottom."

Thomas had some personal feedback a few days ago when he caught his heftiest bass of the summer on a jig, a chub that weighed more than nine pounds on his hand-held, digital scales.


"I caught her in 12 feet of water at the bend of a creek-channel point," Thomas said. "I was just hopping it across the bottom, popping it up about 6 to 8 inches off the bottom, then letting it flutter down."


Fishermen continue to catch a few bass in the shallows, Thomas said, using floating worms, but they're not the bigger fish for which Harris is best known.


When the water temperature reaches the mid-80s at Harris, Thomas said he expects the early morning topwater bite to ignite.


"The last morning we went to Harris at daybreak, bass were schooling a little, and we caught one that weighed 4 pounds," he said. "They're not at the usual topwater places, but that will change when the (water) temperature gets up there. The cool nights have kept the temperature down."