With the dog days of summer settling over the land, the one constant for Triangle-area bass anglers remains Shearon Harris Lake.

Although the deep bite is sporadic, guide and bass pro Jeff Thomas of Broadway said the early-morning topwater bite has emerged, just as it did last summer.

"I've been fishing Jordan and Harris, and Harris definitely is the best right now," he said. "It's the most-productive of the two lakes. Schooling bass are active in the same spots as last summer." 

During his last trip with fishing clients, they caught 15 bass, including a 6-plus pounder. 

"Most of the schoolies were 3 to 3 1/2 pounds," said Thomas (919-770-4654). The 6-pounder came as a surprise.  

"We saw something bustin' near the shoreline, and the guy threw up near the bank but too far and landed in a bunch of cattails. When he jerked (the lure) out of there, the big one hit it immediately." 

Surprisingly the water depth was only 2 feet.         

"(The angler) said he guessed he'd discovered a new pattern," Thomas said with a chuckle. 

What has made 4,100-acres Shearon Harris - and also neighboring Jordan Lake - the best two bass lakes this summer has been "an explosion of small shad," Thomas said. "I've never seen so many shad; the water's almost dark with them." 

Thomas said some anglers speculated the relatively warm winter and early spring might account for big baitfish numbers, but he disagreed.         

"It can't be that because these are small shad, from 1 to 2 inches (in length)," he said. "Those baby shad are from this spring." 

Largemouths at Harris and Jordan aren't following the same summer patterns as in the past. 

"They're just roaming, especially at Harris," Thomas said. "They're not oriented on bait; they're staying with baitfish." 

His typical approach is to enter a cove and wait for bass exploding on the surface after corralling these small baitfish. 

"You have to be ready and get a lure to them right away," he said. "You'll get hookups almost every cast." 

Best lures include popping baits, such as Pop-Rs and Pencil Poppers, although active schoolies also will hit Chug Bugs, Zara Spooks, Spook Juniors and buzz baits.         

Thomas uses a 7-foot Skeet Reese model bait-casting rod with a bait-caster reel and 14- to 17-pound test line. 

"You almost can't use too heavy line, but you can use too light line," Thomas said.  

The topwater bass bite at Harris should extend until the water temperature begins to drop in September.