Fishermen at High Rock Lake are trying their best to beat the bushes for bass right now, but it’s a different place and pattern that are producing the best catches.

In a CATT Gold bass tournament last Saturday, Jarrett Freeze of Landis and C.J. Johnston of Salisbury won by taking the road least travelled. While most competitors were beating the flooded buttonwood bushes with soft plastics and jigs, Freeze and Johnston fished hard-bottoms and red-clay banks with crankbaits and jigs to catch a 5-fish limit that weighed 20.45 and pocket $1,100.

A cold front that moved into the area late Friday produced bone-chilling weather coupled with a steady rain, and that pushed the better fish out of the bushes, even though they were there trying to spawn.

Freeze fished on Friday and struggled to get bites, so he changed his approach. He ignored the vegetation and searched for places that would hold heat. They wound up fishing in six to seven feet of water, all over the lake, and caught fish.

“We had our limit before noon and had about 20 bass in all and culled to the biggest five fish,” said Freeze. “The fish suddenly turned off, and we never got another bite after noon.”

High Rock fishermen anticipate a major migration back into the bushes if the lake approaches full pool. If you can’t get your boat under the NC 8 bridge across Abbotts Creek, then the lake is about full pool.

Should that occur, anglers may yet find bassin’ gold in those buttonwood bushes by panning the vegetation with jigs and soft plastics.