Despite muddy water, the shallow-water bite on largemouth bass remains strong at Tuckertown Lake, with 20-pound stringers being the norm for winning wildcat weekly wildcat tournaments.

Bo Russell of New London, a recent wildcat winner with partner Ricky Foster of High Point, said fish have been shallow in the creeks, especially Riles and Pumphouse.

 “We caught our fish with shakey head jigs and floating worms by targeting stumps and tree laps,” said Russell. “We didn’t get a bite out of the grass.”

Because of the muddy water and the black mat algae that cloaks much of the shoreline cover, Russell caught fish by let a floating worm sink slowly to the bottom to get strikes from non-aggressive bass.

Wildcat fishermen couldn’t agree on whether or not fish have finished spawning.

Winston-Salem’s Derek Tolley said most of the fish that came to the scales were buck bass, an indication that the spawn was about over.

“You can tell because they’re long and skinny,” said Tolley.

Russell couldn’t tell one way or the other, though he thinks it’s too early for the spawn to be over. The bigger fish taken to the scales appeared spawned out, but if bass are bedding, anglers agreed they couldn’t see them because of the muddy water.

Both sides may be right. Many biologists believe that bass don’t all spawn at once but come to the shallows in waves to reproduce.

Whatever the case, you can’t go wrong by fishing the skinny water at Tuckertown.