Using soft-plastic lures such as worms and lizards is an effective technique for hauling bass from submerged wooden structure in reservoirs, but heavy weights don’t work well when fish are suspended in the upper reaches of the water column, where shad often prefer to hang out.

“I like to use as small a Texas-rig weight as possible when I fish treetops,” said guide Joel Richardson of Kernersville. “You want your lure to fall as slowly as possible through a tree if bass are suspended in the tops.”

Richardson uses a 6-foot-10 Shimano graphite rod with a Shimano Cronarch bait-casting reel spooled with 14-pound Stren Hi-Vis monofilament. He threads on a 3/16-ounce tungsten bullet weight on calm days and ties to a 3/0 worm hook. On windy days, he’ll move up to a 1/8-ounce weight.

“You want the worm to fall slowly, keeping in contact with it by not allowing any slack,” he said. “You might see the line jump. If the worm stops falling, I lift to feel if a bass has it. If he does, I set the hook. If it’s not a fish, I reel up slowly and pull the worm over the limb, then let it fall again.

“It’s slow fishing, but it’ll catch fish in tree tops.”