No matter how sweltering the heat is in August, one Piedmont lake features a bass bite that just won’t quit, come morning, afternoon or evening. “There’s really good bass fishing at Randleman now,” said guide Joel Richardson of Kernersville (336-803-2195). “Even with the hot weather, they’re really biting good.”
Randleman Reservoir, a 3,006-acre lake on the Deep River along the border between Guilford and Randolph counties, has open to anglers only five years, and its bass population is just beginning to reach its peak in sizes and numbers, with fish growing at a fast rate.
“I catch 30 bass during half-day trips now and sometimes 50,” Richardson said. “There are plenty of 2- to 5-pounders, with occasional 6- and 7-pounders.”
Richardson’s favorite lures include 6- to 8-inch plastic worms in junebug and green pumpkin colors. He uses Carolina rigs with 3/8-ounce weights in deep water.
“I sometimes use deep-diving crankbaits when I fish ledges and humps down to 15 feet,” Richardson said. “The best crankbait colors are bright chartreuse with blue or green backs and orange bellies, but that’s mostly in stained water. I catch deep bass better in clearer water.
“Sometimes I can catch eight or 10 bass off one spot, usually at break lines, a shelf or drop-off with baitfish in the area. I look for baitfish with my depth-finder.
But the odd thing is, I still catch bass really shallow, especially in 6 to 8 feet of water, early and later in the day. And my bigger bass have come on topwater plugs.”
Best topwater spots, using Pop-Rs, Zara Spooks and white buzzbait lures, oddly enough, are bare banks, Richardson said.
“I think there may be rocks or gravelly bottoms you can’t see just off those banks,” said Richardson, who looks for heavy cover – stickups, laydowns or rocks – in the afternoon.
“I’m catching bass off both rocks and wood, which is a little strange, but it shows just how many bass are in the lake,” he said. “I think fish may be looking for crawfish or bream shallow and finding them because these bass are awful fat.”
Richardson said he mostly ignores threadfin shad that are suspended in mid-lake areas. He’s fished Randleman so long he “looks for spots more than baitfish.”
“When I go to a (deep) spot, I start working in a 100-foot circle around it,” he said. “Usually I’ll find fish.”
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission stocked Randleman Reservoir in 2007, five years after it was impounded, with 150,000 bass fingerlings raised at the Watha Fish Hatchery. Biologists knew there were enough bream in the lake for the bass to eat.
“I think it’s why Randleman bass like lures in bream colors,” Richardson said.