Largemouth bass can stump even the best anglers this month, but those sweating it out can still catch heavy sacks at Jordan Lake.
Sandwiched between Pittsboro and Apex, Jordan’s ample showing of spring bass is sure to translate into an extra-hot summer as they enjoy a brief breakfast in the grass beds before setting up shop on offshore structure.
“Jordan now has a healthy population of shoreline vegetation in the form of willow grass,” said angler Jonathan Phillips of Pittsboro. “I’ll start by targeting those grass beds that are positioned next to deeper water at daylight. The grass might be in 5 to 6 feet of water, and next to it is 8 to 10 feet.
“I get the biggest bites on a Zara Spook or a buzzbait, casting it parallel to the grass,” he said. “Any time the grass relates to a point or comes out and makes a point, that’s where the fish will be, or an inside corner of an indention in the grass. But the bite only lasts for an hour or so; then, it’s a done deal.”
Moving incrementally deeper as the day progresses, Phillips checks the first structure break beyond the grass before eyeballing deeper targets. He suggests acquainting one’s self with a good topographical map that features Jordan’s many underwater anomalies. In addition to structure breaks related to points and channels, Jordan is home to numerous old road beds, house foundations and stump fields that hold fish.
After marking a target holding fish, Phillips backs off and fires his favorite lure, a crankbait.
“I target them with a Livingston Deep Impact 12 or 18,” he said. “I also mix in a Strike King 5X and 6XD. I stick to a blue and chartreuse or shad pattern around Jordan because of the water clarity, and (I) throw it on 10- to 12-pound fluorocarbon.
“I want to make the crankbait hit a stump, rock or the structure I’m fishing,” said Phillips. “I’m trying to cause a reaction strike and get the fish fired up. If I know the water is 12 feet deep, I’m going to throw a crankbait that will run 12 to 14 feet deep.”
Phillips said big, Texas-rigged worms and 1/4- to 1/2-ounce football jigs in natural colors like green pumpkin will also produce.
“Deep fishing at Jordan Lake is 15 to 17 feet,” Phillips said. “But if it heats up in July and we start getting a thermocline, it will push the fish shallower. I’ve caught a lot of fish on structure in 6 to 8 feet of water that time of year.”
Phillips points to the major creeks like Big Beaver, Little Beaver Bush and Morgan as good locations to scour the lake floor. Farrington Point and Vista Point, as well as the points supporting the New Hope and Ebenezer boat ramps, are also of interest.