Guide Joel Munday said largemouth bass can be caught shallow and deep this month on Falls of the Neuse Lake, a 12,410-acre fishing playground north of Raleigh and Durham, N.C.
“I’ve caught as many bass in 5 feet of water or less as I have in 10 to 20 feet of water,” said Munday (919-669-2959), of Outdoor Expeditions Guide Service. “It depends upon the water level and water color.”
If the lake is full, Munday flips and pitches jigs and plastics into brush or tree laps along the shoreline or creek backs. He also fishes shallow after heavy rains that dingy the water.
Much of the shallow fishing takes place in the upper end of the lake, west of the NC 50 bridge where the water is rarely deeper than 12 feet except in the old river channel.
Once the water level drops, fish move to deep structure, including drops, points and ledges. Munday keys on structure based upon its relationship to the thermocline, which dictates the depth of the fish.
“At Falls, the thermocline usually develops somewhere between 10 and 25 feet,” Munday said. “Once I find the thermocline (with his electronics), I search for forage, fish and structure in relationship to the thermocline.”
Most of Falls of Neuse’s best deep structure is on the lower half of the lake, downstream from the NC 50 bridge, where depths of 30 feet are commonplace, forming numerous drops, ledges and channel bends. Any stumps or brush situated around these places are a bonus. When he’s fishing deep, Munday uses deep-diving crankbaits, Texas- and Carolina-rigged plastics, heavy jigs, blade baits and big, flutter spoons.
Munday said proper boat positioning is important, enabling him to make long casts so he can get his crankbaits deep enough to reach the fish.
Munday said during a 6-hour guide trip in July, clients usually catch 8 to 10 bass ranging from 3 to 5 pounds. Occasionally, they’ll hook a trophy bass weighing 7 pounds or more.