If bass anglers want a good chance to catch a lunker largemouth, the best place to go right now is Shearon Harris Lake in southern Wake and northern Chatham counties.

"There's a good bite at Harris," said Jeff Thomas of Broadway, a guide and tournament angler. "They're biting just about everywhere - shallow and deep."

With about 4,000 acres, the Progress Energy lake with a nuclear reactor at its northeastern shoreline has a ring of "grass" (elodea, milfoil, primrose) around most of its edges. The vegetation creates excellent hiding places for baitfish and ambush spots for black bass.

"The (artificial) frog bite is really good," said Thomas (Carolina Outdoors, 919-770-4654, www.carolinaoutdoors.net). "It's almost a perfect situation because the primrose hasn't gotten really thick along the shoreline, so there's open places from 1 to 3 feet from the shore to the first mats of grass."

The best technique is to throw a topwater frog lure into those open pockets and twitch them.

"A lot of guys are using a popping frog with an open (concave) mouth," he said. "A lot of them are using Spro frogs in black, regular frog color (bright green) or white. I don't think color makes a lot of difference, actually."

Thomas prefers to fish with a "Scum Frog," one of the original weedless surface frogs.
"It's got a mouth that spits water like a Pop-R," he said. "I like to work it into one of the 'dead' (open-water) zones along the bank, then work it across the primrose."

He uses braid for his main line.

"They'll hit the frog, come up right through the grass and nail it," he said. "The only problem for people not used to braid is they'll set the hook too quick and jerk it out of a fish's mouth. I wait a second or three before I set the hook. Once you set it, I get good hook-ups with (no-stretch) braid. It's real sloppy fishing right now though."

Thomas said an angler captured a recent five-fish Harris tournament by weighing in 30 pounds of fish, a 6-pound average.

"The other bite is deep, and everybody's talking about the Alabama rigs," he said. "They're using those things to catch a lot of deep bass. That (bite) is only going to get better as it gets warmer and bass move out to humps and deep water."

Anglers are horsing in lots of 6- and 7-pounders, Thomas said, "and a lot of 7s and 8s, but nothing gigantic."

Whether or not anyone's hauling out 10- and 12-pounders is irrelevant, he said. Anglers are catching enough lunker bass to keep them satisfied.

"Everybody's happy out there at Harris right now," Thomas said.