Dock-ing success for High Rock bass

bass
Veteran angler Steve Sink fishes piers for a big-fish bite this month on High Rock Lake. (Photo by Tony Garitta)

Head for docks, piers for High Rock bass

June is a transitional month at North Carolina’s High Rock Lake. The bass have finished spawning and are hungry and willing to bite. If an angler pulls up to the right stretch of piers or bank, he can catch a hefty bag.

Pulling up to that right stretch of piers or bank is more easily said than done. Though the bass bite is on, fishermen must do their homework to succeed.

For example, take the pier bite. For the past several years, the best fishing in June has been around piers. This presents a good news/bad news scenario for fishermen new to High Rock. The good news is that piers and docks are visible objects that can be found by anyone. And High Rock has an abundance of them in Abbotts, Swearing and Second creeks. The bad news is that High Rock’s piers are constantly hammered by fishermen. Worse yet, not all piers are created equal. Some consistently hold bass, while others are duds.

Shallow piers are best this time of year at High Rock

Experienced fishermen, like Steve Sink of Winston-Salem and Robert Walser of Lexington, know which ones to fish and which ones to skip. They also know High Rock’s quirks. Because of poor dissolved-oxygen levels in deeper water and limited river flow, the water around piers is never too shallow to fish. Conversely, deeper piers aren’t as productive in June.

“I’ve caught quality bass from piers in water so shallow, my trolling motor was kicking up mud as I moved from one pier to another,” Walser said.

Sink targets specific piers instead of wasting time fishing long stretches of them. And he knows which piers likely hold a “kicker bass.”

David Wright of Lexington is a crankbait wizard. He dislikes fishing piers but has been forced to go to them because of a fading deep-water bite. He said the better piers are in shallow water on flats.

The offshore crankbait bite no longer rules in June, much to Wright’s chagrin, because of the lake’s oxygen issues and because the lake level no longer fluctuates as it once did.

“Unless the lake level drops 3 to 4 feet, which leaves many shallow piers grounded, good numbers of bass no longer move to offshore structure for very long,” said Wright.

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