Falls of Neuse Lake bass will position around thermocline in August


Thermocline is most comfortable area for fish

Guide Joel Munday turns on his side-scan unit to locate the thermocline in August before he makes his first cast at Falls of the Neuse near North Carolina’s Raleigh-Durham area.

Munday is searching for that thin layer of cool, oxygenated water that exists beneath a layer of warm water above it and a cold layer of water beneath it caused by hot summer weather.

It’s usually full of fish.

“The thermocline in August at Falls is typically around 14 to 15 feet,” said Munday, who runs Outdoor Expeditions Guide Service, “but it can exist in shallower water given changing weather patterns.”

Munday (919-669-2959) likes the thermocline setting up at its usual depth because that translates into bass holding on ledges and main-lake points with Carolina-rigged plastics and deep-diving crankbaits.

For Carolina rigging, Munday uses a 7-foot, medium-heavy, 13 Fishing Envy rod paired with a 13 Fishing Concept reel spooled with 15- to 17-pound fluorocarbon. He ties a 3-foot leader to the main line and fishes a 7-inch Zoom Trick Worm or 10-inch Zoom Ol’ Monster worm. The depth he’s fishing determines the weight he uses, though it’s usually 1/2 -ounce.

Heavy rain will run fish off the thermocline

Guide Joel Munday shows off the kind of bass that Falls of Neuse Lake produces, even during the summer. (Photo by Outdoors Expedition Guide Service)

A deep-diving Rapala DT Series crankbait in a shad pattern is his lure of choice cranking with a 7-foot, medium action, 13 Fishing Envy rod and Concept C reel housing 12-pound fluorocarbon.

If the thermocline dictates fishing shallower, Munday targets shallow water adjacent to deep water, at creek mouths, the first third of creeks and along steep banks. He’ll often find fish around wood that includes tree laps, standing timber and stumps near shaded areas.

“I’m mainly seeking reaction bites flipping jigs and Senkos,” Munday said. “I want to drop the bait right in front of the fish and let it fall slowly.”

Munday said a brief topwater bite early in the morning occasionally takes place. He keeps an outfit rigged with a Pop-R or Zara Spook for any surface activity.

One factor can ruin thermocline fishing.

“A period of heavy rain can really disturb the thermocline and force most of the fish to the bank,” said Munday.

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