Lake Russell bass will respond to June weather trends

Guide Jerry Kotal catches plenty of Lake Russell bass on small worms fished on drop-shot rigs.

June may not be the best month for bass fishing on South Carolina’s Lake Russell — the water is heating up, and fish are in transition after the  spawn — but none of that matters to an angler; when he wants to pit his skills against America’s most-popular gamefish, he goes fishing.

While Russell bass tend to be tight-mouthed in June, you can still catch fish with a little patience and perseverance, according to guide Jerry Kotal of Elberton, Ga.

“You just have to go fishing and see what happens,” said Kotal. “It all depends on the weather.”

The long, cold winter had spring water temperatures unseasonably low through April. If the trend continues into June, bass could still be in somewhat of a springtime phase and holding shallow, he said. But if the weather has already started turning summer-hot, and water temperatures are rising, it could push bass into deeper water and harder to find.

“It’s possible you could still catch some on points with a Fluke and lures like that, possibly a topwater lure,” Kotal said. “I would go early and try to catch a largemouth or two on topwater. I’d throw a Sammy or something similar and twitch it back and forth with a steady retrieve —  more or less walking the dog. You might also catch some fish early on a Pop-R.”

Top spots are shallow points, according to Kotal (706-988-0860).

“You want to work the lure across a shallow underwater ridge with a sharp drop-off on the sides. If the fish are not shallow then move to deeper points,” he said.

If you don’t pick up a largemouth or two doing this, you probably aren’t going to catch one that day, Kotal said. If they aren’t biting, it’s time to move deeper and hunt up some spotted bass.

“When the early bite is over, you have to move out and work a drop-shot around deep brush piles,” he said. “You should be fishing probably 20 to 25 feet deep with a finesse worm off creek channels and main points.”

Let the drop-shot hit the bottom and shake it, just enough to move the worm, Kotal said. If you mark fish at a certain depth on the graph, drop the rig at that level and see what happens.

While bass usually are not schooled up in June like they will be in the fall, he said, if you catch one spotted bass you sometimes will catch three or four on the same spot. A good day in June can produce between 10 and 20 bass.