Randleman no longer new; bass fishing still great

Bass pro Brad Staley caught this Randleman Lake largemouth fishing offshore structure.

Fishing is just as good for anglers who know where to find them

When Randleman Lake opened in 2010, the 3,007-acre reservoir in North Carolina’s Piedmont was hailed by many as one of the hottest bass lakes in the South.

Like many new fisheries, Randleman experienced an early boom period that lived up to the hype. Quality fish were everywhere. But like other bass factories, the fishing leveled with the passage of time.

Today, Randleman remains an excellent bass lake, as guide Joel Richardson (www.joelgrichardson.com) will attest. Only now, fishermen must know the lake to catch bass, especially in the summer. Scampering around the lake willy nilly is no longer good enough.

“August fishing is the ‘test of the best’ at Randleman, just as it is on other bass lakes,” said Richardson. He holds the official Randleman Lake record: a 10.22-pound lunker.

Despite the tougher fishing, anglers have one significant aid that they didn’t have in the early days, when the only maps available were non-contour maps or Google Earth aerial views of the lake. Today, anglers can purchase maps revealing all of the lake’s secrets for wide-scan units and other electronics.

Start the day with topwater lures

Richardson starts his summer search for bass on the main body with topwaters. He casts lures such as buzzbaits, Pop-Rs and Zara Spooks the first thing in the morning.

“There are always shallow fish if you begin early,” said Richardson, who is from Kernersville, N.C. “Topwater fishing is a quick and effective way to search an area for bass.”

Throughout the day, Richardson targets points, roadbeds and drops in 10 to 20 feet of water with Carolina rigs, deep-diving crankbaits and 8- to 10-inch plastic worms, either as rig or jig trailers.

He’s found little difference in the two major creek arms, Muddy Creek and the Deep River.

“One is as good as the other,” said Richardson.

Bass pro Brad Staley of Asheboro, N.C., fishes Randleman’s offshore structure with baits similar to Richardson.

“I like a 1/2-ounce football jig with a 10-inch Zoom Ol’ Monster worm in dark grape or an 8-inch Dave’s Tournament Tackle Magnum worm in green pumpkin or a standard 1/2-ounce jig,” said Staley.

Staley rarely fishes structure deeper than 12 feet because of the thermocline.

“I focus on the thermocline, because deeper depths have little fish-supporting oxygen unless there are heavy rains,” he said. “Randleman has an earthen/cement dam, so water may flow over it, but it’s not pulled to produce current.”

Click here for more information on fishing Randleman for summer bass.

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