Stay shallow for Kerr Lake bass in June
Guide Joel Richardson of Kernersville, N.C., relies on a shallow bite for post-spawn action at Kerr Lake, aka Buggs Island. Most of his fishing is in less than 10 feet of water.
“I rarely fish deeper than 10 feet in June, whether the water level is up or down,” said Richardson (www.joelgrichardson.com). “If the water level is 302 to 307, I’ll target the bushes, willows and gum trees with plastics; if the water level is below the 302-foot mark, I’ll probe main-lake points, humps and stumps in 3 to 5 feet of water with Carolina rigs featuring 6-inch Zoom lizards or 3-inch French fry worms for finicky fish.”
Richardson’s Carolina rig consists of a 1/2- to 3/4-ounce egg sinker and a 21/2-foot leader with a 3/0 worm hook. He uses a 7-foot, medium-heavy baitcasting rod paired with a reel filled with 17-pound green monofilament for his main line and leader. He shuns fluorocarbon line with Carolina rigs.
Buzzbaits and Zoom Flukes are other options with the water barely in the bushes. The lower water level also triggers an explosive topwater bite with Zara Spooks or Pop-R lures.
If the water level exceeds the 307-foot mark, Richardson said it’s best to stay home; the water will be up in the woods along the shoreline, covering picnic tables, bridges and road signs.
“The bass spread out in that mass of wood and vegetation and are hard to find,” Richardson said. “They’re still shallow but almost impossible to reach unless you navigate your way through the woods or locate openings to the bank.”
Expect big numbers of fish in June
Fishermen differ about which bushes are best. Some prefer fishing green vegetation, while others covet dead vegetation. Richardson has his own rule of thumb. When it’s sunny, he favors the green bushes; when it’s cloudy, he likes the dead vegetation. But he’s adaptable.
“Notice whether your bites are coming from mostly green or dead bushes and fish accordingly,” he said.
Depth is another factor.
“The deeper bushes, green or dead, hold the better fish,” he said.
When Richardson fishes plastics, flipping or dragging, he likes green pumpkin, watermelon and junebug colors.
For Flukes and topwaters, he likes natural colors like white, pearl and Tennessee shad.
A cranking fanatic, he doesn’t fling a crankbait until late June when the fish move to 10 to 15 feet of water and offers this cautionary remark.
“Cranking isn’t what it used to be with the introduction of blueback herring,” he said.
Richardson said Buggs has rebounded from the bass virus.
“There’s plenty of 1- to 3-pound bass in the lake,” Richardson. “June is not a big-fish month, but you’ll catch numbers of bass up to 4 pounds and some 5-pound fish.”
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