Mike Race of Wadhams caught this nice largemouth on a swim bait in the Ticonderoga area.
The longest day of the year has come and gone. Temperatures in the North Country are soaring and the bass are going deep to find cooler waters. The bite is going to get real tough in a few weeks. The morning topwater bite will be strong before sunrise, but once the flurry of the morning bite is over plan to fish deep water structures. Welcome to the Dog Days of summer!
An old and very effective deep water technique is Carolina Rigging. The Carolina Rig consists of a one ounce slip sinker—usually a bullet or egg sinker—on 15 to 20 pound main line with a bead and barrel swivel between the main line and a leader. A worm hook rounds out the terminal rigging. A variety of artificial baits can be used but the most popular are plastic lizards, with creature baits a close second. Finally Texas rig your plastic bait of choice to the hook and you’re ready to throw a “rig.” Rigging is a term used by pro fisherman when they are Carolina Rigging.
To use this type of rig, tie an offset worm hook to the end of a three to five-foot leader. String the slip sinker on the main line followed by a bead and then tie the main line to one end of the swivel. Next tie the leader to the other end of the swivel. Most fisherman use a lighter line for the leader, 12 to 15 pound test. If you hang up, the leader breaks before the main line and you only lose your hook. Because of the lighter test, use fluorocarbon line as opposed to nylon monofilament to minimize abrasion on underwater structure.
Rigging is most effective on humps and long tapering points dropping into deep water. Position your boat on the deep water side of a point or hump and, using a side arm swinging technique, cast to the shallow part of the structure usually about 15 feet deep. Slowly drag the rig toward you with a slow sidearm sweeping motion, wind up the slack and drag again. While not the most active or aggressive style of fishing, you will find it to be very effective. You can fish deep sections of the lake otherwise not available with normal casting techniques.
Pay close attention to your line, most of the time you will see your line jump when a fish bites but, because of the long leader bass will sometimes pick up the lure and swim off with your bait before you feel them. Another way to tell if a fish has bit is to sense a heavy feeling on the line. Nevertheless when in doubt set the hook with a fast side arm sweeping motion similar to your retrieve but harder. Remember jerks are free! The only loss is a few extra feet of distance and just sometimes the quick jerk will trigger a bite.
When the fish go deep your electronics play a big part in deep water fishing. Learning to read the chart for grass, boulders and drop-offs is very vital to a successful outing. Look for schools of bait and little squiggle marks that many times indicate fish. Most pro fisherman won’t even stop on a hump or drop off if it doesn’t show signs of fish or bait.
While this is going to be the slow time of the year always remember the old saying “a bad day of fishing is better than a good day of working.” Enjoy — it’s all about time on the water.
Howard Hammonds is a guide and experienced bass fisherman living in Westport. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.