Fishing is hotter than the weather now. You just have to be there at the right time — and now that’s just at daylight or just before and after dark. Striper guides are getting to their spots early but if they are going toward the dam there will probably already be a fleet gathered. It’s like the old days as boats are everywhere.


One I talked to said “if the white birds hit the water there is a boat rush to them like a store offering a TV to the first 20 who get there.” Boats run in on guides and other boats and swells rock and roll them. You get a group of those boats together and they are all casting, you get crossed lines and crossed feelings. I have had lures land in my boat and I’m sure I’m not alone.


Back in the day when I was fishing for the silver fish for the heck of it, I’d take off at full speed out in the lake. Several boats would be chasing me thinking I saw fish. I’d shut down, jump up, get a rod and make like I was fishing.


Just as they were getting close I’d throw my rod down and take of again and here they’d come. I guess it was mean but I had been through a boat rodeo or two where they were just as rude.


Just at and a little after light is when the fish have been coming up the best. There is a topwater bite early with bigger fish. Smaller fish are popping up all day long. Late in the afternoon is seeing some ice chests of big sand bass coming into our ramp.


I talked to one fisherman and he said they were trolling. I didn’t ask what lure he was using but it was working. Also early and late is the most comfortable time to be on the water now as it’s generally cooler.


The lake rise has put my brush back in the water on my bass bank. Tuesday I got there a little late as the prime time had passed. I still managed to catch three bass — nothing real big but fun. I got one on a Booyah Buzz bait, one on a Rebel Pop R and one on a Yum Blue flake worm. I had a real pattern going bait-wise.


The wind got up a little so I stayed out longer than I generally do. I kept moving around and changing baits. Fishing a rocky, windy point with a Bomber Fat Free Shad after a lot of casts finally got the bite I’d been looking for. A big smallmouth came up, jumped and went down. I could see that the bass only had one, maybe two hooks in its mouth; the rest of the Crank bait was outside its mouth. I babied it up to the side of my boat, leaned over to lip him, and he went straight down and the hook pulled out.


July and August see me doing another kind of fishing. It’s probably my second favorite way and time to fish. Nighttime from 9 p.m. on is Spinnerbait, Crankbait, and Jig and pig time. There is nothing like getting your rod almost knocked out of your hand if you get lazy or slightly sleepy. Or if you can only hear the splash on a dark night with no moon that sounds like a bowling ball hitting the water as a smallie clears the water.


Sometimes at night me and other night owls have had hits so hard they would take the blades off our Spinner baits. Nighttime is cool, generally boat and bug free especially if the bats are around. It is also the time you might catch the largest smallmouth you ever caught.


Keep your baits simple: three rods will cover all your night fishing needs. Dark lures seem to work the best but don’t be afraid to try others. A dark-colored Booyah Moon Talker Spinnerbait with a single Colorado blade is really good, another rod should have a Crankbait in a dark color that runs at a medium depth.


One favorite of mine is a no-longer-made Cotton Cordell Wiggle O. Those fat lures move a lot of water that makes it easier for the fish to find in the dark.


My third bait would be a Black and Blue Booyah Jig with a Black and Blue Frog or Chunk on it. A dark Texas rigged YUM Black or Blue Flake worm can be used. They come with a molded in F2 fish attractant if you aren’t comfortable with the jig, and some people aren’t.


Because the days are hot and miserable on the water, nighttime is prime time to be out. Just make sure your lights work. It gets expensive if you get caught with one of them not working. Been there: my right ham still hurts where they took a chunk out of it along with my billfold. Stay hydrated even at night if you are out — water, not beer. There is a time to knock back a cold one but at night in a boat on the water isn’t one.