School's In Session 8/24/2005
Photo: Doug Cox
Skeet Reese knows how to weed out stripers with the G-Splash.
Sure, all of the major events are done for the season. The kids are headed to school and Team Lucky Craft pros don't have as much to do ・but wait. They just might. Like the little ones headed back to class, the Lucky Craft boys are going to school too, but their schools are full of bass.
Late summer is the prime to start a whack-and-stack approach with schools of fish. All of the species, especially spots and largies, start to school up this time of the year. They're after one thing: baitfish. These wolf packs of fish tear through massive schools of shad, herring or any other food species available.
Reese Keen On Details
While most anglers simply fire out whatever lure they have available at schools of fish to create a surface disturbance, Skeet Reese makes sure to match the hatch with his Lucky Craft choice.
"You have to pay attention to bait size when you're after schools of bass," he said. "If the bait's small, use the appropriate-sized lure. This is the prime time of the year to use topwater lures to go after schools of bass that bust baitfish on the surface. Just match your lure to the size of the bait. It's simple."
He prefers to use Lucky Craft's Sammy, Gunfish or G-Splash to hook topwater fish.
"When the fish want a fast-moving bait, I like the Sammy or the Gunfish," he said, When the bait's small, I'll go down to a Sammy 65. Or if the forage is large, I'll go up to the Sammy 128. It's amazing how healthy you can get in a short time when you're on schools of active fish."
The G-Splash is also the go-to bait when stripers are present ・but not for stripers. "A little trick I learned years ago on Lake Mead was to slow down when stripers are present," he said. "The stripers or hybrids will be the first fish to smash a fast retrieve, like with a Sammy or Gunfish. If you slow down and use the G-Splash, the bass will usually hit it.
"Stripers are much more aggressive and tend to attack the more erratic fast retrieved lures," he noted.
This method not only works on Mead, but it works "on many of the other reservoirs across the country with striper and bass populations."
Ehrler Prefers Speed
Photo: Lucky Craft
Speed is the key for Brent Ehrler.
While Reese likes to slow down when stripers are present, Brent Ehrler prefers to kick it up several notches to trigger strikes from the most aggressive fish.
"I like to use a fast approach when I'm after schools of fish," he said. "I tend to use the Gunfish 115 if the baitfish are a bit larger, or the Pointer 78 or a Staysee if the bait is smaller. I work my lures with a very fast and erratic retrieve, and look for a few aggressive bites."
Main-lake pockets and coves are his prime targets in late summer and early fall.
"I use the classic run-and-gun approach this time of the year," he said. "My favorite areas to fish are main-lake structures like pockets or coves where the bass herd the baitfish to feed on them."
Keep your bait above the bass when they school. He believes most of the fish look up to feed this time of the year.
"Whatever you do, don't run your lures below the bass," he said. "This is a mistake anglers make sometimes. In my opinion, most of the fish feed up so keep your lures either on top or in that upper 3 or 4 feet of water."
Also expect to get worn out, he said. "Even though there's a ton of fish activity, it takes about 10 million casts to catch the fish. You just need to run from cove to cove and keep casting. Sometimes the bass hit and sometimes they don't.
"You can usually tell in the first cast at surfacing fish if you have a chance. If you hook one, they're active. If you don't, you'll have to move and look for more cooperative fish."