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Captain's corner

By LENNY CRISPINO

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2001


As the weather gets hotter I find fewer people fishing during the day. I often hear that you can't catch bass then. People believe that because most fish in shallow water. They throw a bait to the bank and work it back to them. Since bass are most active in shallow water during the morning and evening this belief is reinforced.

But I don't stop fishing when the sun gets high; I just change my tactics. At the beginning of the day cast fast-moving baits, including topwaters, spinner baits and crank baits. These allow you to cover water quickly in search of active, feeding bass. When the sun gets high, begin to fish heavy, shallow-water vegetation.

When fishing shallow-water vegetation I use a technique called flipping, which requires a 7- or 8-foot heavy-action rod and a reel capable of holding 20- to 30-pound test line. Use a plastic worm, crayfish or lizard rigged weedless with a sinker heavy enough to penetrate the vegetation. Position yourself within 15 feet of the vegetation and swing the lure to where you want it.

Pay close attention to the lure, line and vegetation. The slightest movement could be your only indication of a bite. Respond by reeling up your slack and setting the hook.

I swear by attractant and rattles. Attractant on lures acts like a lubricant and allows the lure to slide into the vegetation more easily. When bass pick up the lure they seem to hold on longer, giving you time to set the hook. I use sinkers with rattles or place glass rattles in the worm so the bass are able to locate the bait more easily. The next time you think it's to hot to catch anything try this tactic. About 80 percent of the big bass I catch are between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. After all, that is lunch time.

- Lenny Crispino guides on Lake Tarpon. Call (727) 938-2379.

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