Memorial day brings the beginning of the boating season, picnics and at least on Ross Barnett, the Mayfly hatch. These bugs are a major problem for homeowners at the lake, but their arrival brings some fantastic bass action in its wake.
Mayflies lay their eggs in the water and emerge from the water in their winged form. Before they can take flight, they must dry off, so there’s a period of time where they are vulnerable to feeding fish. Once they take flight, they are also very short lived, generally less than 24 hours and their sole purpose is to reproduce. After mating, the females fall back into the water to lay their eggs, so they are once again vulnerable to attack.
These two stages of vulnerability present a prime opportunity for bass fisherman. At either stage, the mayflies seek shelter in the shade of shoreline vegetation or from overhanging limbs and docks. Their presence brings in the bream to feed on them and that brings in the bass. These feeding bass are very aggressive and can be caught in a number of methods.
My favorite is, of course, topwater. You’ll want something slow moving and subtle. For me, that’s a Pop R or Don Iovino’s Splash-it. Most of the time, you’ll want to work these baits quickly, with a loud splash, but in this case, you’ll need to use a slower action. Rather than a hard pop to make the sound, just raise your rod tip and barely move the bait. This action makes the bait move some water, but doesn’t result in a loud noise.
Another productive technique is to use a floating worm. My favorite for this is a Zoom Trick Worm. Simply Texas rig it with no weight, throw it into the shadow and twitch it slowly. If you’ll leave a bit of slack in the line when you twitch it, you’ll get a walking motion that drives these feeding bass wild.
Finally, if they stop feeding high in the water column, you can throw a Texas-rigged (weighted) creature bait in the same areas. This will catch the less aggressive bass that are between feeding periods. For this bite, you’ll want to throw something in a bream color. My favorite is a watermelon candy or green pumpkin.
This pattern is not only one of the most productive patterns going right now, but also one of the simplest to find. Just look for those shady areas, fish all the ones that you see Mayflies on the surface and hold on. Once you find the right spots, the action is fast and furious.
Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible: Lowrance Electronics, Phoenix Bass Boats, Denali Rods, Bryan’s Marine, Power Pole, Costa del Mar Sunglasses and Mississippi Van Lines. Without all of you, none of this would be possible.