Bream Beds, Mayfly Hatches Keep Sinclair Bass Shallow In June
Will Sizer said fish will eat a buzzbait all day long in June.
It was an overcast morning a few weeks ago as Will Sizer and I left the boat ramp in Beaverdam Creek. In short order we were fishing spinnerbaits on a rocky bank just off a main-lake point. Threadfin shad began to flicker on the surface.
“Shad are spawning,” said Will.
Indeed they were. One of Georgia’s most exciting events in freshwater fishing is the shad spawn. It can be down-right exhilarating to throw a shad-imitation bait into an area where bass are already blowing up.
Will was quick to hook-up with a short fish, and I followed with a 12-inch keeper that hit my spinnerbait. Twenty-four minutes later, after slinging buzzbaits and spinnerbaits, we had our first limit of keeper Sinclair largemouths. We weren’t fishing a tournament, but it’s always fun to grade a morning on tournament standards.
“There could still be some shad spawning down here in early June. Usually down here it would be over, but with the crazy weather we’ve been having, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some still spawning,” said Will.
Although any shad-spawn activity on Sinclair in June would be a bonus to bass anglers, Will’s bread-and-butter this month is to catch bass shallow as they relate to bedding bream and hatching mayflies. He first eliminates water by focusing fishing efforts on areas with hard bottoms.
“This lake has a lot of bottom that’s not hard,” said Will. “I like a shallow bank 1 to 3 feet deep with a hard bottom. Bream spawn in rocky places. Any kind of rock can make for good places in June, because the bream are up there. Look for boulders, gravel, concrete, anything with a hard bottom.”
It’s a big bonus when you find an area of bream beds in a place where mayflies are hatching. Overhanging trees and bushes make good places for bream to stack up as they wait for flies to hit the water; where you have bream waiting to feed, you’ll usually find bass lurking close by.
“I love that mayfly hatch,” said Will. “You really want to get those bream active. When you do, it’s like the bass just don’t pay attention. They can’t stand for those bream to be up there whacking those mayflies.”
Will works for Georgia Power Co. at the plant in Milledgeville and owns his own landscaping business. He stays very busy with work. When he’s able to break free and fish a tournament, look out. Will and his tournament partner, Tony Waters, are always contenders for taking your money. Currently, Will and Tony are No. 28 in the Big Bear Fishing Rods Team Power Rankings, a list that had more than 300 teams on it in mid May. See page 70 for the most-current list, or go to <www.gon.com>.
“If it weren’t for work, I’d fish every tournament on Sinclair,” said Will.
Will does make time to fish the Berry’s trail. He also fishes some Oconee Marine, R&R and BFL events. When he’s fishing a tournament on Sinclair in June, I guarantee you he’ll have a buzzbait tied on.
“The more I got into tournament fishing, the more I realized bass will hit that buzzbait all day long,” said Will.
Our fourth keeper of the morning came on a buzzbait. This topwater bite was just getting going in early May, but it will explode in June.
“I love a buzzbait,” he said. “I like white early in the morning because everything is more active, and it better imitates the bait. Later in the day the bass seem to relate to bream, so I’ll throw a black buzzbait.
“Three years ago they weren’t throwing a black buzzbait, but it’s more of a common thing now.”
Will likes the Hart buzzbait, which he buys at Walmart.
“This is a slow buzzbait,” said Will. “I’m a firm believer in the clacker. It seems to produce more bites. It makes a little extra noise, and it looks like it creates a few more bubbles. Even on clear lakes, I get more bites with it.”
When I was in the boat with Will, he fished his buzzbait right next to the seawalls, keeping it just off the rocks. When fishing rocks, mayflies and bream beds in June, you’ll want to do the same. Parallel these areas with the buzzbait. Quite a few times Will would fish a stretch with his buzzbait and then work the same stretch with a spinnerbait. He likes a homemade 1/4- to 3/8-oz. Bob Williams spinnerbait.
“Any spinnerbait, like an Ol Nelle, that you have confidence in will work,” said Will. “I like to let the water dictate blades. In muddy water the Colorado blades work well, but willowleaf blades can work under any conditions. I like gold blades in muddy water and silver when it’s lightly stained to clear.”
Will usually has a chartreuse-and-white skirt on his blade, but if conditions get clear, he’ll switch to an all-white bait. He usually adds a trailer.
“Normally I’ll throw a Zoom split-tail,” said Will. “A lot of times I’ll use just white, but sometimes I’ll dye the tail chartreuse. It just depends on the water. I’ll use blue occasionally. Sometimes I like a trailer with glitter. Sometimes I won’t use a trailer to keep the profile of the bait smaller.”
A few minutes after 7 a.m., Will put keeper No. 9 in the boat. We were chunking spinnerbaits around a seawall, just behind a main-lake dock. Will said a good bite will begin this month on some docks.
“Sometimes you’ll get on a row of docks that have a mayfly hatch on them,” said Will. “They can be pretty thick on the big boat houses. I like to sling a buzzbait under them.”
When fishing these big, shady docks, it’s not uncommon to find a lull later in the day when there are no mayflies on the water, which means the largemouths are just holding tight ready for an opportunity to eat.
“That’s generally when the flipping bite is better,” said Will. “And June is Ol Monster time. I like junebug and junebug red for the Ol Monster.
“I’ll throw the greens on small worms, but I wouldn’t give you 50 cents for a green Ol Monster,” he said.
When fishing the big Zoom worm, Will uses a thick, round-bend 5/0 Owner hook.
“With that big hook, I just seem to get a better hook in fish. I use a 1/4-oz. weight,” he said.
If the fish get really finicky, Will skips a 1/8-oz. shaky head, attached to a 1/0 hook, threaded with a Bama Bug or junebug Trick Worm.
We had nearly finished fishing a 100-yard stretch of grassy bank when Will spotted an isolated grass patch across the creek. He barely got the boat on plane before setting it down and grabbing his spinnerbait rod.
“A lot of times I’d rather fish a little isolated grass patch instead of a long stretch,” said Will. “Bass seem to concentrate around those areas better.”
A 2 1/2-pounder smacked Will’s spinnerbait and was quickly hoisted into the boat. It made keeper No. 17 in just three hours of fishing.
Along with throwing buzzbaits and spinnerbaits around grass patches this month, he’ll swim a 3/8-oz. All Terrain jig.
“It’s good to throw after you miss one on a buzzbait,” said Will.
Will does warn that if you’re not getting bit on grass, or in some of the types of places mentioned above, be versatile with what you’re fishing.
“Each day down here is different,” said Will. “One day they’ll be on docks with bream, the next day they’ll be on rocky banks with mayflies.”
However, shade will start to play a pretty constant factor for getting bit as temperatures creep up.
“Any structure in shady areas helps, too,” said Will.
When bass aren’t actively feeding on mayflies and bream, Will said the bass will hang out under a nearby dock or in a blowdown, just waiting to feed.
“If you’re new to the lake, ride the shorelines,” said Will. “Look for shady banks, blowdowns, docks or rocks. Short pockets with deep water nearby are good.”
June is the month when Will gets away from nothing banks. He pointed one out that was just 80 percent straight seawall. There was one little patch of grass with a few stickups adjacent to a boat dock on the main river run.
“That’s where I’d fish,” he said. “Just look for these areas, and start fishing. Look for that hard bottom, and see if there’s any mayflies and bream popping. If you don’t see action on top, black birds in the trees gives away mayflies.”
Will is one of Sinclair’s more successful tournament anglers. Along with his tournament record, he proved it to me a few weeks ago with 17 keeper bass, fishing pretty much the same way he’ll be fishing this month. The only difference was we had a shad spawn going on, which could still be happening right now.
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