FLW Outdoors Fishing Report 12: Trolling With Bandits

May 27, 2011

Murray, KY – In this week's FLW Outdoors Fishing Report, Scott Ellison talks about trolling with bandits - strategizing for catching fish on the move and finding the fish that's been elusive this spring... crappies.

Scott Ellison here with the FLW Outdoors weekly fishing report for Kentucky Lake.

Fishing is good now, but the weather is bad, which means that most people have been going when they can, rather than when they want to.

Folks dodging the gale-force winds and thunderstorms are still catching bass, bluegills and shellcrackers in the flooded shoreline cover. For bass, flipping or pitching jigs or soft-plastics have been paying off. When the wind allows, a lot of anglers are going offshore and scoring some good catches on the big deep-diving crankbaits such as the Norman DD22 and the Strike King pro model, or heavy football jigs pumped along the bottom. The fish haven't really moved in any numbers to the mainlake ledges so much, but they are migrating back out the feeders like Blood River, Big Sandy and Jonathan Creek, so those ledges are where you want to fish now. Again, though, there are still plenty of bass in the shallows, but fish are on the move and that offshore migration is going to pick up speed through the summer.

As for bluegills and shellcrackers, they're really the hot ticket now as they're ganging up to bed in the backends of coves and pockets. If there's grass, even better. If you like watching a bobber get dunked, just use a piece of nightcrawler and put it on a no. 8 aberdeen hook for bluegills or a no. 6 aberdeen for shellcrackers. If you're not really certain about where to fish, try a drop-shot rig with a sinker on the bottom and the hook tied on above it about 10 inches. Cast it out and slowly drag it back in across the bottom. It's a great fish finder.

If you don't like to mess with worms, tie on a 1/32-ounce johnson beetle spin or a shelton bluegill bug. The beetle spin is a tiny spinnerbait with a stubby plastic grub body that you just cast out and wind in. The bluegill bug is more of a tiny creature jig that you might pump back in or hop along the bottom. Either bait is great on ultralight spinning or spincast tackle with 4-pound or 6-pound-test line.

Crappies you remember them, don't you? Kentucky Lake is famous for them, although this was a tough spring for getting out and catching any. But I've heard that the ledge fishermen also are starting to catch crappie suspended on the ledges in Blood River, big sandy and other bays. It happens every spring after the spawn, and crappies are one of the few fish that you can catch when they're suspended. What you want to do is find a long run of ledge that's several hundred yards long, and troll with a bandit 300 series crankbait in a wild color like pink or chartreuse. These lures get down to about 14 or 15 feet, and that's about where crappies are holding.

Again, you want to troll a fairly straight run of ledge, and not one with a lot of twists and turns, or you're wasting your time. Once you locate crappies, you can continue to troll or throw out a buoy and cast to them. They'll leave sooner or later, but you can still catch a decent mess before they move up or down the ledge.

That's it for this week. Mark your calendar for june 16-19. That's when the flw tour comes to kentucky lake. The weigh-ins will be in murray state's cfsb center. You're going to see some big bass brought in then.

For FLW Outdoors, Scott Ellison signing off.

Scott Ellison is a lifelong fisherman and FLW Outdoors College Fishing Promotions Manager.