Murray, KY – Scott Ellison here, with the FLW outdoors fishing report. The hot weather has been keeping a lot of people indoors, but those brave souls who are getting out are catching fish. Out in the main lake, on the creek channel ledges and humps, schooling white bass are hitting rooster tails with Hildebrandt flicker spinners tied on the line in front of the rooster tail about 10 or 12 inches. Try ginger and bird bays on the east side of the lake. Largemouths are scattered all up and down the lake on the ledges and being caught on big plastic worms or football jigs. Big heavy spinnerbaits slow-rolled along the ledges are also producing some bass, but here again we're talking about mainly keepers in the 15-inch range with a few six- and seven-pounders thrown in just to keep it interesting.
As the shad of the year get larger, you'll start hearing of more bigger bass being caught. Right now the largest bass aren't going to expend much energy chasing after half-inch shad minnows. When they go hunting, they're looking for the momma and poppa threadfins, or 8-inch gizzard shad. If you can find the big mouthfuls, you'll find the big bass.
Now that we're in the hottest season of the year, a lot of folks are going night fishing for bass. It's pretty much the same as in the daytime, except there are more places to fish. What I mean is that the old river and creek channels in the main part of the lake will still produce bass on jigs and soft plastics, but you can also catch them on topwaters and spinnerbaits in shallow water.
This time of year the points in the blood river arm have always been good at night for spotted bass, for instance. Likewise, any well-lit docks, shoreline campgrounds, bridges or other facilities that have a lot of night lights draw minnows and shad, which in turn draw bass - especially smallmouth bass.
The riprap near the Kentucky Lake and Barkley dams have been nighttime hotspots since the lakes were impounded, and august and September are the prime months to fish them after dark. Also, anywhere a channel or drop-off swings in close to the bank or a broad shallow flat is also prime water. Try a chugger like a jitterbug, a prop bait such as a devil's horse or tiny torpedo and a popper like a pop-r or rapala skitter pop. Whatever you use, cast it up against the bank or over the end of a point and work it back with a steady cadence. The jitterbug is ideal for this because all you do is wind it in slowly and it makes a gurgling sound as it wobbles back in.
What you want to do is give bass a chance to home in on a lure, and that's why a fairly steady retrieve will work best. You'll miss a lot of fish that decide to hit the lure just as you move it, but that's part of the fun. And usually they'll come back to hit it again, so don't get too frustrated.
A spinnerbait is another great nighttime bass lure. The most productive are the short-arm safety-pin style that have one big Colorado blade. The idea is to cast the spinnerbait out and reel it steadily back in so that the blade is turning and "bulging" just under the surface. Bass love it. You might even try swimming the spinnerbait well under the surface over a point, or even fished near the bottom around humps for small mouths. It might be inky black down there, but bass can still sense where the lure is even if they can't see it. And they bite when they're hungry, no matter what time of day or night it is.
That's it for now. I'm Scott Ellison for FLW outdoors, wishing you good fishing ahead.