After the bass spawn, some stay shallow and some head to deeper water immediately. Knowing whether you should fish shallow or deep is the big debate for me and I have learned that it usually boils down to water clarity and shallow cover.
Lake Rayburn is big — 114,500 surface acres big! It’s the largest manmade lake in Texas and it’s full of bass, both numbers and size. Although I’ve fished there many times, it had been years and I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this event. The only thing I was certain of was that I needed a strong finish … to have any hope of making a run at the Bassmaster Classic.
Our fourth stop on this year’s FLW Tour was Lake Cumberland in Burnside, KY. Cumberland is a huge, clear water reservoir and the main lake is over a 100 miles long.
There are multitudes of creeks with bushes and standing trees as well as main lake areas with big rock and standing trees. It’s pretty easy on the eyes, too. The lake is very vertical with few flat areas. All three species of bass can be found here but there are minimums to take into account: an 18" minimum for smallmouth, 15" for largemouth and 12" for spotted bass. The fish were fat and in pre-spawn but with the smallmouth requiring an 18" minimum length, you sometimes ended up toss back a fish that weighs 3 pounds or more. Ouch!
After experiencing nearly polar conditions at Lake Cherokee a week earlier, I was ready to warm things up on the “Big O.”
Prior to cutoff, I did considerable prep. And I knew the area had been experiencing relatively stable conditions since that time, so I felt what I had learned then would still apply.