Bobby Lane cruises off into the sunset during the Bass Pro Tour Bad Boy Mowers Stage Seven Presented by Covercraft. Photo by Phoenix Moore
By Mason Prince - June 12, 2019
The 80 pros on the Bass Pro Tour took advantage of the evening bite during Stage Seven on Table Rock Lake. Competition ran from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. instead of the normal 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., which provided some unique challenges for the anglers as they had to figure out how to take advantage of the evening bite.
Plenty of pros were able to capitalize during the later hours, and a couple have some pointers for you as you head out to your local fishing hole for some after-work angling.
1. Let’s Get Visual
Tennessee pro David Walker says that visually scanning the water’s surface is one of the best ways to find the fish. Once the sun begins to set, that’s when the nautical nightlife comes out to play.
“The easiest thing to look for is visual clues,” Walker explained. “When the light starts to get low, the fish tend to get a lot more active. It’s not just the bass that become active, all the fish in the lake do. You’ll start to see shad come up to the top in the evening and you’ll see bass start to break the top of the water. Keep your eyes peeled because so many times a fish will show itself to you.”
2. Topwater in the Twilight
When Walker is searching through his tackle box for the perfect evening bait, a specific name or brand doesn’t come to mind. Instead, he reaches for multiple types of topwater baits to get the job done.
“Any type of noise-making topwater baits, walking baits or poppers always do well around the evening hours,” Walker advised. “When I first started fishing as a kid, fishing with topwaters during the evening was one of the first things I learned how to do. I try to stay away from buzzbaits, instead I try to use things that I can twitch slowly.”
3. Searching for Shade
Josh Bertrand rode the evening-bite wave to a 26th-place finish during Stage Seven on Table Rock Lake. When he wasn’t fishing offshore, Bertrand was scanning the lake for shade wherever he could find it.
“In a clear-water lake, or really any lake, shade is a really big factor,” Bertrand said. “Some place that is shaded in the morning won’t be shaded in the evening and vice-versa. Whether it’s a bank, bluff or even a point in the water, the fish will move to find that shade. It’s critical that you find the right angle that the sun is hitting and casting a shadow.”
4. Late-Day Cranking
As the sun begins to set, the Arizona pro has one particular bait he loves to use when the weather gets warmer and the daylight stretches longer.
“When you’re fishing in the summertime evenings and the water is a little bit warmer, a deep-diving crankbait is my favorite bait to use by far,” Bertrand advised. “I can get some really big bites on a Berkley Dredger 20.5 or a 17.5. I like to reel that bait really fast to try to get a reaction bite. A lot of times the biggest fish in a school will be the one that bites first. I like to cast through the school at the right angle and rip it through.”
5. Use a Jerkbait
Gerald Spohrer agrees with Bertrand and Walker that topwater and crankbaits are quality choices to attract some late-day bites, but he has another bait that he adds to his arsenal. The SWAT pro says he turns to the unpredictable movement of a jerkbait to get a reactionary bite when the sun starts to set.
“A lot of fish tend to track baits that are in constant motion,” Spohrer said. “The cool thing about using a jerkbait is that when a fish gets behind it and starts tracking it, the erratic action of a jerkbait will make that fish bite, especially in the evenings when the fish are more active. If and when the wind dies down in the evenings, it’s a great bait to move to.”