Summertime has been here in full swing for a while now, and with that comes extremely hot water temps and every day afternoon rain showers. This is truly one of my favorite times of the year as we are seemingly targeting something different every day. Live bait peacock trips, artificial peacock trips, clown knife fish, and topwater snakehead trips have all been in heavy rotation this month.
I just had Lawson Lindsey and Alex Blackwell on the boat the other day chasing peacock bass and they absolutely smoked them throwing an assortment of flies and artificial lures. The half day effort produced over 20 peacocks up to 3+ pounds, with the clouser minnow fly producing as well as a small white fluke worked erratically on the top. The fish were crushing schools of glass minnows and any time we threw into the school it was game on!! Schools of 5-15 fish would all chase the lure at once in hopes of being the one that was lucky enough to get hooked by us!
Up north, the clown knife fish bite has been red hot all month. Normally, it feels like there is very little ways to target them, but I ran eight trips up there in August and we put clowns in the boat in all but one of them. The clowns are situated deep right now and working extremely slow with a lively bait has been key. The peacocks are in the same locations, but up shallow, and they will take a variety of small lures as well as live baits. One lure I have loved throwing up there this month has been the Yozuri crystal minnow as it seemed to pull some of the biggest fish out from heavy cover in order to strike.
For both the peacocks and clown knife, I am running a simple setup of 20Lb Bullbuster braid connected to a 4 ft. section of 20Lb Bullbuster monofilament leader. This takes care of abrasion from the teeth as well as the limestone and dock pilings we often find these fish around.
Something to keep in mind is that peacock bass are very fragile this time of year when pulling them out of 85+ degree water temps. I lose far less than one fish a trip due to mortality from C+R techniques but the summertime is always when I have the most fish fail to make it. To combat this, any fish that we don’t want to photograph is kept out of the water for no longer than 10 or 15 seconds. If we do plan on photographing a nicer fish, I will take him out of the water for 20 seconds, snap some shots, and put him back in the net to recover. If you plan on releasing your fish this time of year, keep in mind how fragile they can be!
Time will tell how Hurricane Dorian is going to affect the freshwater fisheries that we have here. As of now it looks like it is going to miss the general area, but hopefully everyone is prepared for what looks like a really big storm.
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