As the water temperatures continue to creep up this summer, fishing in July will be focused on deeper water than previous months. The Striper and Sandbass will slowly migrate towards the deeper southern part of the lake in the deep cool water chasing schools of shad along the way.
Early mornings should begin with some schooling top water action over deeper water as these fish began to group into large schools for the summer. These fish can be caught with small top water plugs or rattle baits casted out into the boiling water. They can literally pop up just about anywhere so watch for splashing and keep an eye open for the Blue Herons or the Great Egrets hovering over deep water. These birds are some of the best fish finders on the lake and will lead you in the right direction. Just keep in mind as you approach these schooling fish that running engines will tend to scare them off, so coast in quietly or use your trolling motor to sneak in for the attack!
Another great method for catching these fish when they are not “schooled up” is dropping slab spoons through schools of Striper and Sandbass. Once you have located a large school using your fish finder, drop a 1 to 3 ounce slab down through the school. A bait casting reel works great for this method because you can keep your thumb on the line spool as the slab spoon descends through the school of fish and if a strike is detected you can stop the spool with your thumb and set the hook at the same time. If your slab spoon makes it through the school without a bite, simply reel it back up as fast as you can and get ready as these fish will aggressively hit a fast-moving spoon. White, green, and blue are my favorite slab colors; or a combination of those colors seem to work great most of the time.
With the summer comes the heat, and it is very important to keep your catch cold in the cooler. I typically use three 2 gallon blocks of ice in my 120 quart cooler. This will keep 30 to 60 fish very cold for up to six hours. If you’re going to be on the water much longer than that please bring plenty of ice to keep your fish cold. The colder you can get your fish, the better they will taste, I promise you!
Good luck out there, and be safe! I’ll see you all on the water!
Capt. Stephen Andre’
Striper Hunter Guide Service