Most years, August is a very predictable month for bass fishermen in North Carolina. It's hot, the water is at its hottest levels, and bass can be hard to catch.

This year has definitely not been like most years, however. We have had so much rain that our lakes have stayed basically full all summer, instead of dropping a couple of feet. August is usually a good month to fish offshore structure, but a lot of times fish will move shallow if there's not a lot of dissolved oxygen in the water. I think because of all the rain we've had this year, the water will have more oxygen, and the fish may stay out on the structure. Still, it will be hit and miss, I'm afraid. Most lakes may fish like they usually do in July.

In a typical August, bass will get off the real sharp drops they got on when they pulled out of the shallows after spawning and headed for deep water. They are looking for more subtle, contour drops, and they can be anywhere from 10 to 20 feet deep. If you catch two or three fish on a spot, that's a really good spot, because they'll be very scattered out.

What you need to take into consideration is the clarity of the water, and in a set summer like this, you often get a situation where the water looks clear on top, but it can be dirty underneath. You need to watch your the prop on your outboard and see if you're stirring up dirty water while you're running, High Rock is bad for that to happen, but I know it happens a lot on other lakes, too.

You have two options in August. You can go up into the river section of a lake where fish might be a little easier to find and catch shallower, or you can stay down the lake and fish deeper.

Either way, they'll bite a crankbait a little, or they'll bite a big worm like a Berkley Power Worm. As far as colors, chartreuse starts coming into play on crankbaits, but shad colors will still be good. I've got a guy at Bag 5 Baits who paints some crankbaits for me, and he's painted a shad color for me that I really like that's a killer during the summer. Fishing's getting so competitive that it's to the point that you've got to have a little something different that will give you a little edge. With GPS and all the electronics we've got these days, lakes don't fish as big as they used to; you don't have spots anymore than people can't find, so anything you can go to give yourself a little edge will help.

I've been fishing a new crankbait, a Strike King 10XD, which will run 22 to 24 feet deep. It tracks good and is easier to wind than a (Mann's) 30+. It's a super-big bait, maybe two ounces, and it makes a lot of noise. I think it will be really good in places like Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia where the fish get a lot deeper than they do in North Carolina. I don't know how big a bait it will be here, but there are always a couple of weeks out of the year where you'll need a crankbait to fish that deep.