Think only fly-rodders who fish skinny-water mountain streams for trout like insect hatches? Don’t tell it to Joel Richardson, a long-time bass guide from Kernersville. Last week, he had two of the best days he’s ever had at Lake Gaston, taking advantage of the mayfly hatch.
“We caught 30 keepers each day, and that doesn’t count the undersize fish,” said Richardson (336-803-2195). “And they were good sizes, averaging 3 ½ to 4 ½ pounds, but we caught a couple of 5-pounders. The mayflies were hatching.”
Huh? Aren’t May flies what rainbow, brown and tiny brook trout slurp in the mountains?
“Well, yeah,” he said. “But bream also like them.”
Ding. Light bulb goes off.
“If you could find a dock with mayflies around it, you’d find bass eatin’ bluegills that were there in herds,” he said. “The mayfly hatch should be going on for at least another week to week-and-a-half.”
Richardson said the main summer pattern at Gaston remains deep-water bass “offshore in 12 to 15 feet of water at ledges or drop-offs with rocks or stumps on the main lake,” he said. “We use big, 8-inch worms and lizards in green pumpkin and red shad, Carolina- and Texas-rigged, and deep-diving crankbaits — Fat Free Shads in chartreuse or green with blue backs.”
He finds deep fish with his depth finder.
“They were grouped up, schooled, and you didn’t have to bang a lure off a rock or stump,” he said. “When you got (a lure) down to them, they bit it.”
In shallow water where the mayflies are hatching, “If you found a deep, shaded bank or shallow wood cover, like at docks, laydowns or grass, you’d catch bass,” he said.
For the shallow fish, Richardson’s anglers have been using spinnerbaits or plastic worms.
“For some reason, the larger fish were shallow,” he said.