The lake with the most-consistent largemouth bass bite in the Raleigh-Durham area should be no surprise – Shearon Harris Lake.
“The topwater bite at Harris is where I’ve been having the best success lately,” said guide Jeff Thomas of Broadway. “It just takes a bit of moving around to see where the bass are coming up to the top and chasing really small shad.”
Most of the coves at the lower half of the 4,200-acre reservoir in Wake and Chatham counties south of Raleigh are holding bass that are feeding at the surface.
“The bass get under the shad and chase ’em to the top,” said Thomas (919-770-4654). “You just have to sit and watch for them to start breaking on top. They come up, bite, then go down, and you have to wait for them to come back up”
Most of this topwater action occurs at daybreak and a few hours afterward.
Oddly enough, cloud cover or sunny skies don’t affect this topwater bite, he said.
“It’s not clouds but wind,” Thomas said. “If you’ve got a ripple on the water, they’ll be schooling most of the day somewhere. You just have to look hard, because sometimes it’s hard to see. I think it’s actually the best when you have a sunny day with just a little wind.”
Thomas’ choice of lures include Pop-Rs, Baby SuperSpook Jrs., buzzbaits and a relatively new topwater lure, the Unlimited Popper by Custom Lures.
“It’s a little smaller than a Pop-R but doesn’t rattle,” Thomas said. “It’s got one knocker in it, and it’s loud. Of course, when bass come up on top at Harris, they’ll bite just about anything. You just gotta get close enough to them to get a lure to them.”
Most Harris schoolies range from 1 ½ to 3 ½ pounds and fit nicely in Harris’ 16- to 20-inch slot. Anglers can keep five bass per day, including two less than 14 inches long, but none in the slot.
“The best chance to catch a big fish when schoolie fishing is to drop a jigging spoon underneath the schoolers,” said Thomas, who has some clients who’d rather target larger fish from the get-go. That’s when he prefers fishing deep structure, mostly channel ledges, with an Ammo jig.
“I had a client catch one with that jig over 10 pounds last week in 18 feet of water,” Thomas said.