Across North Carolina, I think June is the best month to fish for bass. When you wake up in the morning this month, you need to take all the vacation time you’ve got and go to the lake.
The reason? Bass finished spawning in May just about everywhere except on Buggs Island and Lake Gaston, they have gone through the postspawn, and they’re hungry and ready to eat again. You can catch them about any way you want to: topwater, plastics, jigs — and it’s about the best time you can ever fish a crankbait.
Some lakes are a little better than others in June. Buggs Island and Gaston start to get good right at the end of June, but mostly in July. High Rock is great in June. Jordan is great in June. Maybe the best is Lake Wylie; it’s a little bit ahead of the other lakes because it’s the farthest south. Those fish are out feeding again by the last part of May.
I’m going to start out fishing shallow around the first of the month, maybe 8 to 10 feet deep. There will be a group of bass moving out that you can catch on topwater off points and rocky veins. When they come out, the backs of the creeks are going to die, so I’m going to fish from halfway back out to the main lake.
Bass will gang up; they’ll get on sharp drops where they’re fairly easy to find. This is the first time of the year they’ll get on a sharp drop. If you find one, or a good channel bend on a creek or on the main lake that’s close to deep water, you’ll get bit. The fishing can be great until they all get caught or until they start breaking up and moving deeper. It’s a time when you need to use your electronics, both your depth finder and your side scan. The Raymarine unit I use, the side scan looks like HD television even 20 feet deep.
Most of the time when you catch one fish, there will be several around. You might stay around and catch 4 or 5 — or maybe 20. I always start out with a crankbait. I’ll be fishing a Lews David Fritts 7-foot cranking rod with a BB-1 reel. At the end of June and into July, when they’re getting deeper, I’ll go to a 7-foot-6 rod so I can make those 60-yard casts. I’m using 10-pound Berkley Sensation, which is a good copolymer line.
When you get done having fun with a crankbait, it’s always pretty smart to throw a worm. I like an 8-inch Power Worm in green pumpkin, watermelon or red bug. Sometimes, a little worm will work as well as a big one. You may have to go to a little worm like a 6-inch Bottom Hopper, a Havoc bait. It’s a killer Texas-rigged on a 3/16-ounce weight. You can fish it on a 3/8- or a ½-ounce, but it’s better to fish it on a light weight, because they like that slow fall.”
Fish will move out and get on this pattern at different times on different parts of different lakes — just like they spawn, in waves. It could be two or three days earlier in one spot, or there could be two or three weeks’ difference between areas on the same lake.
Where should you fish? I’ve had some good tournaments in June on a lot of different lakes. High Rock has always been good in June; back in the day, when we had all the knowledge to ourselves, you could catch a 4-pound average easy. Jordan and the other lakes around Raleigh are good in June. Wylie is probably my favorite, because you can go at the end of May and they’ll already be out. We would work those ledges on the main lake, across from Terry’s Marina, and sit way out and fish that ledge next to deep water.
Buggs Island and Gaston are behind because they’re farther north. Bass won’t get on this pattern until the end of the month. Norman is different from the rest of them because of the spotted bass.
Whatever lake is closest to you, just make sure you fish it as often as you can this month. What makes it so great is that those fish are hungry, and they’re there to be caught.