Rendezvous With Redear Has Anglers Buzzing; Bass/Catfish Bite Good
Written by Steve McCadams - Published on May 15, 2019
Never underestimate the power of the panfish! Such is the slogan adopted by scores of Kentucky Lake anglers who have spent most of May rendezvousing with aggressive redear and bedding bluegill. The last two weeks some hefty stringers have been taken by anglers stalking the shallow bays and pockets of Kentucky Lake where spawning phases are underway. With a full moon approaching May 18 peak spawning phases should really take the fun up another notch. Looks like warm weather will dominate the forecast too so the stars are lining up for more good bluegill and shellcracker fishing for at least another couple of weeks if not more. Despite some recent cool snaps and changes in lake levels the fish have been hitting pretty good. There have been a few days that tossed some curves to the bite but the fish seemed to rebound quickly once sunny days returned. Some hefty shellcracker are being caught in 2 to 5 foot depths by anglers using redworms, crickets and wax worms. Targeting buck bushes has produced but a few nice ones are hanging out away from visible stick ups and mixing with some bluegill bedding areas in depths of 3 to 5 feet in open areas. Surface temperatures this week started on a cool note in the aftermath of a front that brought rain and nasty north winds for a day or two. Temps began the week at 69 degrees after falling off from the mid-70’s last week. By Tuesday, however, the water rebounded to the 74 degree range and should be a few degrees warmer by this weekend. The return of warm weather should kick the bedding phases into high gear by this weekend. Bluegill have been scattered lately at times and somewhat finicky when the cool winds descended but they bounce back with a vengeance once rising temps return. Tossing crickets has been the most productive bait. Casting light tackle with slip bobbers to regulate depths and detect light strikes has been the ticket. Some anglers are also casting worms and crickets without bobbers and dragging the bait across fanning beds. That has been deadly too. Although a lot of boaters have been attempting to locate spawning beds with their side-scan sonar units it hasn’t been easy at times. Finding active craters where aggressive fish were residing has been challenging. Some old bedding areas that held fish in times past have been unproductive this spring. Water color has been relatively clear this week. Lake levels fluctuated again and crested around the 361-plus before falling. At midweek the reservoir was falling slowly and creeping back toward the summer pool elevation of 359. Bass fishing improved for shallow anglers who love tossing a variety of lures around the abundance of shoreline habitat. Once the reservoir jumps above normal summer pool it inundates unlimited targets such as buck bushes, weed lines, trees and shallow grassbeds. Boats wasted no time in beating the banks last week while the water was up and that pattern is still paying dividends for some. At the same time some boats were targeting a shallow pattern and tossing spinnerbaits, Texas rigged lizards and craws and topwater others put their back to the banks and opted to work deep water patterns. A few tournaments held last week showed an improvement in the overall bass bite for a variety of patterns but most of the 20-pound range stringers came from anglers fishing ledges, humps and deeper structure where post spawn bass had already backed off the banks. Several fish have pulled out of shallow water in a typical post-spawn phase despite rising lake levels that sure made the shorelines look attractive. Pitching and flipping techniques paid off for a lot of anglers but it seems the hefty winning stringers came from deeper venues this past weekend. Catfishing has held up well and dandy stringers continue to come in from anglers working rock banks. A lot of catfish have continued to roam into shallow bays too and that’s provided some nice thrills for bluegill and redear fishermen when they tie into some dandies with their light tackle rigs. Crappie anglers are still in the shadows of catfishing, bluegill and redear or bass fishing. The fish are in their typical post-spawn phase, which means somewhat scattered and suspended in a variety of depths. Not many crappie are relating to structure at the present time. A few long liners and spider riggers were finding low numbers of fish but those vertical fishing manmade beds in midrange depths were still reporting low numbers. If you want to tangle with some feisty panfish now is the time to do it. The show is underway but it won’t last forever. The sight of bobbers disappearing never goes out of style! The fish are doing their part and awaiting your arrival somewhere across Kentucky Lake.