As a tournament angler, I'm pressed with determining a game plan every time I show up at a new lake. A shortcut to finding a good bite is in knowing seasonal patterns of fish. This can help a fisherman predict a handful of baits and a general migration route that should locate fish quickly.
This week the fish should be moving farther out of the backs of channels and onto points near the mouths of these coves. This is a typical post-spawn migration that ultimately ends up in the main body of the lake.
Alamo - Fishing is fair. White and chartreuse spinnerbaits are catching some fish early. Flipping worms and lizards in heavy cover will produce during the day. Some crappie action has been reported.
Apache - Fishing is sporadic. Cruise flats with topwaters and jerkbaits to locate a pack of active smallmouth for the best action at this lake.
Bartlett - Fishing is fair. Try jerkbaits in submerged brush and artificial structure. Some crappie are being caught. Nighttime fishing is best.
Pleasant - Fishing is good. Soft jerkbaits and topwaters are working well. Some local anglers reported a good bite fishing Texas-rigged worms near spawning flats.
Roosevelt - Fishing is good. Topwaters and jerkbaits are working well in clear water. Spinnerbaits should produce in stained areas of the lake. Crappie fishing is fair. Look for salt cedars in five to ten feet of water.
Saguaro - Fishing is sporadic. Try fishing windy banks with a big jerkbait. This is a good lake for some monster bass this time of year.
San Carlos - Bass fishing is tough! At a tournament this weekend only five boats weighted in limits of bass. Try spinnerbaits and jerkbaits early or late in the day. Crappies are still biting well. Try near the mouth of the Gila River in 10-16 feet of water.
Cliff's Fishing Tip of the Week
Learning to fish a soft jerkbait can be frustrating for several reasons, unsuccessful hooksets, difficulty keeping the bait below the surface, and fish that follow but don't bite (which was covered in last week's tip).
If you have trouble hooking the fish, there could be a problem with the hook you're using. A regular round bend hook doesn't have enough space between the point and the back of the hook. Remember, the hook has to go completely through the jerkbait with enough distance to hook a fish. You need to use a large wide-gap hook like a Gamakatsu No. 3 or No. 5. Rig the bait weedless so that the point of the hook goes in the round side and comes out of the flat side of the jerkbait.
In order to keep the bait below the surface, you need to do something to weight the lure. A slip sinker or a split shot hinders the natural action of the bait. My recommendation is to insert a nail into the head of the bait. Cut a large galvanized nail into half-inch pieces. This is about the distance between the neck and the point of the hook. Make sure the nail doesn't change the silhouette of the lure and you should have a weighted jerkbait with plenty of action to fool a bass.
Clifford Pirch is the owner of Copper State Guide Services at (520) 978-3518.