With scorching summer temperatures of well over 100 degrees during much of the day, the desert lakes attract a much smaller crowd of bass fishermen.
The comfortable window of opportunity for anglers willing to wet a line occurs before the Arizona sun climbs above the Sierra Anchas or late in the afternoon when it slides below Four Peaks.
At both times of the day in the reduced light, the bass tend to feed more aggressively as they leave the deep structure of cooler water and come to the surface and feed on schools of cruising shad and other bait fish.
I prefer the early morning bite because the air temperature has had a chance to cool considerably with 8 or 9 hours of darkness on a massive body of water such as Roosevelt Lake.
It does require a 3:30 a.m. wake up call to be on the water at first light in order to take advantage of the perfect conditions to be fishing by first light.
It is all worth it when the first bass thrashes that topwater lure and the fight is on!
The reduced light prior to sunrise has created a good surface bite in specific areas where the bass are feeding on small baitfish.
These wolf pack schools of bass can create a feeding frenzy anywhere on the lake especially in the shallows at the back of a cove where the shad are trapped from any escape route — although this topwater feeding frenzy can happen anywhere, even in the middle of the lake.
The surface can actually boil with activity and this is the time to throw a surface plug into the melee and expect a quick reactionary strike from a hungry bass.
If you miss the frenzy and all goes quiet, wait a few minutes and chances are very good it will resume somewhere close by when the baitfish are trapped again.
Most of the bass in these large schools are in the 1- to 2-pound range and may strike and miss the bait and another may quickly hit it again. It is not uncommon to have a fish miss the bait when setting the hook and have a small missile with treble hooks flying by you in the boat.
Topwater fishing is a bit unnerving, but certainly exciting as a largemouth comes from the depths to explode on the surface chasing an artificial bait.
The most productive topwater baits for Roosevelt Lake during the summer monsoon season are a Zara Spook, Pop-R, Rico’s, Gunfish or Sami by Luckycraft, and Buzzbaits. Of course, these baits may work at any time during the year providing there is a topwater bite.
The price range will vary to fit everyone’s budget from the least expensive Zara Spook costing $5 to a quality Rico with a price tag of $24.
Being a recreational angler, I prefer a clear Zara Spook that provides plenty of action when the fish are biting.
A number of successful local tournament anglers all have a preference because they have probably caught a big bass on a specific bait which may have won them a championship or a big paycheck. I asked the question of preference and received a number of different answers.
John Browning and Glenda O’Donnell both use Ricos in a clear or bone color, while Mark Kile and Bobby O’Donnell prefer Buzzbaits, and Tracy Purtee likes the Sami in shad color by Luckycraft.
It is obvious that a variety of topwater baits can be used with confidence.
Getting out of bed two hours before light and making the trip to Roosevelt can pay big dividends in cashing in on an excellent topwater bite. The air temperature is perfect, the tranquility of Roosevelt Lake is hard to beat, and watching the sunrise over the mountains is nothing less than spectacular for the angler who is willing to set the alarm for 3:30 a.m.
By the way, the fish are biting.
This weekend take a friend fishing and enjoy God’s creation.