When August rolls around, most of the fish in large reservoirs have moved away from the bank, but there are always some remaining in shallow water. On northern rivers and lakes, some of the best shallow water flipping is during this time of year.
One bait that is good for both scenarios is the Culprit Incredi-Craw.
Offshore on large reservoirs, bass have fully recovered from the spawn and moved out to creek channels, river ledges and other offshore structure. This is the time when they are often the biggest and most plentiful. Finding them has become easier with good mapping software on GPS and side imaging depth finders. Teasing them to bite, however, never changes. You still have to figure out how to trigger them.
I have found the Incredi-Craw in both the 3.5- and 4.5-inch sizes on a 3/4-oz. Eco Pro tungsten swing head to be a great addition to my offshore arsenal. First off, big worms and crankbaits dominate offshore, but sometimes you need to mix things up in terms of action and profile to trigger the fish to bite. The Incredi-Craw has a deadly combination of thick profile and subtle action. I often trim off the curly legs on the back especially around smallmouth bass. I normally leave them on at first for largemouth then adjust as the day goes on.
Paired with the swing head jig, the Incredi-Craw is a bait that moves freely, simulating feeding or fleeing on the bottom. The tungsten head with its smaller profile is key. And with the heavy weight, it sinks faster and allows you to set the hook better than traditional lead.
I fish this on a 7-ft. 3-inch heavy-action Falcon rod and 14-lb. Yo-Zuri Top Knot Fluorocarbon.
For shallow water on rivers and weedy natural lakes, lakes with abundant shallow cover, and big bluegill populations, most bass will stay shallow even in July. I love to fish shallow and the Incredi-Craw is my go-to bait. Its thick profile holds wide gap hooks well and attracts larger fish.
In rivers, pitch the Incredi-Craw to any heavy cover. I most often use a 1/2-oz. Eco-Pro tungsten weight pegged with a bobber stopper around wood cover for faster falls in warmer water. But if the water is muddy, it may be best to lighten up a little to help them locate it.
On natural lakes up north or any lake with vegetation, bass will often be near the outer edges and points of weeds and shoreline vegetation. Pitch the Incredi-Craw to all likely ambush points and be prepared for fast, aggressive strikes. If the weeds are matted, go heavy with braid and up to a 1.5-oz. tungsten weight to penetrate the weeds. Pitch a few feet into the mats or to anything different. Just pitching around edges and logs on big flats with a 1/2-oz. weight works well too.
Always mix up the 3.5- and 4.5-inch to see which size they prefer. As a general rule, the more fishing pressure, the clearer the water, or if fishing during a cold front, the smaller you go. But fish don’t read the rules so experiment with size on any given day.
Fish the 3.5-inch with a 4/0 wide gap hook and the 4.5-inch with a 5/0 wide gap hook. Fish both on a heavy action 7- to 8-ft. rod and set the hook hard.
This August, bring the heat — the Culprit Incredi-Craw.