If you’re tired of putting up with hundreds of boats that nearly wash your boat to shore while you’re fishing, then head to the Red River in August. The boat traffic will be light, the water will be moving and the bass will be biting.At this time of year, my favorite section of the Red River is Lock and Dam Nos. 3, 4 and 5. In August, the bass start pulling out of the backwaters and moving into the main river because that’s where they’ll find the current, the moving water and the oxygen. I prefer to fish the jetties, the mounds of oxbows and the sandbars in August.
The bass will start relating to main-river structure, like riprap, wing dams and isolated laid-down trees, so they’ll be relatively easy to spot. You can catch good numbers of them.
In the morning, I’ll sight-fish with a 1/2-ounce double-willowleaf Strike King Premier Pro Model spinnerbait in the white-shad or smoking-shad colors, depending on water clarity. Normally, in August, the river begins to clear up with 1 to 2 feet of visibility. By this time, the red stain in the water from the spring rains (from which the river gets its name) is usually gone.
I’ll swim the spinnerbait fast to resemble a school of shad running through the water, and pop and stop it to trigger a reaction strike.
As the sun gets brighter, I’ll slow my retrieve. When the temperature reaches 100 degrees, I slow the spinnerbait and slow-roll it into the same visible structure. At this time of day, the bass will be searching for shade under logs and beside rocks.
Also, I look for current breaks, which bring cooler, more-oxygenated water and more baitfish, where bass will hold. Unless there’s a large amount of current in the Red River, the spinnerbait bite will stop as the sun becomes brighter and the water heats up.
If the current slows down, I switch to the crankbait. The Strike King Series 5 and 6 crankbaits have won more money in tournaments than any other baits on the market.
But on the river system, I favor Series 3 crankbaits, because generally at this time of year, the shad on the main river are smaller than they are on other parts of the river. The Series 3 crankbait still will catch a 4- or 5-pound bass, but it also will elicit strikes from smaller bass.
If the bass stop biting the crankbait, switch to the Carolina rig. I prefer to fish big baits on my Carolina rig during August, like a big lizard or Strike King’s 10-inch Iguana. Bass like to eat big baits in August. However, usually in August, so many fish are eager to bite in the Red River that I don’t have to resort to using the Carolina rig to catch them. I really don’t like to fish Carolina rigs.
August is a great time to flip a tube, like Strike King’s Coffee Tube, on either a 3/16- or a 3/8-ounce slip sinker, into the laydowns on the main river, especially when the current’s not moving.
My favorite color to fish in August is Sexy Shad, and depending on the water color, I’ll also fish lime and chartreuse. If the water’s slightly darker, I prefer a chartreuse crankbait. The cleaner the water, the more natural-shad color I’ll use.
I’ll be fishing my Series 3 crankbait on 12- to 14-pound-test Gamma Fluorocarbon line to get the crankbait to run 7-feet deep.
Generally on the river in August, the bass will be holding in water 7-feet-deep or less. If the bass are holding in shallow water, instead of changing the size of my crankbait, I’ll increase my line size from 12- to 14-pound-test, since I’ll be fishing around rocks and logs.
If I’m fishing a sandbar or if bass have pulled out into deeper water, I’ll use 12-pound-test line to get maximum performance out of my crankbait.
Fishing in August is easy and productive because the bass aren’t trying to trick you. They’ve got to be where they are, because that’s where the coolest water, the most oxygen and the most baitfish will be.
Current’s critical to catching numbers of big bass at the Red River in August. Even when no current comes through the lake, anytime the locks are open or closed, a small amount of current is created, and the fish will start to feed.
Often, a feeding period will occur just after daylight and from noon until 3 p.m. Also, between noon and 3 p.m., most fishermen will be dodging the heat, eating lunch and off the water, so there won’t be nearly as much competition for these bass like early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
The water temperature at the Red River in August can be 85 degrees in the morning, and by afternoon, the surface temperature may reach 91 to 92 degrees. The good news about hot-weather fishing is that the hotter the water gets, the faster the fish’s metabolism speeds up, causing the bass to feed more.
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