Even when anglers like FLW pro Tyler Stewart and BASS pro Brett Preuett get a few days off from the the grind of competitive fishing and come home to the Monroe area, guess what? They still have fishing on their minds.
On the pro trail, they focus on big fish. So when they have a “play day” on the lake, they turn their attention to nearby Caney Lake near Jonesboro and the lake doesn’t disappoint right now. They just had such a day on the lake and came up with some really good catches, like other anglers are also doing right now. The duo caught an eight plus and a nine plus largemouth on the same morning trip, plus several other nice sized fish.
“The big fish are biting,” Stewart says. “The best times to go for the big ones are early and late. In fact, the earlier in the morning you get there and the later in the evening you can stay, the better. The bite is definitely early and late.”
The big fish are staying tight in the brush piles on up in the day. You can still catch them occasionally, but they are active early and late in the near 100-degree temperatures we are having right now. Tyler says that is because the shad are also moving around more early and late.
“We’ve been catching them suspended around the standing timber where the schools of shad are hanging out,” he said. “The best baits for the big ones seem to be spoons right now. Not a lot of people around here fish spoons, but the 6th Sense Crush flutter spoon in the regular silver finish has been really good for me.”
The bigger fish are in deeper water, mostly around 17-20 feet deep right now. The fish suspend at different depths, but your best bet is about five to seven feet off the bottom. Electronics are key right now, Tyler says.
“What we do is just idle around areas that we think will hold fish and when we see them on the graph, we’ll stop and either cast out the back or turn around a fish where we see them,” he says. “I wouldn’t fish anywhere that I don’t see fish on the graph. We tried a few spots where I had caught fish, especially around brush piles, but we didn’t catch them unless we saw them.”
Tyler’s technique for fishing the spoon right now is to let it sink to the bottom, reel it up to the depth you are seeing fish and then ripping the spoon up and down. They usually hit it on the fall.
When the big fish sink back down into the tops or other structure, a big plastic worm will work. Tyler’s pick there is a V&M 10 ½-inch J-mag worm. His top pick is the redbud color, but the suggests you fish whatever color you have the most confidence in. Don’t go much smaller. The big fish like big baits.
He recommends fishing the big worm Texas style and getting it deep into the brush as possible. It means using tough line and being ready to work to get them out of that cover when they do bite.
Where should you look for the big ones?
“Well, unfortunately they are moving around a lot,” he says. “They may be in one spot one day and another the next. That’s why electronics are key. The reason they are moving without much of a pattern is that the baitfish are doing the same thing.”
He does recommend starting your search in deeper water, near stumps or tops that are close to bends in creeks or off the lake’s many points. The fish will be somewhere in those areas. They don’t seem to be in the grass yet, but that will be coming when a little cooler weather gets here.