Gregg Flores loves fishing high country freestone rivers and alpine lakes but also enjoys New Mexico’s larger waters like the Rio Grande, Rio Chama and San Juan.
When asked about his favorite flies, Flores, of Albuquerque, says:
“Two flies I never go without during the summer months are the Red Copper John (nymph) and the Stimulator (dry fly). These two flies do a great job at imitating a range of bugs and can attract trout, regardless of what’s hatching. When you fish the Stimulator, make sure it is actually floating. A sinking dry fly decreases your chance of success dramatically.
“Dry fly floatant will help with that. The Copper John is meant to be fished sub-surface and you should fish it at different depths in the water column before you decide it is not working. Try a size 16 to start. Happy fishing!”
Once bass are done spawning, they are actively feeding on bait fish, shad and crawdads. Various lures imitate these prey items and can be effective during the hot summer months.
Ben Newton’s top three favorite techniques for fishing summer bass are: top water, wacky rig and drop-shot.
Ben usually fishes 5 to 12-feet of water on main lake flats or points that have submerged wood cover. You can cover these depths efficiently using these techniques:
There is a wide variety of surface lures out there, but Ben’s favorite is the River2Sea Whopper Plopper. It can be retrieved at various speeds and can be paused or twitched.
However, Ben prefers a moderate-paced retrieve, and he seldom pauses while reeling it in. Although the Whopper Plopper is often thought to be a lure for shallow water, it can also be deadly effective during late summer and early fall when fished on main lake bluff points over water as deep as 25-feet.
Wacky Rig – This is a simple and amazingly effective technique for catching summer bass. Depending on the targeted depth (more weight for deeper water), Ben uses a 1/8 to 1/4-ounce Wack-E-Head Jig. He then center hooks it through a 4-inch Berkley General Stick bait, a Max Scent 4-inch Hit Worm or a 4-inch Wacky Stick bait.
Ben casts out his Wacky rig and lets it sink to the bottom.
After the bait reaches the bottom, he says that you give it a slight shake and let it set for a few seconds. Then you move it about a foot and repeat the shake and pause.
The most important thing to remember about this technique is that you cannot fish it too slow. Be patient— finesse fishing is often done with subtle movements.
This is Ben’s go-to technique when the water surface temperature gets warm and the bass move deeper out onto main lake points, drop-offs and flats.
He uses a #1 or #1/0 finesse hook tied, using a Palomar Knot, about 12-to-18-inches from the end of the fishing line.
He then attaches a 1/4-ounce finesse drop-shot weight to the end of the line.
Two of his favorite baits to rig onto the hook are the Berkley Flat Nose Minnow and the Berkley 4-inch Flat Worm. Most people think drop-shotting is only a deep-water technique, but Ben will often cast it into shallow water and slowly work it towards deeper water.
Much like wacky rig fishing the retrieve is slow with pauses and slight shakes as it moves.
Whether you are just beginning to get into finesse fishing for bass, or just want to sharpen your skills, finesse fishing is a handy tool to add to your tackle box.
Ben advises, “hit the lake early, slow down and make ‘em bite.”
Rhonda Davis’s Salsa Trout Recipe
Rhonda, of Farmington, loves all fishing, but river fishing is her favorite.
Here is her simple trout recipe:
1. Clean and prep the trout, removing all entrails.
2. Lay the fish on a sheet of tin foil large enough to completely wrap the fish enclosed in tin foil.
3. Add enough Sadie’s Salsa to fill the fish cavity but not so much that it spills out when you close the fish back up.
4. Wrap the fish in the tinfoil and cook on hot campfire griddle until done. This may take 5 to 10 minutes depending on heat and preference.
5. The fish meat should be flaky when cooked.
6. Carefully use a fork to comb through the rib bones, removing meat from bone.