The river’s settled down. Things are getting back to normal. That means a solid, early morning June topwater bite. Most experienced river anglers carry these three baits with them as they launch in the early morning light.
1. A small, quarter-ounce popper
This is the first choice of nearly every angler. You can work it slow and easy, or fast and furious. Most anglers start slow and then work their way up until they’re splashing water everywhere trying to imitate a fleeing shad.
Throw it on monofilament or braided line. Avoid fluorocarbon. It’ll pull the nose of your popper down and ruin its action.
Color is largely a matter of personal preference. The most common choices are natural shad hues and solid black.
2. A standard size Zara Spook
No lure on the planet has caught more big bass than a spook. Walk it back to the boat. Change speeds and stop it occasionally only if a slow and steady retrieve isn’t working.
Color doesn’t matter so long as the belly is white with a touch of blue. It’s a rare situation in the Ohio River when a bass can see the back of the lure.
Don’t expect a lot of bites on a spook. It’s not a quantity fish bait. It’s a quality fish bait. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to spool-up with braid.
3. A buzzbait
There are squeakers and there are clackers. Some anglers swear by one and curse the other. Maybe it matters; maybe it doesn’t. Make your own choice.
The important thing here is to fish your buzzbait back in the heaviest, thickest stuff you can find. Always use braid, nothing else will handle the abuse.
This is a reaction bait. Color is not a very important consideration. That said, nearly every successful buzzbait anglers throws white, white and chartreuse or black. Most go with a single blade.
Fish any of these lures around creek mouths, cuts, backwater areas and anywhere you can find an inflow into the main river. And never think the water’s too shallow to hold a bass. It isn’t.