Dave Miller’s May 2024 Monthly Recap

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Dave Miller’s May 2024 Recap

What’s up fishing fans! So I’ve decided to do a write up, call it my editorial debut if you’d like. All in all I was thinking of ways to provide you, the fans, real live fishing experiences without it sounding like a never ending commercial. So I decided on a monthly recap with techniques and patterns that worked for me. My goal here is to help the blue collar guys who work crazy hours, raising a family, etc. make the most of the little time they do have on the water. Also so you as a dad can take your kids fishing with confidence so they’ll have memorable moments that will last their lifetime. Since these monthly recaps will be after the fact it may not apply to you now at this moment or to your area. Going forward though, this information will live forever on the web where you can access it for years to come. Let’s get this party started!

Throughout the month of May and into early June, I spent 21 days on tidal fisheries. This includes both practice and tournament days on the Connecticut River in CT and the Potomac River in MD/VA. Although the tidal swings between the 2 are vastly different the fishing is very similar.

Spawning season.

With timing of the spawning season in May, I was able to fish for both pre and post spawners. In both cases I found my most consistent bites for Largemouth to be in creeks closer to brackish segments of the main rivers. I’m going to put this bluntly, I’m not a finesse guy. I’m an old school power fisherman who will chuck and wind till my arms fall off. So as far as I’m concerned, leave the spinning rods at home, unless your kids are under 10.

First let’s talk areas.

Not everyone has access to a boat or the funds for a guide. Creek arms on rivers typically have either a ramp or marina near the mouth/entrance of the creek. As long as the areas are not private property it’s fair game as far as I’m concerned. Keep in mind Bass will spawn all through out creeks not just under docks of the river front properties, or all the way deep in the back. I’ve seen beds everywhere. In my opinion focusing on the Bass near the mouth gives you the most opportunity as these areas are typically deeper which will allow you more time to fish the tide in productive water. If there’s enough depth for large boats to moor or dock then there’s enough depth for big bass. These areas are highly productive since baitfish congregate through the weed beds near the mouths of the creeks. With an abundance of forage and deeper water close by, bass love to call these areas home. Since tidal water is fairly turbid seek out areas where vegetation is typically visible from the surface at low tide. Milfoil and Hydrilla are natures water filter so in these areas you’ll typically have better water clarity. This provides cover for baitfish which helps allow bass to use sight to hunt. Bass will also spawn heavily around these areas. 

Your targeting approach is fairly simple. 

While the weeds are low, cover the entire area with casts. As the weeds grow, focus on targeting the inner and outer edges of the weeds. There will be sparse grass towards the channel. These areas can also be productive especially while bass are schooling. Any wood you see including logs, lay downs, dock pilings, beaver dams, etc. will typically hold bass and create coverage areas for beds. 

When to fish.

I would like to think if you’re going fishing it’s probably going to be for several hours. I suggest to start fishing 2-3 hours before high tide and throughout the outgoing tide. 

Next let’s talk baits.

Lipless crankbait. 

I typically start with a 1/2oz then move up or down depending on the situation. I have 2 schools of thought here, imitate bait or just loud color. When imitating bait fish use colors like chrome when you have bright sunny days and white on days that are overcast. But let’s say the weeds aren’t really showing yet so the water is stained and you want to see if the bass are around staging to spawn. Use loud bright colors like chartreuse or bright red. Retrieval you want this bait cooking. Personally I’ve never had luck slow rolling or yo-yoing from the bottom. Burning this bait fast and ripping it violently out of anything it catches on generates reactions strikes from bass. Be cautious ripping it from grass close to the boat or bank as it may come flying back at you with sticky trebles and could end your day on the water. When the weeds get too thick to effectively throw this bait is usually when I’ll put it away for the season. Recommended equipment: 7’3” Medium Heavy Mod-Fast rod, 7.1:1 speed reel, 15lb fluorocarbon.

Bladed Jig aka Chatterbait.

3/8oz with a swimbait style trailer is a fish catcher for sure. I keep this simple, 3 colors. Black and Blue, Green Pumpkin, and White. With this bait I believe your imitating crayfish more than your imitating bait fish. Feel free to mix and match trailers and experiment on your home waters. Vary your retrieve speed based on water temp. If the water is very cold you’re going to want to slow roll this bait. Creep it along the bottom or nick the tops of the grass. As the water warms up throughout the month feel free to speed things up. A good indication to move it faster would be if you’re seeing bait swimming quickly around weed beds and docks. If your local tackle shop doesn’t have bladed jigs in stock another good option will be a Spinner Bait with double willow leafs. White or white with chartreuse in 1/2oz is typically all you’d need. Blades I like to keep it gold and nickel, you don’t need to over think this. Recommended equipment: 7’3” Heavy fast action rod, 7.1:1 speed reel, 20lb fluorocarbon.

Walking Bait.

This is my gold standard search bait for river systems. I typically stick with white regardless of conditions and go with a larger size than most would use this time of year, 115-135mm length. There’s a lot of large bait fish left over from the prior year. So my school of thought is to imitate those as a sick or dying easy meal for bass. Using one with a louder than average knocker will also pull those deeper fish you wouldn’t normally be targeting with top water. As far as retrieve goes experiment with the cadence. Get creative and experiement on a 1-1-1 or 3-1-3 type pattern. Let the fish tell you what they like. Recommended equipment: 7’3” Medium Heavy Fast Action Rod, 8.1:1 speed reel, 50lb braid with a 20lb mono leader.

Well there ya have it guys. Now it’s time for you to get out on the water and start catching some big ones! Be sure to check out www.davemillerfishing.com to follow me on the tournament trails or to inquire for guide services. See you guys here again next month for the month of June recap. Lastly, shoutout to The Bass Cast for giving me the platform to give this blog a home.

Tight Lines!

– Dave