s the mercury near his home rarely dips below 80 this time of year, with 90s more the norm, Captain Karl Bunch has stayed busy with the red hot bassing of the Upper Chesapeake Bay. The bay’s grasses are thick, lush and green this time of year, and like most anglers Capt. Karl spends plenty of time frogging with his favorite Optimum Furbit and punching the mats with big weights and small soft plastics. But he said that anyone who puts his hard baits away right now is committing fishing suicide.
“We released the Rattlin’ Roumba at the perfect time,” he said. Has his brain gotten a little baked in the hot Maryland sun? Hardly. He’s probing the outer grass edges on the Upper Bay and its tributaries with the hottest wake bait on the market.
“I’m looking for eelgrass mixed with hydrilla and milfoil,” he continued. “It’s like a nice umbrella for the bass to cool down under. You want to run that bait down the edges as close to the grass without getting caught in it. That outside edge is closer to deep water and on a lower tide that’s where they’re more comfortable.”
The results have been nothing less than remarkable. As others have complained about tough fishing, Capt. Karl and his clients have caught, photographed and released a parade of 4-, 5- and 6-pounders.
He retrieves the lure on the surface, “just fast enough to make a nice steady wake.” How does he know when it’s time to go to this presentation? Typically it’s when he starts getting a lot of short strikes on the frog. “They have the heart but they don’t have the energy,” he said.
When it’s comparatively clear, he’ll start with Blue Shad, but if there’s a bit of run-off he can’t wait to throw out his special “Double Cheeseburger,” which resembles a bluegill or yellow perch. “That produces by far the most and biggest fish,” he said. When he wants to create even more ruckus, he’ll add a hitchhiker and a Double Diamond swimbait to the rear hook hanger.
On days when you could fry an egg on the sidewalk, when just a trip to the mailbox requires two Gatorades, it’s easy to stay inside in the air-conditioned comfort of home. But just because you and the fish are lethargic doesn’t mean that you can’t fool them into biting. Pack up some cold drinks, a lot of sunscreen and some key IMA baits and head to the water — there will be time for comfort, and fish stories, later on.