Question: "I fish a lake where the water clarity is always stained. I have good success in the spring, through the early summer using a green pumpkin jerk bait, but I can't seem to figure them out fall, winter and mid summer. I fish off the bank, and there is chunk rock covered by a thick wire that goes out about 10' into the water. The max depth is about 8-10' deep. The lake has very little aquatic vegetation. Also, I use green braid, could that be the problem?" -Wes
Answer: What a question! Sometimes it is hard to evaluate a fishing situation and give advice without seeing the actual conditions, but I think with your detailed description I can help you out.
First off, it doesn't surprise me that you find much success during the spring, and early summer, since fishing rip-rap, or chunk rock, is a very common area to catch fish during this time. The reason for this is because rip-rap jettys usually are built to protect some type of bay, or marina, where fish can find shelter to spawn. Before, and after, they spawn, bass love to use rip-rap banks to transition back and forth from the bay to the main lake, which is why you have success during this time.
Now, it is certainly not surprising that fishing slows down for you in the hotter months, but you should be able to enjoy success during these times.
Since the water clarity is stained, one lure that immediately comes to mind is a Chatterbait. Since there is a "chicken-wire' type wire, or screen, that covers the bottom to reduce erosion, I wouldn't recommend too many bottom bouncing baits, because I know how frustrating that stuff can be! A Chatterbait is perfect because it offers lots of vibration, resembles sunfish, perch, or shad that hang around the rocks, and you can also cover all depth zones with it. If the water has a more milky brown color to it, I would recommend a white/chartreuse one, but if it is more of a root beer stain, I would recommend a bluegill type color. Pair either Chatterbait with a Z-Man DieZel MinnowZ as a trailer. Be sure to use 14-17lb Vicious 100% Fluorocarbon on bait casting equipment. I would start by paralleling the bank as much as you can, and then start making casts out to deeper water, adjusting your retrieval speed. This approach will work best when it is windy during the hotter months- especially if it is blowing right against the rocks.
The other technique that stands out in my mind for these conditions is a drop-shot. Since you have the wire covering the bottom, you might lose some weights, but a drop-shot is a good way to use a bottom bouncing bait, without losing the whole rig. You don't have to get too finessy with this rig, since the wear is so stained, but it is a great technique to present your baits under these conditions. I would recommend rigging your drop-shot with a 4/0 EWG-style hook, like a Lazer Trokar TK110, and texas-rig a stick bait, like a Z-man ZinkerZ, in a darker color. Since our main concern isn't finesse, you can use a heavier drop-shot weight, like 3/8oz, and 12-14lb Vicious 100% Fluorocarbon on a 7' medium-heavy action bait casting rod. A 10" leader will do just fine. You are going to want to cast as far as you can- preferably where the riprap wire stops, and then drag it back until you start getting stuck. Most of the fish are probably at that transition from mud, sand or gravel, into the rip rap.
As far as braid goes….there really is no reason to use braid in these conditions, and I think you'll get more bites with fluorocarbon.
Take these two techniques and give them a try, and let me know if it works. I have a feeling your catches are going to go way up!