September 21, 2017

Card's Catch - Three Late Summer Largemouth Tactics

By Brandon Card

It’s that time of year again; time to head shallow for largemouth. Shad start to move shallow in late summer and the big bass will be right behind them. There are three ways that always seem to produce for me this time of year; fishing docks, flipping laydowns and fishing a topwater near grass. Let’s flesh these out.

Dock Fishing

This is a great way to find late summer largemouth, but not just any dock will do. I like to focus on the deeper docks that are closer to the main lake and not the ones that are way back in a creek.

There are several different baits that will work when fishing deeper docks, but I like to skip a ChatterBait with Yamamoto Zako as a trailer. This combo is really easy to skip and the best colors for me are anything that resembles a shad. You also can’t forget the best dock skipping bait on the planet, a wacky-rigged Senko.


Different types of docks require different approaches in my opinion. For the floating docks I like to get the bait as close as I can to the floats and for the standing docks with pilings, I try to get as close to the pilings as possible and even try to bang the lure into the pilings for a reaction bite.


Another one of my favorite ways to target largemouth this time of year is by flipping and pitching wood. Since many lakes draw down this time of year, finding wood with enough water around them can be a challenge. The positive to finding wood when there isn’t much left in the water means it is almost a guarantee that a bass will be there. When there are only a few pieces of wood left, you can almost call your shot and catch one every time.

Usually, this approach is best when you run up the lake to the river. These areas usually have much more cover in the water and dingy water that sets up perfectly for pitching and flipping.

When it comes to baits to use, there are several that will work, but my favorite is a ¾ oz. jig with a 5” Yamamoto Double Tail as a trailer. I really like the double tail because it can imitate a shad, bluegill or crawfish just by changing the color you use. It also helps slow the fall of that big jig.

Grass Fishing

The final technique that I like this time of year is fishing grass with a topwater frog or walking bait along the grass line. The thing about fishing grass is that you usually need to work quickly until you find active fish. There may be miles of grass and the fish are grouped up in small areas.

Once you find some fish, a good approach is to slow down and pick apart the area. I like to use a Texas-rigged Senko with no weight and cast into the holes in the grass. The D-Shad is another great bait and it has the same great fall as the Senko as it shimmies down. You can fish it like this or twitch it over scattered grass. There really isn’t a wrong way to fish it.

I like to key on main lake grass or grass that is right at the mouth of a creek. Hydrilla and milfoil are usually both good this time of year, but as it moves to later in the year the bass seem to prefer one over the other and it sometimes takes some searching to find the right type of grass.

Late summer is one of my favorite times of year to fish for largemouth. They are often in predictable locations, grouped up and hungry which can lead to some great days on the water.

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August 23, 2017

Card's Catch - Chasing Northern Largemouth

Each year on the Bassmaster Elite Series we travel to some of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in the world. This year we went to the St. Lawrence River and Lake Champlain. Both have excellent smallmouth fishing and I love going to those places, but maybe not for the reasons you would expect, I like to chase northern largemouth. These waters are excellent for largemouth and they often receive far less pressure than the smallmouth. I have had success and failure this year chasing the green fish, but it is how I like to fish when I head north.

Getting Away from the Crowd

I try to avoid fishing around others whenever possible. Some of my best tournaments were when I found those out of the way areas that others missed and I was lucky enough to have them all to myself. It is pretty easy to find largemouth areas to yourself when fishing the St. Lawrence, but it is a little more difficult at Champlain because more anglers are targeting largemouth.  It is also easier to challenge for the win at Champlain with just largemouth, but there is still a slight chance it could happen on the St. Lawrence.

Targeting only largemouth this year worked for me at the St. Lawrence event, as I finished in the top 20. I underestimated just how big and fat the smallmouth were this year, though. I averaged around 19-pounds a day and finished in 20th place. The last time we were there I finished 4th and averaged less than that. It was a great year for big smallies.

The area I found on the St. Lawrence was out of the way and a long way from the ramp, just how I like it. I had found several areas on Google Earth. I was looking for backwaters, creeks, and bays and anywhere else that would hold largemouth. I counted on finding grassy areas to throw a frog and punch like I did the last trip there, but instead wood was key. I was skipping a Senko deep under the branches and also flipping and pitching the wood.

Staying Put

I was fortunate that this area had enough fish for me for all three days. It was a long way away from the ramp and if I had to run 30-50 miles to another spot, I would have been too spread out. I was able to focus on just that area and fish it for the day.

Lake Champlain is different and is more known for largemouth as there is much more attention and pressure for them. I practiced in Ticonderoga, an area known for big largemouth and for winning tournaments. I spread myself out too much and would find small stretches that were productive and then have to run five miles to another small stretch of good water.


The wind also factored into it as it messed up some of my best water. I was able to gain some decent points and I finished 58th. Not the best finish, but it could have been worse.

The biggest lesson I have learned from targeting largemouth in a smallmouth dominant region is to find as many areas as you can close to one another. These waters are very big and it is not practical to run back and forth to different spots. One thing about largemouth in northern areas is that a lot of times the best habitat for them is limited and running from spot to spot doesn’t always work. That is true if you are in a tournament or just out for fun. You’ll often waste a lot of time and gas. It also helps sometimes to go against the grain and find areas others might overlook.

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August 19, 2017

Card sets date for 2nd college/H.S. event

The 2nd annual Brandon Card College & High School Bass Open will take place on Norris Lake, 50 miles north of Knoxville, Tenn., on Dec. 2. The event has a unique format, as it will be two tournaments in one – college and high school anglers compete only against other teams in their own division.

The two divisions will be competing for separate trophies, payouts, and prizes. The 1st-place collegiate team will win $2,500 and the top high school team will walk away with $1,500. Card said the goal is to attract a field of more than 100 boats.

“Last year was a huge success for the first year," he said. "We had a great turnout and we were able to hook the anglers up. My primary goal for the event was to give as much back to the college and high school anglers as we could. I think we achieved that goal by giving out over $15,000 in cash and prizes.

Presenting sponsors of the event are Campbell County Chamber of Commerce and Suzuki Marine. Associate sponsors include Yo-Zuri, Fishsens Technology, Bass Cat Boats, Abu Garcia, Lowrance, Empire Covers, Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, Bob's Machine Shop, Ab Card Construction, Twin Cove Marine, Coal Creek Smokehouse BBQ, Bass Pro Shops, Fish Head,and Dixie Roofing.

For more information, visit Card's Facebook page or email