Largemouth Bass Fishing
High Rock Lake has a well earned reputation as one of the best places in North Carolina to catch largemouth bass. The lake caught the attention of anglers nationwide back in the 1990s when it hosted the prestigious "Bass Master's Classic." Today High Rock still attracts a lot of tournaments. National, regional and local events bring pro and amateur fishermen from all across the country to try their luck and test their skills against the wary and brawny bass found here.
Some seasons of the year can be challenging and High Rock can also have varying lake levels, sometimes changing drastically during the course of a day. Be aware of bridge clearances and water flow so you can get back to the ramp.
Fall Fishing for Largemouth Bass
Bailey Hollingsworth grew up fishing on High Rock Lake. Today he is a bass fishing pro on the Phoenix Bass Fishing League Tour. He says fall is his favorite time of year to fish, especially on High Rock Lake. In the video below he takes out on a cool fall morning in search for bass. As you'll see, he knows what he's doing.
In this next video Bailey Hollingsworth shares his top four favorite fall baits he uses for largemouth bass on High Rock Lake.
Bill Frazier is the North Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Director and is the coach for the High Point University Bass Fishing Team. He has spent countless hours on the water and much of his life studying bass behavior. He knows where to find them and how to catch them. For many tournaments, including the big ones like the "Bass Master Classic" he works behind the scenes at weigh in making sure that the fish survive the tournament process and can be safely returned to the lake they came from.
Obviously he has literally rubbed elbows with some of the top pros but is a great fisherman in his own right. Here he'll share some of his thoughts on catching bass on High Rock Lake.
What follows are Bill's thoughts on what makes bass fishing on High Rock Lake Unique.
High Rock has many features and circumstances that allow one to classify it as a large lake. Conventional wisdom on the pro trail, where these guys travel all over the US in every kind of water imaginable, use simple logic to break a lake down into many smaller lakes. Then fish seasonal patterns and baits.
Considering what I just said, High Rock has the handicap of being a "local's lake" as well. You've seen the brushpiles local homeowners pile along the lakeshore - well, that is so every Huckleberry Finn can make their G14 Classified, Double Naught 7 "honeyhole" wherever they want. which sounds great on paper but it is infuriating what fishermen DO NOT know about fish and habitat yet think they are all experts.
You can have the best point with a dock on it in the world with gorgeous Christmas zip tied to every post but some guy takes a dump truck full of rose bush clippings and drops if off the same dock where your depthfinder can't see it and the dock is ruined. Local guys have seeded every inch with "their" favorite type of stuff for their favorite kind of fish species, and, unless you do a lot of homework with state of the art subsurface equipment, you are going to have trouble winning a local bass tournament there.
The third factor is current. The rule of thumb is if they are not running water to generate power, you go to the back of creeks. If they are running water, you fish the main channel features. High Rock is used for power generation but it is unique in that there is not a lake immediately upstream of it like Tuckertown, Badin and Tillery doing the same. So water High Rock tends to move one direction - out. In the other three, water can be going out, coming in or both. All three affect the activity level of the fish, where and how to find and catch them. It is a very specific science and you'd think it would be easier i High Rock but it isn't.
Bill Frazier says bass are the "Larry the Cable Guy" of the fish world. They're kind of lazy and don't like to get too far away from the fridge. He says the secret to catching them in the fall is know that they are on the move and the angler has to move with them. He says often that means running up the Yadkin River or up into many of the creeks that feed the lake. While many people are nervous about heading up into these areas, he says it's quite safe will pay off as long as you know where you are going. He relies on a Lowrance navigation system to keep his boat away from trouble.
Bill's Favorite Bait for Fall
He says his favorite fall bait is any sort of small baitfish imitator. Most High Rock Anglers swear by topwater lures like buzzbaits as long as the water stays warm. Ask anyone who fishes the lake regularly and they'll tell you that you can't go wrong with a spinner bait with a large Colorado Blade (silver is preferred) out front. Lipless crank baits are always a go to favorite.