It’s hot out there right now and being stuck on the side of a bank or even out in a boat can be pretty brutal. That’s why creek fishing is so appealing to many anglers in the summer. There’s typically a little shade and many of the small tributaries can be waded, so there’s the added comfort of the cool water to make for a refreshing day of fishing.
And for MONSTERBASS Ambassador Paul Glass, this style of fishing is right up his alley.
“I don’t want to say it’s my specialty,” said Glass. “But it is always my passion.”
For Glass, creek fishing is refreshing not only physically but also for the soul. It’s just a pure type of fishing, where he can head out on the water and step back in time. It’s a simple way to fish, it’s nostalgic and it’s the prefect reprieve from the summer heat.
“This is the best time of year to do it. In Michigan right now, river water is getting up there so it’s nice and warm. I just run a pair of wading shoes and take a sling pack with two or three bags of plastics and a box of jigs and just go and try to find them.”
These creeks where Glass is fishing are small, 25- feet wide most of the time. The water is typically pretty clear in his neck of the woods and the bass can spook really easily. So for Glass there are three keys to doing this well, especially when trying to target the bigger bass in any particular creek.
Where to Look
“If there’s a dam, start there. And then work your way up.”
Glass likes to start at these small dams and spillways because there’s “agitated water” and that’s where he said you’ll find the food sources the bass are keying on. And then he likes to work his way up the creek from there since that allows him to see the cover the way the fish do.
“I want to be able to see it from the fish’s perspective and I want to be able to cast it past where I think that fish is going to be. Cause that’s where they’re expecting the food to come from. They’re looking upriver.”
Looking for irregularities in the creek are important to Glass. He recommends that you focus on inlets, log jams and other current breaks. You may be able to find some of these by doing a little research ahead of time via satellite imaging. But often, the little key things that hold a good fish are so small that you’ve really just got to get out there and break a stretch of the creek down to get a feel for it.
“When I was learning how to fish, I would pick a creek and just pick it apart. I would hit this one mile stretch or this five mile stretch and just learn every little part of the creek.”
"If you walk past a fish, you are going to bump it. So keep your eyes peeled and fish every little spot that you think is going to have fish because you never know where a big one is going to be in that really tiny water.”
This means don’t pass up anything. A big fish could be sitting in a tiny patch of shade, tucked right up against a small rock or hanging right off the side of an isolated stick. One of the biggest keys to creek fishing is making the most of every opportunity, so Glass stresses that you don’t want to pass up anything.
“Don’t take any spot for granted. It’s okay to throw at everything, especially when you’re trying to learn a creek or find a big fish. And then take notes.”
By taking notes, Glass is referring to mental notes as to where you catch fish or even spook fish, so that you can return and try your luck again another day, better prepared for the battle.
“If you walk through a spot and bump a big fish, keep that spot in your mind. And then go back there the next week or two weeks later and there could vary well be another big fish hiding right there the next time you go.”
“When I’m in a creek, I’m probably not going to be taking gigantic jigs. I’m going to start on the small side, with non-threatening baits like tiny paddle tails, Ned rigs, maybe a dropshot.”
Starting small with his bait selection, Glass is able to determine which baits are getting bit by whatever size bass he happens to fish by. And then he’ll start to increase the size of that particular type of bait until he starts to weed out some of those smaller fish.
“So topwater, start with that little tiny Rebel Pop R and then maybe work your way up to the size 90 Whopper Plopper. Once you start to weed out some of those baby bites but you know they’re all chasing it, now you’ve dialed in the big fish pattern for that day.”
For Glass, the three keys to catching big fish while wading creeks are fairly simple. Pick a stretch and then really pick it apart. Fish upstream whenever possible and don’t overlook anything. A big fish could be lurking anywhere, and the moment you write off one little piece of cover is when you’ll typically spook a good one.
Then throw the small baits to start getting bites and work your way up from there to target the big ones. Most of all, have fun! Wading a creek is one of the purest ways left to fish and you can create some great memories doing it.
Paul's favorite baits: