I keep hearing about High Point Lake in Pennsylvania. This lake offers some exceptional PA largemouth bass fishing. This interview with Jake Fordyce discusses drop shotting techniques for catching High Point bass.
How long have you been fishing High Point Lake in Pennsylvania?
I have been fishing High Point for about 3 years. I actually do not get to fish it as often as I would like. I belong to a club, Chestnut Ridge Bassmen, a small bass tournament club out of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. The club makes an annual stop at High Point in mid to late summer.
What did you know about the lake before fishing it the first time ?
I was very excited when I first heard we were visiting the lake. I had done a lot of research and learned about the immense amount of vegetation and large bass it contains. At first I initially thought about punching gear, big jigs, topwater frogs, big rods and heavy line. Later I found this was not the best approach.
Now that you have fished it, how would you rank High Point Lake among Pennsylvania’s bass lakes?
I would definitely rank High Point in the top 10 lakes in Pennsylvania because of the quality of fish it offers. I would love to rank it higher but due to its small size and electric motor only restriction it really limits anglers to what they can fish. It also sometimes gets crowded.
When did you start drop shotting on the lake?
Honestly drop shotting is a technique I utilize in every body of water I fish. However, with this particular lake it excels. With the amount of vegetation located on the the soft sedimentary bottom, the dropshot technique allows your bait to stay above the muck and clutter allowing for a clean presentation where other techniques such as Texas rigs, Carolina rigs and jigs would constantly be getting fouled up.
Not fairing so well in practice fishing the shallow dense grass with heavy gear, I decided to ditch that and try something opposite. I had also read the lake supported smallmouth bass and decided to target deeper weeds and structure. Picking up a drop shot rig with a Roboworm, I hit the deeper areas of the lake and to my surprise I was catching decent numbers of quality Largemouth bass in the 1 1/2 to 3 pound range and the occasional larger fish in the 3 to 4, even up to 6 pound range.
You mentioned that the Lake has smallmouth bass. What is the breakdown of your catches on the drop shot between smallmouth and largemouth on High Point?
I still to this day have not caught a smallmouth and have only heard of a few being caught.
Is this a deep water only method for you or will you also throw a drop shot in shallow water?
Drop shotting is effective in all depths. Drop shotting is best of both worlds with a few adjustments in bait and weight selection. I call it “power finesse”.
What weights are you using for your drop shot on the lake?
I tend to use a heavier ball shaped weight, anywhere between 5/16-1/2oz. The style is just what I have on hand right now. With that said I believe a “pencil” or “skinny” style would come cleaner through the grass. The weight on the other hand is critical for making long cast and maintaining bottom contact.
Drop shot folks typically have their favorite hooks. What hooks are in your drop shot arsenal?
I use the open style hooks for open water and small thin baits. The EWG style is used in heavier cover and/or with larger bulkier baits. I want to choose the largest size hook I can without impeding the action and presentation of the bait.
What rod, reel and line combination is your favorite for High Point?
For my rod and reel set up, I use a 7′ Light X-fast Powell Max Drop Shot/Split Shot rod with a Mitchell 308 spinnning reel. I spool my rods with 10lb Fireline in fire orange color and use a 5 ft leader of 10lb Berkeley Vanish Pro Grade Fluoro. For High Point I up sized my leader from the normal 6 to 8lb test to 10lb due to the presence of larger fish and dense grass.
We also all have our favorite drop shot baits. What are your favorite baits and colors
This is a tough question because I literally have seen just about everything work on a drop shot rig. I personally use various types of worms, creature bait and even swimbaits. If I only could pick one it would be a 4.25 Roboworm.
As for color, I try to match colors of forage present in the particular lake and water clarity. For example in High Point there are large population of perch and bluegills and the water is particularly clear. In this case I would go with a bait that had some green pumpkin, maybe some translucent colors with purples, blues and copper tones.
Are you throwing the drop shot all year around or just certain seasons?
Drop shotting is definitely an all season technique. I basically adjust my presentation according to fish activity such as slower in colder water conditions. I will also slow down using short hops and subtle twitching.
As the water warms, the bait can be work much faster with high strokes of the rod only letting the bait settle for a few moments before continuing. Using this method allows you to cover a tremendous amount of water in a short amount of time, where the name power finesse fishing comes in.
High Point Lake is on my list of places to fish either this fall or next spring. Overall, what 5 pieces of advice do you have for me about my first time bass fishing on the lake?
1. High Point is an electric motor only lake.
2. The water in very clear and the fish are spooked easily.
3. High Point always seem to have a lot of wind.
4. You will loose a few rigs to pickerel
5. Most activity seems to be in the early part of the day or in low light conditions.
I love to drop shot. And High Point is not far away. So, drop shotting High Point Lake is something I need to do very soon. Thanks Jake for all of the great insight. Please check him out on Instagram @jakefordyce_fishing
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