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Prattville pro offers tips for warm weather

Although Prattville’s Russ Lane plies both his passion and his vocation on lakes all over the nation as a Bassmaster Elite Pro, Lane honed his skills on the rivers and lakes in Alabama.

Currently, in the middle of a month-long break between tournaments – the next event is the Empire Chase on Lake Erie at Buffalo, N.Y. – Lane mellows out during the break on the familiar waters that are near his central Alabama hometown. Lane mainly fishes lakes on three Alabama river systems – Tallapoosa, Tennessee and Coosa.

In the summertime, the Coosa chain of lakes – Weiss, Neely Henry, Logan Martin, Lay, Mitchell and Jordan – provides a different fishing opportunity and one of his favorites: deep cranking.

“Lake Jordan may be my favorite lake,” Lane said. “Most of the fish I catch on the Coosa lakes in the summer will be on a big crankbait. They’ll be 10-15 feet deep, and I catch them on a Fat Free Shad using 10- or 12-pound Vicious fluorocarbon line. That helps that bait get down. I catch most of my fish on a crankbait, but I will throw a football head jig or a 10- or 11-inch Texas-rigged worm.

“The Coosa lakes have a lot more humps with deep water all the way around instead of creek channels and river ledges. A rock or stump or just a hard place on one side of those humps is what will make a place good, where the fish will come up and feed.”

For those who have access to quality private lakes, Lane says the angler has to determine a goal before he or she ventures out into the lake. “If you want to have fun and get a lot of bites, then I would throw finesse worms and crawl little jigs or small shallow-running crankbaits,” he said.

“If you want to catch the biggest fish in the lake, you want to go to the deepest part of the lake…and fish a jig, Carolina-rig or a big crankbait.”

And when Lane is not in tournament mode, he tends to fish like the majority of anglers in the hot summer.

“I’ll fish the first few hours in the morning and then I’ll go back out for the last couple of hours before dark,” he said. “That’s when the fish are most active, and it gets hot in the middle of the day in Alabama.”