Day on the lake: David Mullins

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All photos Don Wirth

A crazy spring can make for unpredictable early summer fishing. Unseasonably cool temps can modify traditional bass movements. Just because it’s June doesn’t mean bass have moved offshore. Remember, fish don’t use calendars. Elite Series pro David Mullins proves this idea and puts an exclamation point on it with his shallow-water success during his seven-hour test to find and locate fish on a lake he’s never set eyes on before.

If you have struggled to put together a pattern this month, take good notes. Bait selection, depth range and a variety of cover and structure will hold bass. Like Mullins, keep an open mind and your livewell may overflow.

6:29 a.m. Lake R is dead calm when we pull into its deserted launch ramp. Mullins, fresh from his victory at the 2016 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Southern Open tournament on Douglas Lake, Tennessee (his home waters), preps the Triton for launching. “I finished second at two previous Southern Opens on Douglas, so it was sweet to finally win one!” he says. “I caught all my bass on deep offshore structure, and I’m curious to see if the fish here will be on a similar pattern. This region has had an unusual spring; it stayed cool for a long time, suddenly got real hot, then cooled off again. The fish here might not be set up on their summer pattern like they were at Douglas.” 

7 HOURS LEFT

6:40 a.m. We launch the Triton. Mullins evaluates the water. “It’s 80 degrees with just enough stain so you could fish anything from a jig to a jerkbait. I’m seeing shad breaking the surface everywhere, which is a good sign. I want to try some topwater first thing, then I’ll idle around and see if I can spot anything interesting offshore with my electronics.”