The trees are blooming flowers are growing and the Bass are gorging themselves. Preparing for the rigors of the upcoming spawning. Every year as the water starts to thaw and warm up out of the 30/40s and reaches into the upper 50s the bass’s need for energy to get through the spawn. Their metabolism starts to increase in which their need for food increases.
For the bass, this period of time is critical for them. Without enough food and energy, the stress they endure during the spawn will probably lead to their death. This is the reason they need all the food they can wrap their lips on. For the bass, this time of the year forage is readily available for them. The crayfish are out, and many baitfish are spawning making them easy meals giving the bass ample opportunity to fatten up and be ready for the spawn. So what does this all mean to the average fisherman? This means it gives us the best chances at not only catching numerous fish but also catching the biggest ones of our careers.
So how do we do this you ask…well it starts with location. These fish are going to start working their way out of their deep water haunts and moving into spawning areas. These areas are usually shallow hard bottom areas with some available cover like wood and grass for some cover. And these are the areas that the crawfish and baitfish are utilizing also, so knowing this, use Baits that imitate these food sources.
Some examples of these would be square bill crank baits.These are shallow water cranks in which imitate crank fish and small baitfish. One of my favorite Baits are made by Forage Lures. They make custom painted Lures in which imitate the bass’s food closely.
One of my favorites is the 1.5 in the red craw pattern and the fried green tomato pattern. These colors imitate the spring crawfish colors pretty closely. I fish these in shallow water around gravel bottoms and in grass that is just starting to come up. One of my favorite ways to fish these is by ticking the grass. I reel the 1.5 or 2.5 down to the grass and try to keep it at that depth snatching the bait out of the grass whenever it hangs up triggering the bass to strike it out of instinct. During a recent practice and tournament I had 2 bass eat my 1.5 that already had bait in their mouths. One had a tail barely visible in its throat and the other actually had a small baitfish still in its mouth still alive. This shows you how hungry these fish are, and how a bass can be triggered into striking at this time of the year.
Another favorite bait at this time of year he Year is Forage Baits- Bad Vibe. Again I like these in the red craw and the fried green tomato pattern. I fish these 2 ways. One I fish it pretty much the same way I do the 1.5 by slowly reeling until it gets hung in the grass, and the snatch it out triggering strikes. Another way is to yo yo the Bad Vibe. I do this by casting the bait out and letting it sink to the bottom and then lifting the rod tip up at a certain speed and then letting the bait sink to the bottom again until ol big girl slurps the Bad Vibe in. What speed do you do this technique at, well you let the fish tell you. Sometimes it takes a short quick snap of the rod, and other times it’s long sweeping of the rod tip. You have to vary your retrieve until the fish let you know what they want.
I throw both of these Baits with the 7foot 1 inch medium action Kistler rod KLX Feel N Reel paired with the Ardent Apex Grand in 7:3:1 with Seaguar 15 lb Abrazex. This set up has the speed to keep that bait moving, and catch up that slack line after a sharp grass ripping snatch and also has the forgiveness to keep those big girls hooked on small treble hooks while they’re digging to get away.So know you know a couple patterns to try go out there while these fish are eating and enjoy some of the best action you will have all year.