It is mid to late April and this has been a very unseasonably warm spring. So the bass are slightly ahead of where they would normally be in the spawning cycle.
The Bassmaster Elites just finished up a tournament on Toledo Bend and the weights weren’t near what people thought they would be. Why is that? The water is lower than last year and had much less visible grass. But, the pros caught prespawn and postspawn fish from the north to the south end of the lake.
So, for me at this time of the year, I want to put myself in a position to catch pre-spawn fish as well a post-spawn fish.
Bass will use certain areas like a gas station on the side of an interstate. I will locate these areas that will have bass coming and going on a daily basis. Did you hear Steve Kennedy at the BASS Classic say that he had fish “coming to him”? It essentially means there will be a constant exchange of bass in that area.
Where are these areas? Good question!! I will try to find a creek or ditch that leads into a spawning cove or flat. Now, look for the 1st grass or deepest grass coming out of the creek. Bass will use this like an E-Z Mart to feed up before spawning and as well as to feed up after spawning.
You can see from the pic, me and a friend’s son named Jerrin caught these 2 nice Lake Fork bass in the same spot. My bass has a big swollen pre-spawn belly and Jerrin’s had a post-spawn bloody jagged tail and sunken in belly. Both of these fish came off the same style bait in the same spot.
I like to appeal to these bass in these high-octane areas with a few different lures.
#1 Small- Mid Size Swimbait. I like to use a Sixth Sense five-inch hollow body or a 4.8” Kietech with a belly weighted hook. I will let this bait hit bottom and slowly reel it back. I mean.. S.L.O.W. and don’t set the hook until your rod loads up. NOT when you feel the “tick”, or you will miss a lot of bites.
#2 Swim Jig- I like to throw a Santone Chris McCalls Rayburn Swim Jig. My go to size is the 5/16 ounce and I use 3 basic colors. Bass Candy, Pakes Perch and Mexican Heather. I will use a small trailer and dip the tails in ISPIKE it dipping dye 90% of the time. I retrieve this jig like a slow spinnerbait and try to twitch it when I contact grass or wood.
#3 Small Carolina Rig- This is the perfect time for a 3/8 ounce, with an 18” leader Carolina Rig. I like the tried and true Zoom Lizard in basic colors like Watermelon/ Red, Green Pumpkin/ Magic and Junebug. I will drag this rig fairly slow and keep it in the strike zone as long as possible and let my lizard do the rest.
#4 Buzzbait. I know it may seem early for a buzzbait according to traditionalists, but this is an excellent time for a mega head largemouth bass on a buzzbait.
I like to throw the Santone Lake Fork Braid buzzbait. It has a heavier wire hook and the bait rides lower in the water so you land more of your bites. I try to fish a more slender soft plastic trailer and will ALWAYS use a trailer hook this time of year. Reel this buzzbait in at a slow to medium retrieve and try to get it in the grass or make it slam into stumps. The hungry bass that are stopping by off of interstate will be looking for a good meal.
Get out there and look for some of these high-octane bass stations that will hold fish coming and going from spawning areas and you may encounter some of the best fishing of the spring.
Remember if you catch one, there will likely be many more coming through, so slow down and pay attention to details or you will miss the bite.
G’ Luck and tight line Texas Nation!!