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Written By: Randy Pringle, March 12, 2012
To answer the question, you can fish all three for the next couple months. That is what makes this time of year so much fun! This is where the tackle box becomes so big due to all the different baits you can throw. Or for you boaters, your boat barely gets on plane.
Allow me to explain. It is kind of cool, while one group of bass is staging to move towards the shore to spawn, we call that the pre-spawn period. Another group of bass, because of the warm days is spawning. On the last full moon we had a group of bass which had already spawned and are now moving back out to post spawn areas.
The difference between pre-spawn areas and post spawn areas is extreme. It is an area where the bass can relax. It is usually in deeper water and there is a good food source in the area.
When targeting pre-spawn bass, several baits come to my mind. My slow fished choices are the Berkley’s ten inch Power Worm in the green pumpkin color, rigged Texas Style with ¼ ounce Tru-Tungsten weight with a 5/0 Daiichi Bleeding Bait Off Set Hook or Persuaders 5/8 ounce E-Chip Flippin’ Jig in black and blue, with a Berkley Chigger Craw Trailer in the same color.
These two baits are fished similarly. You want to make sure you keep in contact with the bottom at all times. The key is to fish both baits slowly and don’t hop them. Most of the bites will come when you least expect it. It is extremely important that the splash is kept to a minimum when casting these two baits or you will spook the bass.
There are times when the weather conditions permit, (meaning warm weather with a little wind) that the Optimum Baits Double Diamond Swim Bait can be extremely effective. The Swim baits are fished across points, flats and along the edge of structured banks.
I also have two sleeper picks, Strike King’s Crank Bait #4 in the red crawdad pattern and Persuader’s ½ ounce spinnerbait in chartreuse and white with gold and silver Willow Leaf blades, which can be very effective on the windier days. One day you will be whacking them on these two baits and the next day they won’t hit them, but you have to have them in your bag of tricks!
As the water starts to warm up, the spawn begins to occur. That is happening right now in a lot of the sheltered areas the bass have begun to move in to. These days the spawn is in its full phase. Unique in its own way, this is when you can sometimes see the bass.
“Sight fishing”! If you can see them then they can see you. Target these fish with as much “stealth” as possible. If the water is clear, weightless worms like Berkley’s New Heavy Weight or drop shotting a Berkley 4 inch Hand Poured Worm can be your ticket. Work these baits slowly around the bass’ bed and this technique can give you your personal best limit and of course a photo opportunity!
As a side note remember, both of these techniques when used in clear water. might require you to drop down in line size to get that big bite. I hate to downsize, but sometimes you have to do it! My recommendation is Berkley’s new Fluorocarbon in 12 pound test line. If the water is dingy bigger line with the big worm or jig will still work but make sure your casts are as accurate and as silent as possible.
For the post spawn bass, we are going to attack them with the next big tackle box. This is where the top water bite often becomes explosive. Optimum Bait’s Furbit the Frog fished in the heaviest cover along the outside edge can be just flat out fun!
Optimum Bait’s OB Minnow is a wake bait which means it swims across the surface. I use it to fish points and flats where weeds are growing and hold on!
Persuader’s Poppin – Walker “popped” over underwater structure with a stop and go action is money! Last but not least, Persuaders Buzz Baits fished knocking and bumping tules, rocks, wood, basically anything you can hit and wait for Mr. Bass to take it under.
I sure like top water! Since you have this all down now, go fishing. WAIT! I don’t think it is clear enough. You have to target each group differently? The answer is yes. That is why when you hear someone tell you, “I caught them on a crankbait” and you were throwing a worm, you might have been fishing in the right area, but with the wrong technique. It sounds like you are beginning to understand this. Let’s see if you do with a little quiz..
A. Targeting pre-spawn bass; what should you use? Where will the bass be located?
B. Targeting spawn bass; what should you use? Where will these bass be located?
C. Targeting post- spawn bass; what should you use? Where will these bass be located?
For more information, call Randy, The Fishing Instructor and book a day on the water with the master himself! (209) 543-6260.
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