WHERE TO LOOK FOR PRE-SPAWNING BASS
In Spring and early Summer, look for Bass in “staging areas”, or areas where they are likely to hold for a while before moving to their bedding locations. These “staging areas” are often secondary points in bays, creeks,or ditches and depressions on flats.
HOW TO FIND PRE-SPAWNING BASS
Finding Bass is the key to catching Bass! Always use a systematic approach. I like to use plugs such as a Crankbait, Jerkbait, Spinnerbait, or Topwater. These lures cover a lot of water in a short time, and find the fish for me. When you find one or two Bass in a likely spot with these lures, don’t move on. It’s time to break out another bait. Quite often I change to a Worm, Lizard, or Jig, and take several more bass on the same spot.
WATER AND WEATHER CONDITIONS
Successful Bass fisherman are alert to water and weather conditions because they are a primary influence on Bass. It is important to understand these factors, and make wise decisions to determine likely location, patterns, and fish depth. I’ll talk more about that in the near future.
MY FAVORITE, THE CAROLINA RIG
This rig works equally well in Spring, Summer, or Fall. Successful fishing for Bass requires the proper tackle. The rod is the most important part. I use a 7 foot long Falcon Rod called a Carolina Lizard Dragger model #LFC617 paired with a Shakespeare Medalist Reel model #460UBC spooled with 20 pound test Super Silver Thread Line.The long rod is important for a long cast, and lets you get the proper “hook set” with a long sweeping motion. The hook set is the most difficult to learn. Remember, when a Bass bites, you must get the slack out, get the weight off the bottom, and hook the Bass all with one sweeping motion of your Falcon Rod. Use a short leader 18″to 24″ in shallow, stained water and a long leader 4′ to 6′ in clear and deep water. My favorite soft plastic lures are 6″ Riverside Lizard in Green Pumpkin or Watermelon Seed colors.
FISHING THE CAROLINA RIG
Most fishermen fish the Carolina Rig too fast. Make short pulls along the bottom moving the weight 6 inches to 1 foot at a time. Wait a few seconds between pulls. When the Bass strikes, take your time. Count to 3 while reeling up any slack line, and then set the hook!
WEAR THE RIGHT COLOR SHIRT FOR SPAWNING BASS
When fishing for spawning Bass in clear water, wear a gray or green shirt, and try to keep a low profile in the boat. Don’t make any sudden movements when approaching a likely spot, and try to be as quiet as possible. Loud talking and loud noises coming from your boat are sure to hurt your chances.
ALWAYS CAREFULLY RELEASE ALL SPAWNING BASS
Spawning bass are very vulnerable: So, to guarantee a successful spawn, always carefully release any Bass that you might catch.
CATCHING THOSE BIG “BUCK” BASS AT SPAWNING TIME
Often male or “Buck” Bass will stay on the spawning beds after the “Sow” or female BASS has deposited her eggs. The male will fertilize the eggs, and remain in the immediate area “guarding” the nest. He will usually stay around for some time as he will often guard the small “fry” after hatch. This is the time to catch these big bucks by finding the beds by sight and carefully looking for these prized Bass.
WARMER WATER MEANS LARGER LURES
In Summer, the warmer the water, the larger the lure you can use. In 60-65 degree water a 6″ Lizard or Worm is about right, but at 70 degrees I’ll often use a 6″ to 8″ Worm. At 75-80 degrees, I’ll choose a 10″ Worm. My favorite “Big Worm” is a 10″ Riverside Ribbontail in camouflage or black.
CREATE GOOD SUMMER FISHING WITH BRUSH PILES
To create good summer fishing try planting brush piles in your favorite lake. Be sure to check your state and local laws first. Put your brush piles or “fish shelters” on points, humps, or ledges in 10′ to 20′ of water depending on water clarity and thermocline. The clearer the water, the deeper the Bass will be found, and remember, thermoclines on reservoirs gradually get deeper and deeper as the summer progresses.
TRY NIGHT TIME FISHING IN THE SUMMER
On many lakes Bass become nocturnal feeders and are actively feeding at night. I heartily recommend night fishing. It’s often cooler and more relaxing when the weather gets really hot. Use 8″ to 10″ Riverside Worms in black, plum, and camouflage colors. Also, you might want to try a Spinner Bait. I prefer an Excalibur “Nite Roller” in black with a pork chunk trailer. Fish around brush, weeds, or any structure that you can find. Remember, stay close to deep water.
TOP WATER LURES ARE A GOOD BET FOR FALL ACTION
The Zara Spook and Spit”n” Image are great lures for fall Bass. “Walk the Dog” action can call Bass over great distances. try the main lake points and humps first. Fish the lures over 10′ to 25″ of water. You’ll get best results early in the morning and late in the evening on those cloudy, fall days.
USE SHAD OR BAIT FISH IN THE FALL
Shad or Bait Fish are the key to finding fall Bass. First locate the Shad or other Bait Fish and determine their holding depth. Then fish your live bait at the the same depth as the bait fish.
CRANK BAIT + STRUCTURE = BASS
This is my formula for fall fishing. Look for the Bass with crank baits along points and creek channel ledges.