In North America, Bass Fishing is the pursuit of the fish known primarily as Largemouth, Smallmouth and Rock Bass. But if you ask most American anglers, there looking for those Largemouth bulls (or pigs) depending on where you’re from.
After the winter solstice the weather begins to improve which means the prime fishing season is right around the corner. During Jan and Feb, the fish are still in winter patterns (establishing patterns at your favorite hole, is dependant upon going out and sight fishing during the late winter period).
If you get a series of 60-70 degree days during these months, fish will go shallow in a hurry, they will move into a pre-spawning pattern. Generally speaking, if you see fish around standing timber or docks during these warm periods, then your chance of catching fish in those types of areas around the lake or stream during spring are pretty much the same.
During these periods, when the water is at the higher levels, bass love to hang out between shallow brush and the edge of sharp drop-offs. Just remember, the water is cold, so slow your roll if you’re looking for a lunker.
During spring fishing, most top water poppers work well. Also, 3-4 inch soft-plastic minnows rigged Carolina or Texas style, which ever you prefer, except without a weight and with a barrel swivel on the end of the leader so your line doesn’t get all twisted up. You can skip this lure across the top of the water to get it up under tree limbs to really get in next to the trunks and then dog walk it back out through spawning nests. Be ready, because big bass are protecting they’re nests and they will attack, without prejudice.
These techniques work well on Lake Monroe, IN., which I happen to be lucky enough to have as my back yard. Finding the combination for your lake or fishin’ hole should be your number one priority during the early fishing season. Fish will tend to be attracted to the same lures in the fall that they were during spring, so get used to workin’ what works.
Sometimes you can get a spinner or a buzz bait to draw out larger bass waiting in ambush in the thickets (sunken brush, weeds and standing timber). Drag the lure along the outer-edge of these areas with a yo-yo retrieve or, jig �n pig it. The rising and dropping motion, along with the buzz and vibration of the bait is what triggers Largemouth to strike, even when there not hungry.
My favorite lure is the 2 inch, lipped, two treble-hook, balsa or plastic minnow with a reflective pattern or a realistic pattern. If you can get it to pop like a popper, it can be very deadly in the spring, especially on small ponds and channel coves along the edge of weed-beds and under overhanging trees. And if you’re real good, you might be able to skip it like the soft minnow.
As stated before, almost anything that pops the top of the water can be very useful throughout spring-time. The popping and splashing resembles a dying fish and the noises associated with other fish feeding on it. All of these actions attract fish of all sizes, makes them hungry and then they strike.
Pop the lure and let it sit until the rings die out and then do it again. Generally the strike will happen right before the next pop. Be sure to keep your eye on the lure, �cause when that fish hits, especially Largemouth, if you don’t set the hook soon enough (meaning, the second your lure disappears) the fish will spit it out. Panfish will usually get hooked as soon as they bite.
Spinners can also be used to slow-roll through deep channels to locate that lurkin’ lunker or to establish patterns in the deeper areas along the banks. Just work the bottom and see what happens. However, spinners usually don’t work to well during spring.
A temperature gauge is a handy tool to have year �round to establish retrieval speeds. Remember cold water tends to slow the fish down and warmer water will cause the fish to be more active. So practicing different speeds in different temperatures is a useful way to locate more fish.
Remember, when you’re on the lake, other people are out there too!
Help to take care of our lakes, rivers, and other waterways so that others may enjoy these areas for years to come. Follow your state and local laws regarding fishing and boating practices in your area.
Here’s some hints on fishing etiquette:
� Don’t litter, take along a trash bag or other receptacle for collecting your trash.
� Make sure that you use the correct type of bait and fishing gear permitted in that area. There may also be limits on the number, size, and kind of fish that you can keep. Check with your destination ahead of time to see what the local regulations allow.
� If you use a boat or watercraft when fishing, check to see what kinds of watercraft are allowed and what the registration requirements are.
� Pay attention to local procedures and cautions for cleaning your watercraft after you leave the water so that you don’t encourage the spread of non-native species to the next body of water that you visit.
� Don’t fish in areas where it is not permitted. These areas have been declared “off limits” for a reason. It may not be a good idea to find out why.
Just remember, wherever you fish, make sure you have a good time and be safe.
Chris Curley Lives in Nashville, IN. with his dog Piranha.