Each and every spring, bass angling fanatics yank out their bass tackle and start for the lake. Most are starting the season a little too early, but it’s one of those things they were born to do. Most of these early birds are fantasizing about hooking into a big bass. Several bass anglers succeed, but the most draw blanks.
Under manipulated conditions, biologists have realized influences that rule springtime bass conduct. Knowledge of these aspects can certainly improve your bass fishing, but you have to know how to apply this knowledge to the lakes your bass occupy. First is water temperature, then location, and last, but not least, spawning and feeding habits.
Anyone who got an A in biology while in school know that bass are actually cold-blooded. Their body temperature rises and falls with the surrounding water. Below 50 degrees, bass do very little feeding. They still eat, but the occurrence declines. In controlled situations where Water temperature was adjusted from the low 40s to the high 80s, one certainty remained frequent. Bass ate a lot more and digested food quicker in warmer water, four to six times faster. They can adapt to any temperature from 40 degrees to 90, where they fight to survive.
Warming water, along with the importance of suitable nesting sites prompt bass to move shallow in spring. Prime spawning temperature is in the mid-60s, though there are exclusions to this rule. It can deviate due to a warmer than typical spring, heavy winds or the cold fronts that occur frequently in spring can and do effect bass behavoir.
Shallows bordering vertical drop-offs are the likeliest places to begin hunting for early spring bass. Look for rocks and boulders that absorb sunlight, as they will be warming the surrounding water. Once the water reaches up to spawning temperatures, start working spawning beds. Many old time bass anglers think that all bass spawn shallow, but it just ain’t so. Bass can spawn in water up to 20-feet deep. Bass are also known to lay eggs in the crotches of standing timber in deep clear water.
There is a definite feeding spree for the period of prespawn. This is when the majority of bass anglers start to score. A thermometer is a great aid in locating the warmer pockets where prespawn bass congregate.
Water temperature can vary widely across a body of water. It takes a lot of searching to pinpoint the right combination of structure, cover and water temperature. Underground springs generally spew warmer water in springtime and colder water in summer time. A mere two- or three-degree improvement may be enough to attract early spawners, even though surface water and air temperatures remain cold. Ice on the guides doesn’t mean you can’t catch a bass or two. Bait fish, particularly shad, move shallow first with the bass right on their tails. These kinds of prespawn feeding binges prepare the females for the strenuous process of spawning. You will find prespawn bass holding on corners of cove entrances. They may suspend in tree tops or brush at this time, anticipating the right conditions to spawn.
Lure presentation should be slowed in cold water, yet there are times when a rapidly retrieved injured minnow lure may bring about a strike. Producing such a retrieve over sunken trees or brush has shown deadly, in early spring. This is why you should cover water from top to bottom with different presentations. There may be a small layer of warmer water, and you won’t hit it unless you test all depths thoroughly.
There are definite holding places and spawning grounds in each lake. Finding them takes time and patience, but it can pay off in big dividends.
Springtime lures include most of the same options you might use on a summer day. Deep, shallow in addition to mid level running crankbaits, plastic worms and the old dependable jig with a trailer attached are great fish finders. To begin with try slow, and then medium, and finally fast retrieves don’t just cast and crank all the time. At prespawn you may notice bass cruising the banks. These bass are usually searching for spawning spots, they’re not too interested in feeding. A jig twitching or slowly crawling on bottom may induce a strike, but don’t count on strikes to be as hard as they are while in summer.
Springtime bass simply mouth a lure, they don’t smack it. Line monitoring becomes especially important at this time, so set the hook at any suspicious movement. You will draw more misses than hook sets, but it’s still a wise practice.
During the spring, there’s little justification to hit the water at first light. From prespawn throughout late May. Try bass fishing between 9 a. m. and 3 p. m. This is the time of day the water is to be the warmest.
Northern or northeastern banks are most productive during prespawn and sometimes long afterwards. When southern winds blow, they drive warmer surface water to such banks. If there is cover and access to deep water, that’s where you will find the first bass. A bass only security measure is cover or deep water that’s where they head at the first sign of trouble. When actively spawning, they will come back to the nest as soon as the imminent danger passes.
Polarized glasses are a must for springtime bass fishing. They allow you to spot shallow fish plus see where they might be nesting. With a good pair you can keep your bass boat far enough away and avoid spooking the fish. Your shadow in shallow water is cause for alarm. Where you need to fish, you can lessen it by kneeling or sitting.
Stick with slow retrieves when fishing crankbaits in the springtime. Search for stumps, brush piles or other things that provide cover. Gentle casting is also a must in order to avoid alerting shallow bass. Practice until you can drop a topwater bait quietly into the water. When fishing a piece of cover, be sure to cast well further than the desired target, then reel slowly with a stop and go retrieve, It may take a half dozen casts to result in a strike. When working brush, try a plastic worm dropped right into the cover. Pitchin’ and flippin’ work well at this time of year as bass are simply just not in a lure-chasing mood. The less energy they spend the better they like it.
Hungry or not, all bass exhibit a built in instinct to strike out at anything strange to their territory. This is the response we relate to as a reaction strike. It’s like tossing a firecracker into a group of people. When it goes off, everybody jumps. Bass react the same way to a lure. They just naturally strike out whether hungry or not.
Slow rising crankbaits are much more effective as compared to fast risers. In numerous southern state lakes you will find a shad die off in early spring. These stressed bait fish rise slowly and gradually to the surface, which are easy pickings for the bass. You can slow the rise of most floating crankbaits with the help of small split shots. In case it’s a hollow body bait, drill a small hole in the lure, add the shot, then plug it with epoxy or other sealant. This not only slows the rise, it adds some rattle to the lure. You can get the right amount of weight by evaluating it in a sink or bathtub. During evaluating, plug the hole for the time being with caulk until you ensure it is where you prefer it.
Cleared off spawning beds imply bass are using the area regardless if you see them or not. If bass aren’t over the beds, fish the surrounding water.
In clear water, a great deal of spawning is done during the night. After boat traffic subsides and the sun sets, the bass move from deeper holding zones onto their nests. This is often is one factor there is commonly a significant drop off close to most spawning beds. Small gravel or rocks are most likely places for bass to spawn. Surrounding bushes or sunken timber offer security, so cover them carefully. Heavy timber, sunken or standing, isn’t spawning territory unless there’s gravel or rock at the bottom, which can be cleaned off for depositing eggs. But don’t rule any nearby cover out just because the bottom is soft. It could still serve as a secure holding area.
Many bass do not spawn at the same time. In some lakes, spawning activity may continue on for three months or even more. A large number of big bass spawn very early within the season, attributable to maturation of eggs well before things are just right. As soon as the eggs are ready to drop, they drop, no matter what the calendar or water conditions show.
Figuring out patterns in early spring isn’t easy. They may change daily, even hourly, so keep moving about and check as much of good spots as possible. You may strike out that morning then tear them up in the afternoon by returning to the same locations. Good spots remain good spots as long as the bottom doesn’t change.
The secret to early spring bass fishing truly isn’t any secret at all. Constant practical application of sound angling technique is the only way to catch bass persistently in any season.
Early spring is a prime period to catch that wall hanger, as long as you really know what you’re doing and stick with it.