Angler Education

Heat Up in the Pre Spawn Chill

Oh, I know it might be cold in the mornings and I know that little cold fronts will turn off those Florida strain largemouth but Pre Spawn is still my favorite time of year to bass fish. The fish are bigger now than at any time of the year, they are bunched up and easy to catch. What more can we ask for?

Let me share with you a Pre Spawn system I use that's largely based on water temperatures. It works on almost any lake, in almost any part of the country. It's not like it's a secret or anything.

As water temperatures rise up through the 40s bass will group in deep water, 15 to 20 feet, near spawning areas. Just look for shallow hard bottoms back in creeks or coves. Fish will stage in deep water nearby like a sunken river bend or a creek joining the main channel.

Some pros like a spinnerbait while others prefer a jerkbait, but I like a deep running crankbait for searching. When I get my first bite, I'll put it down then go to work with a Carolina rig. Generally these fish will be bunched up. If I can catch one, I'm fairly certain others will be in the school and it's just a matter of slowing down and picking them off.

Normally I use a 6-inch Berkley ® Power ® Lizard. I keep several colors handy, but green pumpkin is my money color. I rarely need more than two weight sizes 3/4 or 1 ounce. If the water is deep or there's a lot of current, I'll use the heavier size. I have to stay in contact with the bottom. Most likely the fish are thinking this lizard is really a crawfish. With a rig you can also usually tell what's on the bottom, be it grass, rocks or whatever.

I use a regular bead and barrel swivel with Berkley Trilene ® Sensation ® in 17- to 20-pound test for the main line. For a leader I still use Sensation but drop down in line size. Leader length is important. I try to use a 3-foot leader. If the water is clear I'll use longer leader, 5 feet at the most, to get the bait away from the hardware. If the water is stained, I want to shorten the leader down to 18 inches or so. The hardware will actually attract the fish so I want my bait closer to it.

As the water warms up through the 50s, fishing will continue to improve. I move even closer to the spawning areas and in shallower water, say 6- to 10 feet. I still use a crankbait as a search lure, but when I catch the first one I slow way down and use a a ᄑ-ounce football head jig with a black and blue skirt. Fourteen- to 17-pound test Berkley Vanish ® gives a great hook set and is very sensitive.

The most important thing is the trailer. I use a black or blue 3-inch Berkley Gulp! ® Wicked Wing Trailer. It flutters like crazy and makes the bass think it's alive. Plus it disperses scent better than anything I've ever used.

I wish that Pre Spawn bass fishing would last all year but it doesn't. So while it's here I make the most out of it. So what if it gets a little chilly.