Keeping it simple for pre-spawn largemouth

By Craig Lamb

Pre-spawn bass fishing during early spring can be as easy or complicated as you make it, and it all depends on how you approach the constant movement of the bass as they migrate to shallow water.

Pre-spawn bass fishing during early spring can be as easy or complicated as you make it,

“I don’t like to over think it because pre-spawn really is the easiest time of year to find largemouth,” says Skeeter Boats Pro Ray Hanselman Jr., a guide on Lake Amistad in Del Rio, Texas.

“The bass are all going to go the same direction, trying to do the same thing, which is go into shallow water and spawn,” continued the Bassmaster Elite Series pro.

Pinpointing the location of migrating largemouth is the biggest challenge of solving the pre-spawn bass fishing equation. You can chase them down by following textbook migration routes between the main lake and the spawning coves, but depending upon the size of the route that can be time-consuming and lead to frustration. You can easily get spun out trying to pick apart a productive area, only to find the fish aren’t yet there or have moved beyond you to a shallower area.

Hanselman has a better idea. He begins searching where the bass will most likely stage for the final time before committing to a spawning area.

He divides his lesson into two types of water; lakes with and without aquatic vegetation along the routes.

“On grass lakes, I go to the center of drains and work my way in,” he explains.

Different than creek channels, drains are subtle ditches or indentations that terminate in spawning areas. Hanselman keeps his casts inside the deepest part of the drain, where the grass is the densest during the early spring.

“The bass will migrate up the ditch and use the grass as a holding area, or ambush point, for baitfish,” he observes.

Slow rolling weedless swimbaits and working jerkbaits and lipless crankbaits over the top of the grass nets strikes. The strike zone is narrow—making the lure contact the tips of the grass is essential to the reaction bite.

Hanselman recently won a Costa FLW Series event on Lake Amistad using the very technique as described above. He also used a compact tailspinner to generate reaction strikes as fish moved up the drains. Strikes came by quickly raising the rod and then allowing the bait to fall.

Cold fronts are common during the prespawn. Falling temperatures can reverse the migration of the bass, although they are more committed to staying put in Hanselman’s suggested target areas near the conclusion of the migration.

“All I do is just adjust the lure, using a drop shot or shaky head,” he adds. “They are pretty committed by the time they get that far back into a creek.”

For lakes without grass, he follows a similar approach.

“I look for the last couple of channel swing banks about midway back into a creek,” he says.

Again, the bass are nearing the end of their migration from deep water. Instead of wasting time tracking down groups of migrating bass he sets up where the trip ends, nearest the spawning areas.

“Rocky shorelines or riprap are key to the pattern because they are warmed by the sunshine,” he says. “Just a few degrees of warmer water will attract the bass, and so will that and a combination of colored water.”

The bonus cover is isolated brush piles, laydowns or even docks. Baits of choice are crankbaits banged off the submerged rocks, and slow-rolled spinnerbaits fished around the cover.

“ The appeal of these areas is that the last couple of channel swing banks will hold the fish until the temperature gets just right and they commit to the spawning areas.”  

Hanselman’s tips will help you spend less time chasing fish and more time catching them during the pre-spawn this year.

Learn More at Skeeter

Original Source: Sportsman



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