I want to start off by introducing myself. I am an avid outdoorsman, a tournament angler and a high school fishing coach. I have fished all my life, and even though I fish professional tournaments such as FLW and BASS, I have never considered myself as a pro such as Kevin Vandam and Rick Clunn. I still learn new things each year as new baits and techniques emerge, along with new technology.
I have won local tournaments over the years, but I know I may never hold a major pro tournament trophy like our local pro Jordan Lee, and although that would be a dream come true I’m fine with that. It’s in my blood; I truly love the sport and the competition. That’s why I keep trying to compete.
Each fishing trip has its own challenges with every changing condition. Some days seem like you can’t do anything wrong and the next trip you can’t seem to do anything right. It is a very humbling sport to say the least. One week you’re buying tons of new tackle and equipment and the next week you want to burn it all because you had a bad day or tournament. That’s why it’s called fishing, and I love it, at least for now; ask me after my next trip out.
With that being said, most avid bass anglers will know all about what I’m talking about in the rest of this column, but I ask you if you do to pass along your knowledge to a kid so they can carry on the next generation. High school and college fishing have blown up over the last few years and will continue to grow the sport.
Most weekend bass fisherman start getting their tackle out to get ready for the fishing season when we start getting those few warm, sunny days. We start seeing buttercups blooming and the trees budding and begin to get excited about spring fishing. The boat ramps start getting crowded and the tackle shops get busy. Spring is just around the corner, officially, even though it has been a fairly mild winter.
With all the rain in recent weeks most lakes and rivers are full or over full pool and most are heavily stained. This sometimes makes fishing a challenge, but the stained water sets up an opportunity because the lack of vison forces bass to rely on vibrations and sound to feed. High, muddy water can quickly scatter out fish due to some fish venturing into shallow new territory forging on food while some remain close to areas where they were prior to the water change. The challenge is figuring out where to start looking for them.
One simple rule of thumb to remember after a heavy rain (especially in the spring) is to fish where water is coming into the lake such as a small creek or stream. These creeks pump thousands of gallons of water into the lake, and along with the water is food such as crawfish, salamanders and other fish. Some good baits for bass in these places would include crankbaits, jigs and shakey heads, just to name a few.
Springtime fishing is usually great because bass are getting ready to spawn and they are feeding up and they will bite many different type baits.
Here is a list of baits I keep on hand in the spring months: Jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, jigs, crankbaits, rattlebaits and various soft plastics.
One technique I use quite often is the Carolina rig. This technique can be used with a variety of baits like lizards and worms. This technique will catch bass just about anywhere you fish. Another bait I use frequently is a jig. This bait is perhaps the closest thing that resembles a crawfish there is. The way a jig looks in the water and the action it has when drug along the bottom looks just like a crawfish crawling on the bottom.
When I choose a crankbait I normally stick with a medium diver, one that dives 10-12 feet deep depending on how deep I think the bass are and usually in a crawfish pattern of some kind since they feed so heavily on crawfish with all the creeks following in. Square bill crankbaits are also good when bass are shallow on the banks. These baits run approximately 1-5 feet and work well around logs, bushes and other shallow cover. Some square bills have rattles and some are silent. You will have to play around with them to see what the fish are wanting that day. Sometimes subtle changes like no rattles or a small color change make the difference.
Try some of these baits and techniques the next time you’re out if you haven’t. Maybe they will put some fish in your boat. Remember to do your part in protecting our lakes and rivers so our kids can enjoy the same things we are.
Please email me questions or pictures of your recent catches. They may end up featured in this outdoors column. I will also try to keep up with local, high school, college and pro tournaments and post results. Thank you for reading!
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