Bass Location

Fishing, Black Bass, Phishing, Lake
When the snow melts and the temperatures of the lakes and rivers start to rise it is time to get ready for pre spawn smallmouth bass. Hard bodied or jointed jerk baits made to suspend in the water are a terrific option this time of the year, especially on windy overcast days once the smallmouth seem to be most aggressive. Conversely, it seems slower moving weightless plastics appear to work best on calm sunny days.
Tackle and equipment: I usually for 3 sticks rigged up for fishing with a jerk bait.
7′ Medium fast action rod with a 5:1 reel or greater, Abu Garcia creates a couple of great reels for jerk bait fishing. Line it up with 15lb braid with a fluorocarbon leader and you have yourself a great setup for your larger hard baits and bigger spinning lures.
I love this set up on still sunny mornings. 6’3″ medium light Quantum MXP pole, 4:1 spinning reel, 10 lb braid with 18 inch 8lb fluorocarbon leader. This is my go to soft plastic jerk and twitch bond setup.
7′ Daiwa Medium spinning rod with a 4:1 or greater spinning reel with 6 lb fluorocarbon line. This is a wild card pole, in the past I have had success with this using weightless flukes as well as smaller hard bodied lure. What I have found is that since fluorocarbon line sinks it has a tendency to bring the hard and soft plastic baits a bit deeper and the 6lb line has a better feel with the lighter baits than the 10lb baitcasting installation. If I could just take one I would take this one because I feel it is the most versatile but the other set ups are unique to the task. .
Hard Bodied Baits – Husky Jerk #10, Floating Raps #7, Berkley Cutter 90 are some great choices. Natural colors in clear water and heavily fished areas, pearl, white, perch and Chartreuse are winners in the spring in stained water. Recently I Berkley Gulp Alive, KVD and others have come out with great quality products as well.
Spring is such a great time for smallmouth because no other time in the year are their routines more predictable and so many big females being”piled up” in precisely the identical place. Focus on regions deepwater drops and inland spawning areas 10ft deep with gravel bottom and ground structure is a superb place to start. Egg laden large females will be actively feeding and can have many trophies sitting in the exact same small indentation or around the same stump. Small mouth will spend most of the winter in 30-40 feet of water then move in to shallow flats right after ice out and till the spawn which usually starts when the water temperature reaches into the upper or mid 50’s. Any big flats in 8-15 foot of water next to 30-40 shelves are great place to start. Start looking for a gravel bottom, often times a wonderful rock pile or stump could hold 10 big females in this time of year.
Smallmouths often must see baits a couple times before they opt to strike if they are not actively feeding so if you see a good-looking place take 3-4 casts before proceeding. When they’re feeding and you grab one make sure you throw back to the same spot because big females are rarely alone at this time of year. This can be some of the most fun, fastest fishing of the year. When they’re feeding it isn’t from the realm of chance to land five four pound fish in ten casts.
When it’s overcast and windy it seems to stir the smallmouth up and have the best bite. Anytime I am using a jerk bait in the wind I always use larger and thicker hard bodied baits. I also work the bait quicker than I do with soft plastics. Rapala Husky Jerk 10 is a favorite bait in these state with white, Chartreuse and pearl white being sexy colours. I check with a bait shop or online about hot colours on a particular body of water.
Soft plastics are an art form, and my go to set up on calm sunny days. I work the lure at about 3-5 feet of depth with longer snaps blending with short twitches. One key suggestion is to maintain constant slack in your line particularly when using the braided line set up, it will provide the bait more of an erratic darting movement and the twitches more realistic appearance. I remember one time a friend and I were in the same boat using the same colors and the exact same bait. The only difference was that he added a tiny weight and was working the bait at a rate he was averaging 3 casts to every one of my casts. By the end of 75 minutes it was 14 fish and he had 1 and I was averaging about 16″ per fish with a couple of four pound, nineteen inch plus smallies. The only difference was I had no weight added and was working the bait very slow, sometimes as slow as 4-6 seconds between actions. This method is particularly deadly on a sunny calm morning, the smallmouth are not as stirred up as they will be when the wind picks up but they are always up for a simple meal. This is often the first lure I start out with and the final one I end with.
For the people who fish them, spring smallmouth bass fishing is in a class of its own. Using jerk and twitch baits is one of the most fun ways to catch them. Tight lines!

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