In baseball after a few fastballs thrown at a batter, a curve-ball can throw everything off and lead to a mistake, this post is about throwing a curve-ball at Pre-spawn bass and how it can help you catch more fish.
With the spring weather starting to warm the waters, and cold fronts becoming less frequent, the Pre-Spawn stages are here. The Pre-Spawn stages and patterns are generally initiated when water temperatures average 50 degrees to 55-ish degrees Fahrenheit. The bass will start to move from the deeper winter staging areas to the transitional zones between the winter areas and their spawning areas.
One thing to keep in mind is every body of water is different, a lake with a maximum depth of 50-100 feet is going to be a completely different strategy to target this water temperature than the rivers and creeks I fish, that max out around 15 feet. Transitional areas are generally 8-25 feet deep depending on the depth of your water body. Bass will spawn in anywhere from 2 feet to 12 feet deep depending on the water level fluctuation of your area and the water temperature swings of the current season. The reason for that is the water at deeper spawning flats stays more consistent than the faster temperature swings from the surface down to 2 feet.
Targeting Pre-Spawn bass is one if the highlights of bass fishing, the bass are extremely aggressive and at their heaviest weight when they are fully stocked from a spring of feeding to get them through their spawning cycle. Its not uncommon for the same bass to weigh 3 lbs more in the Spawning season than if you caught that same bass in the summer. Most people will target Pre-Spawn bass with crankbaits, spinner baits and Alabama rigs. This tactic of imitating a fast-moving baitfish produces some great numbers of fish and will be consistent until the bigger fish start bedding down. However, everybody and their mother is going to be throwing those three bait styles. The fish this time of year will be heavily pressured because it is one of the best times to get out and catch a trophy fish and quite possibly the fish of a lifetime. And here enters my strategy.
During this phase I will use some crankbaits and spinner baits, and even a jig occasionally, but my main tactic is a finesse approach. I almost always throw a wacky rig, weightless senko and fish it between 6-18 feet deep. To say this bait sinks slowly is an understatement, a weightless senko falls at a very slow rate through the water column and provides a wacky rig action that when fished correctly can be absolutely the most productive bait in your tackle box. In the last two weeks, I have made 3 trips that are about 3-4 hours a piece. I have averaged 10-12 fish per day and so far, landed a 6.5lb and 5lb bass this week alone. Everyone else in this river is throwing fast moving lures targeting big aggressive fish but they forget that the fish see so many crankbaits and so many patterns that they are very skittish of a fast-moving rattling bait. The river I fish doesn’t have huge schools of shad, it doesn’t have large schools of minnows that are balled up like other reservoirs, these fish attack a slow moving senko much more aggressively than crankbaits and most people don’t even associate fishing a finesse rig this time of year.
In conclusion, you will do more for your bass fishing statistics and personal best marks to pay attention to what the fish are being pressured with and vary your approach accordingly, presenting a different style of bait in a different manner with lead to more fish and bigger fish than anyone else out there on the water. This doesn’t mean don’t use what is producing fish for everyone, but when the bite starts shutting down over time, or you realize a size decrease in your fish landed that is the time to change your tactics and land the monsters. Stay safe and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook for more bass tactics and strategy as well as preparation or the KBF National Championship on Kentucky Lake in March/April