Lake Casitas Bass Fishing Guide 1/8/2018 – Late Winter Fishing
Yep we’re right in the middle of winter. Some of our coldest temperatures here to start the new year and it seems like spring time is a long way away. But actually it’s closer than you think. We’re going to discuss some late winter fishing techniques but also talk about some pre-spawn fishing because western anglers have to remember that places like the lower Colorado river and Lake Havasu as an example are famous for having lots of fish spawning in the middle part of February. And as you read this that’s right around the corner. As we all anxiously await the first sign of bass moving into shallow water and start to build nests in the ultra clear waters of the western United States. This is really a super fun time for us. We have all this beautiful clearwater and have some of the most famous reservoirs in the country for spotting that bass of a lifetime. Until that first sign of bass showing up in shallow water where you can visually spot them I thought I would go over the specifics of fishing this tricky time of the season. I want to clarify for people exactly what the term pre-spawn means and share with you a couple of my best techniques for this time of year. We have a full moon on the 30th day of January. That moon at the end of the January is really what I consider to be the first real movement of pre-spawn fish. The full moon at the end of February will mark a full-blown spawn in several places at lower elevations throughout the western United States. Those full moons in January and February are very crucial toward setting up the spawning season. These are the moons that we would really classify as pre-spawn moons.
The actual term pre-spawn means bass that are setting up in staging area and getting ready to move into shallow water and build spawning beds in anywhere from 2 to 15 feet of water. Usually bass will pick a spot that is very close to an area that they like to spawn and kind of set up there. What I mean by this is the fish will pick a little drop off or ledge with some good deepwater access nearby where they can set up and feed on threadfin shad and crayfish and bulk up as they prepare for the long and tenuous act which we call spawning. Bass will stage in these types of areas, these ledges and drop off next to shallow spawning areas and you can generate some fantastic fishing as the fish appeared to be somewhat grouped up on these isolated places. This can be one of the best times of the year if you are fortunate enough to find one of these super cool pre-spawn areas as you can set there for a good 30 to 40 days and catch quality bass that are all set up on this one isolated spot. The trouble is finding a spot like that. But it is exciting and that’s why so many of us love pre-spawn fishing because it gives you that opportunity to look around and hopefully find one of those spots. Try to focus on areas of the lake that you believe the most bass spawn in and try to locate ledges or drop offs that are in close proximity to those areas and that’s your best chance of locating your own secret spot to catch pre-spawn bass. Boy when you find a spot like that it’s really cool. A lot of the bass are super chunky and healthy and look fantastic as they get ready for it this spring spawning season.
Now let’s get into some of the favorite pre-spawn lures and techniques that you can use. Without question one of the greatest pre-spawn weapons is a lead head jig. First of all let’s talk about your set up. Of course I recommend a baitcasting outfit for this type of fishing. A 6 1/2 to 7 foot long medium heavy action bait casting rod is best. As most of you know I’m a big Daiwa guy and I always like to use technique specific equipment for each lure than I’m fishing. I like to use it worm/jig rod manufactured by Daiwa and put that rod together with one of the brand-new Tatula casting reels. Let me tell you if you have not tried one of these new Tatula reels you absolutely need to check it out. Once they came on the market several years ago it’s basically all I use any longer for freshwater bass fishing. I use the Tatula 100H. It’s the least expensive right around $100 and it works fantastic. They have a super cool low-profile and a slightly larger spool as far as width goes. I like this because I can use this new Tatula reel and do a lot more things with it. For instance it’s a fantastic reel for fishing the larger swim baits and umbrella rigs. It has just a tad more line capacity and that works well for fishing jigs also. The fact that when you press the thumb bar down and the line guide pops completely open is fantastic. This allows you to make some of the longest casts that you will ever make in your life. The fact that that level wind completely pops open and there is so much area for your fishing line and it not be hindered is what makes the difference in this fishing reel. The difference in the Tatula is the fact that when you press that button the reel feels like every reel that you own except this one will cast better than anything you’ve ever used. The reel has an absolutely incredible handle on it also which I really love. It feels great in your hand and has the perfect amount of texture on it and really is built for power. Probably the most attractive thing to most people about the Tatula reel is it’s super affordable. And like I said with a price tag right around $100 you will have something that is super durable and you will have for a very very long time and you’ll be able to cast a variety of baits with tremendous distance. For my jig fishing I like to take the Tatula real and match it with a technique specific Daiwa worm/jig rods and you will be set up with one of the best outfits you’ll ever use. As far as fishing the jig the most important thing is to fish the jig with confidence and stick with it. This is a quality fish bait. Sure you can catch more fish on a drop shot plastic worm or shaky head worm or any variety of worm techniques. But the Jig produces quality bass and it’s very rewarding at this time of year. What’s nice about jig fishing at this time of year is the bass are really focused on feeding on crayfish in the pre-spawn season and you’re actually choosing the bait that the bass are very very focused on. This is always a good thing and this is one of the few times that I tell anglers to try to focus on fishing jigs at this time of year. There’s a lot of times during the year were I don’t think that a jig is the best choice when it comes to bass fishing. This does not happen to be one of those times. The spring is when you want to pull your jigs out of your tacklebox and focus on it in particular during the pre-spawn season. I like to fish the jig on 10 to 12 pound Izorline florocarbon fishing line. If you’re fishing a smaller lighter jig 10 pound florocarbon is a really good choice. If you’re fishing a heavier jig usually 12 pound florocarbon is your best choice. About the heaviest line that I ever fish the jig on is 15 pound florocarbon and that’s when I feel pretty confident about the spot and that the water color is a bit stained where I feel like I can get away with the 15 pound test line. I don’t know about you but I feel pretty confident when I hang a bass on 12 pound test line. It’s pretty strong stuff and you can handle most anything that you hook. Tie the jig to the florocarbon with a Palomar knot. Try to focus on fishing your jig slow and keep it on the bottom. You can experiment with small movements and twitches in your rod tip as you move through the day. You sometimes can dead stick the jig as you move it along, even stop it for 20 to 30 seconds maybe even longer on certain fishing spots whatever retrieve that you come up with is fine, the biggest problem with jig fishing is most of the people end up putting it down. Be devoted to fishing with the jig and fish it hard. Give it some time and keep grinding away at it. This bait will produce quality bass and like I said this is the time of year you want to develop your confidence when it comes to jig fishing. As far as colors of jigs you can use a wide variety of colors but I recommend you start with something that you have confidence in. Some of my top color choices are obviously the old standby a brown half ounce football head jig with a purple trailer. Without question a brown football head jig with a purple trailer whether the trailer be plastic or pork has absolutely been my number one producer for me over the last 20 years. I really like to use a Zoom chunk trailer also in a purple color. If I had to pick a second color it would definitely be watermelon with red flake. I like to use a watermelon red flake jig with a matching trailer. Then my third choice would probably be a straight black jig. What I mean by straight is a black jig with a matching black trailer. Those would be my three top color choices for fishing in the western United States. I really feel like it if you have those three basic colors you’re pretty well set. Try to focus on fishing a 3/8 ounce jig and also a half ounce jig those being your two top choices. Don’t focus too much on the color of your bait, focus more on sticking with the jig and fishing it hard and keeping it on the bottom and fishing it slow. If you’ll focus on those simple facts that will produce the best results. Good luck with your pre-spawn fishing and if any of you ever have any questions about this article or any of my other columns you’re always welcome to visit me at www.RichTauberFishing.com