Title: Challenges of Early Spring Time Bass Fishing.
Well this is the time of year we all wait for as bass anglers. With a fantastic amount of western rainfall and snowpack the entire west got a super jumpstart on the spring season and it’s future over the last few weeks with all the storms we’ve had in the western United States. As I write this there’s a tremendous band of beautiful warm weather in front of us and we all know there’s more storms heading west for the spring season. I’m sure we have quite a few more battles in front of us as we try to maneuver through the storms of the spring season but for the most part the spawning season has arrived for much of the western United States. Even though I have spent quite a bit of time speaking about how incredible it is for us as bass anglers to enjoy the springtime season. That doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone of your fishing trips is going to be a complete slamdunk. Can’t simply just drop your boat in the water and expect springtime is here to rescue you from all of your weaknesses that you may have in your fishing game. The spring of the year requires a lot more flexibility an adjustment than one might think. Yes on the perfect sunny days that are beautiful and water clarity is fantastic sometimes spring fishing can be quite easy. During perfect condition you have so many options. You can set the boat out in 12 to 15 feet of water and cast a plastic worm, a Senko and many other well-known springtime weapons. When the surface of the water is smooth and you have 10 to 15 feet of visibility in the water boy there’s all kinds of options for site fishing and all kinds of cool stuff. On those perfect days in the spring when conditions are right you can have some of the greatest days of your life and actually begin to believe although it’s just for a few brief moments that this sport of bass fishing can actually be quite easy. I really don’t think that you need my help when conditions are perfect. What I have noticed in the spring of the year is when the weather gets a bit nasty and you have overcast conditions and you don’t really have the optimum conditions that you would want for your day spring fishing can get a bit tricky. I thought we would talk about some of the techniques you can use to maximize your effort when the weather isn’t cooperating as you had hoped for. One of the toughest things that anglers run into across the western states is low light conditions early in the morning when they launch their boats. It’s what many of us in professional fishing call “Fishing in the Gray”. Fishing in the gray is actually a term that was taken from ocean skippers all up and down the California coastline. We have so much fog along our Pacific Coast that it’s a slang term for going fishing under gray skies or foggy conditions. A typical situation would be you I plan to go out and do some site fishing first thing in the morning and the overcast conditions make that very difficult. I would go ahead make the choice to start your morning off with all of your casting techniques. Pick the area of the lake that you believe you want to start in and rather than trying to look for fish in that area make long casts and fish the area thoroughly and wait for the conditions to get better. Don’t go out and try to force something that the conditions are right for. You will have your window of time where you will have a chance at the sun coming out and the surface of the water being smooth where you can capitalize on a key sight fish. It’s much like fishing a spinner bait. Sometimes of the year you’ll want to go out and fish a spinnerbait but there’s no wind to make the spinner bait bite really happen. Yet you still go out and try to fish the spinnerbait under less than perfect conditions and really don’t have any success. It’s the same way in the spring when your sight fishing. Don’t force the issue. Speaking of the spinnerbait you may go out in the spring of the year and have overcast windy conditions first thing in the morning. Put your whole sight fishing game plan behind you and get to work with a crank bait and a spinner bait in the same shallow water areas that you believe the fish are spawning in. Utilize the techniques that you have that work best under those conditions. Like I said as the morning progresses conditions will change and you will have other opportunities to utilize different techniques. Another thing that I found very common in the spring of the year is on a warm sunny day you’ll see lots of fish in shallow water or catch lots of fish in shallow water that are often aggressive during those warm sunny afternoons. On the very next day you will go out fishing in the same area and the conditions will be cold and windy. You’ll notice that the fish aren’t in that shallow water, it seems as though they vanished. Most likely those fish have moved out on a ledge or drop off that’s adjacent to the area. Fish really like to sit out and stage in a bit deeper water when the conditions are not perfect for them. Later in the day if the sun comes out and the water warms you’ll notice those same fish will run right back into that shallow water and you’ll begin to see them like you did the day prior. I guess the focus of this is don’t believe that the fish just move into shallow water and stay there permanently through the spawning cycle. The fish still move and change each and every day based on the conditions. It’s very important that you make those changes with the fish. We are all of the belief that a warm sunny beautiful day is the optimum situation for the fish to come into shallow water and set up around something and really get after it during the spawning season. Most of us are also of the belief that if you have nasty cold windy conditions that those same fish that were in shallow water the day before will move into deeper water and almost sit back and wait for conditions to get better. You will notice for the most part that most of the fish in your area are still there but sitting out in slightly deeper water and staging waiting for better conditions. Most of us are also of the belief that once a fish is right in the middle of its spawning cycle almost any kind of weather can come through and that fish just will not leave. These are very few of the fish though. There’s only a certain number of fish there in the absolute peak of their spawning session and just refuse to leave. With that being the case the majority of your fish are going to be out deeper water on those cold nasty days. It’s a major mistake for you as an angler to fish under beautiful conditions and find an area loaded with fish and just continue to fish there regardless of the conditions. That’s a just a major mistake made in the spring of the year. This spring can still be one of the very toughest times that you have as an angler. The only saving grace for us bass fisherman is that as most of us know once spring is in full swing most the time the weather becomes pretty consistent. That’s really the saving grace for us bass fisherman during the spring season. That good consistent warming weather keeps those fish up and aggressive for us to experience fantastic fishing. Just be prepared every day that you go fishing in the spring and know that if any adverse conditions come through you’re going to have to make changes in your approach. If you do not make the changes you will suffer through a very tough fishing day. As a basic overview try to keep your fishing from 2 to 10 feet of water throughout the spring season when you do how the Octomom sunny warm conditions. When things get windy, cold and nasty try to move your focus more to 12 to 20 feet of water even 25 feet as a general rule. Try to narrow your lure selection to baits that actually touch the bottom. For instants try to focus on a plastic worm, a jig, a split shot plastic worm. If you’re going to use a crank bait make sure it’s a crank bait it actually makes bottom contact throughout the retrieve. Make sure it’s a crankbait that will hit the bottom in anywhere from 2 to 15 feet of water. If it’s cold and nasty definitely pick a crankbait that you can fish down into 20 to 25 feet of water. I’ve always been of the belief that fish are very very bottom focused during this time of year. It’s just a personal theory but I really believe that fish are very very focused on the bottom at this particular time of year. You’ve heard me talk quite a bit about suspended fish at different times of the year. This is not one of those times. I’m a big believer that the fish are looking down and really focused on things on the bottom. Whatever lure you select just try to remember to keep that bottom contact during this time of year. Enjoy your spring time fishing but don’t take it lightly. You can make a major mistake by going to the lake and just expecting the fishing to be fantastic everyday in the spring. When nasty cold weather comes through it could be some of the toughest fishing you’ll experience this season. Be ready for it. If you don’t enjoy success right off in the morning be prepared to adjust into slightly deeper water and use your electronics and look for subtle breaks, hills, ledges and isolated cover in deeper water that you think the fish may move to once inclement weather comes to town.