By: Nate Peacock IV
You Can Lead A Horse To Water...
“Are You Having Difficulty Catching Spring Time Bass, Or Tired Of Getting Skunked On The Lake And Coming Up Empty Handed? Well, Look No Further! Our 10-Step Guide To Catching More Spring Jig Bass Will Make Them Bite Like Mad! Read On…”
Any angler knows that when the weather becomes warmer, the fishing season is upon us. With that being said, when anglers get back out on the water for the first time, they are so anxious to catch fish that they will do a “Run and Gun” approach and try to hit every inch of the lake, reservoir, or river. These tactics include spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, etc. Although these are useful and proven techniques, there is a problem. The main error is that even though the bass are aggressive and hungry before they spawn, the water is not yet at the ideal temperature for feeding which cause the bass to still be sluggish. Also, with their focus on spawn, they may not want to run around chasing food and will stay shallow preparing beds for their eggs. If the bass happen to be focused on making their beds preparing for the spawn period, they will be focused on the bottom within the shallow flats which makes fast running baits harder to catch fish that are not cruising around searching for food. This is where spring jig fishing come in to play as a perfect presentation to catch these sluggish stubborn bass.
My Spring Jig "Ah-Ha" Moment...
I came to this realization one day out on the water early in the spring when I was watching a bass making a bed a few feet off the bank on a shallow flat roughly 2 feet deep.
The bass was so focused on creating the bed that absolutely nothing was going to distract it.
I threw almost every lure I had at this bass from every angle to try to get a reaction strike but yet… nothing.
That’s when I sat there and thought about what the bass was doing and realized that he was focusing on clearing out the bottom and I thought maybe a slower presentation on the bottom would be able to perhaps catch the attention of the fish.
On my first cast I threw a Booyah jig about a foot behind the bass and let it sit there.
I began to slowly bounce it along the bottom until it was right in its face.
I then let it sit while the bass was focused on it but as soon as I bounced it two more times the bass struck it.
This showed me that not all bass are focused on eating before spawn and that the ones that are preparing for spawn can still be caught.
“Slow and Steady”
In order to allow yourself to catch more bass faster all it takes is a few quite simple adjustments within your fishing technique.
1) The first, when spring jig fishing it’s a slow approach that consists of getting on the water and lethargically crawling your jig down shallow flats and banks the bass are concentrated on, and focusing on the bottom as that is where the bass will be looking, especially if crawfish is a major food source.
2) When bass are shallow they are usually noticeable from your boat which allows you to be able to cast your jig in front of their face.
When you do this, make sure you keep it within their eyesight as long as possible and bounce it a few inches at a time with a longer pause in between.
This will catch the bass’ attention and cause a bite that a faster presentation might not get due to them being so finicky.
“The bass will be focused on the bottom within the shallow flats which makes fast running baits harder to catch fish that are not cruising around searching for food. This is where jigs come in to play as a perfect presentation!”
3) The second technique that can help you out during the spring is fast reaction strikes.
This is leaning more towards the cruising bass that are looking for food along shallow flats, ledges, etc.
These bass are looking for most likely moving baitfish in schools and crawfish depending on where you are at in the country.
They will be solely focused on food so any little thing that moves should catch the attention of these bass.
This is where fishing swim jigs in the spring come in beautifully. Most fish will be shallower to try to keep warmer throughout the day so focus on shallow flats, little drop offs, and ledges where the bass are concentrated.
4) When you do eventually find the right location, presentation is key.
Fast and erratic movements to bounce that jig along the bottom and float it up the water column will cause a lot of reaction bites.
If grass is available such as hydrilla or milfoil, focus on letting that jig get through the grass and ripping it through in order to imitate escaping baitfish or crawfish.
5) Lay down trees, logs, stumps, boat ramps, docks, etc. are all indicators of where bass will be located because this is where they will most likely be spawning when that season comes around so they will stick to close to home.
Another reason for structure is that it gives bass cover to ambush and attack prey.
6) Target the shadow side of the structure first.
Bass often hold here to hide in the shadows and to give the prey a dark silhouette against the lighted background. In order to catch these bass is a little tricky but usually hold the biggest bass.
7) Smaller finesse jigs is a dominant presentation because this allows the jig to be in the water column for as long as possible while floating but still allows you to bounce it off sticks on the bottom.
You really want the jig to be in the water column for as long as possible because bass on structure can either be suspended or on the bottom so the smaller finesse jig allows you to hit all aspects of what the bass are looking for when it comes to an easy meal.
8) There are many hidden benefits that will come out of using these techniques during the Spring.
The first and biggest benefit is that it will allow you to catch both aggressive and passive bass by using all of the water column whereas other anglers may only be focusing on just one type of bass.
This will give you more bites while you’re out there on the water.
9) Swimming a large jig with a massive trailer can act as a search bait.
The bass will often abandon with ambush positions and swim up to investigate the monstrosity that’s swimming by.
Once they see the boat they’ll often swim right back to the spot they were hiding!
10) The last benefit is it allows you to slow down when you just get back to fishing so you do not miss out on some of the best times to catch big bass before they begin to spawn.
So next time you go out on the water early in the Spring and you’re fired up and anxious to get back to fishing remember that you don’t need to cover every inch of the lake.
Bass will be concentrated on certain aspects of the lake.
Take your time, learn where they’re at, and tie that jig on to catch those monster females getting ready to spawn.
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