Although spring may be later where you fish, the following patterns can work for you when your water starts to warm. Bass react to warming water by feeding heavily, providing nutrition to the developing eggs in the females and energy for both males and females to get through the stress of the coming bedding time. They also tend to be in large schools, moving in groups from deep water winter holding areas where they have been bunched up. Find a feeding spot, and you are likely to catch a lot of fish.
Catching Bass On Points
One of my favorite feeding spots during this time is a clay point near deep water. Crayfish hibernate in clay bottoms and start to come out of their burrows and get active as soon as the water starts to warm. Feeding bass like nothing better than a crayfish for an early spring meal.
One of my most vivid early spring memories was late February after a warm winter. The water started warming a couple of weeks early that year, and my wife and I headed to Clark's Hill the last weekend in February. In two days fishing, we landed 78 keeper bass and 30 white bass, all from three points. That pattern and those points have paid off repeatedly over the years since then - sometimes in late February, sometimes as late as mid-March, all depending on when the water started warming.
The three points we catch fish on are within sight of each other. All have clay on them, one has some rocks and one has some brush and stumps, but all have clay. All three drop quickly into the old river channel and the deepest water in the area. We fish these points that we imaginatively named Points 1, 2 and 3, with crayfish colored crankbaits.
When we first found the points we used Rebel Deep Wee R's and now we use Shadraps. The key is to fish a plug that will reach bottom in six to eight feet of water. Bumping bottom and stirring up mud, like a feeding crayfish, seems to be required. We got to the point that we were able to cast out, crank the bait down, say "There's the bottom - and there's the fish" on cast after cast.
Three Warm Days In A Row
To enjoy this kind of fishing, watch for three warm days in a row. Get on the water and look for clay points near the deepest water around. Cast across the point from all directions and make sure you hit bottom. Be prepared for a strike on every cast when you feel your lure bumping the clay, calling the bass to it.
If you catch a fish, stick around. There are likely more in the area. If you catch three or four and they stop biting, change lures. Use one a little larger or smaller, with more orange or less, something just a little different. That change sometimes will trigger more strikes. Leave the point and look for more when they quit hitting but come back an hour later and more should be ready to hit. My wife and I circled Points 1, 2, and 3, going from one to the next as soon as we made a dozen casts without a strike. Usually the fish were feeding again by the time we got back.
Since you can catch a tremendous number of bass like this, practice catch and release. There is nothing wrong with keeping a few to eat, but fresh fish always taste better, so don't try to fill up your freezer. Just go fishing enough to always have fresh ones available.
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