Lakecaster Online

OF BASS & GALS
By: Sue Crochet

Due to the colder weather we've had this winter, I suspect the spawn on our local lakes will last well into May. Although we've been having some occasional 80-degree weather, I've noticed that water temperatures are not climbing as quickly as in the past couple of years at this same time. This means that we'll probably be experiencing post-spawn bass fishing patterns well into the month of June. What does this mean to all you anglers out there?

Well, once the spawners have regained their strength, it means that these bass will be HUNGRY and will probably hit just about anything you throw at them. Shad will begin to bunch up, so anything that remotely resembles a shad would be my choice of lures. Generally, largemouth will pull out of shallow water after they've spawned and depths from 5-10' will be most productive.

I'll usually start my day with a Cyclone spinner bait and a Shad Assassin in relatively shallow water (1-3'). If either of these lures is successful, after the sun comes up I'll move out to the 5-10' water and continue to throw these lures using a slightly slower retrieve. On the contrary, if these lures stop producing or are not working, I'll switch to a Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap or medium-depth Bomber crank bait and cover a lot of water until I locate the fish. Again, colors that most resemble shad patterns would be my first choice.

Now, what happens after this is a matter of what the angler has the most confidence in. Avid jig fishermen will pitch or swim a jig for the remainder of the day. Personally, I prefer to worm fish. Depending upon the thickness of the grass at these depths, which will fluctuate in different areas, I would probably drag a Carolina-rigged Jawtec French Fry or swim a Texas-rigged Reaction Wacky Worm. My color preferences on both Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn at this time of the year would be watermelon, watermelon-Red and green pumpkin.

I'll look for flat areas off the main lake or large creeks, with drains running through them. On Toledo Bend these would include 1215, Tennessee Bay, Jessie Lowe Bay, Indian Mounds, Hausen Bay, Six Mile, Arnold's Bay and McGee's Flats. On Sam Rayburn, areas that come to mind are Farmer's Flats, Needmore Point from the point all the way to the mouth of Buck Bay, Easley Flats, Black Forest, Caney Creek Flats and Veach Basin.

If you find that your favorite fishing spot is not paying off, it could be that the fish have already moved into their summer patterns. In this case, you'll want to start the day with a Zara Spook, Cyclone buzz bait or a Pop-R. As the sun begins to warm things up, the fish will begin to move out deeper and deeper, but unlike during the post-spawn phase, the depths at which they will hold will vary; anywhere from 10 to 20 feet on the average.

This "holding area" depth depends upon a number of things. An isolated grass bed will always hold fish, especially if that is the only cover or structure around. Flats can still be productive, but the fish will usually position themselves closer to the main creek, where deep water is close by. Main lake points are very productive when largemouth are in their summertime patterns because they offer most of what the bass is looking for; shallow water for early morning and late evening feeding, gradual or sudden depth changes and nearby deep water. Some points will have other types of structure such as stumps, gravel or a hard, sandy or clay bottom that make them more attractive to bass than others will.

Because the Carolina rig is so versatile, I prefer to use this method to "check out" my areas. Very quickly, you can determine how much grass is there, if there are stumps, rocks or gravel, the consistency of the bottom and exactly where sudden depth changes occur. More often than not, the Carolina rig will also be my most productive method of catching fish during the warmer months.

I have also found that plastics with more red colors in them will be more productive during the summer months. I think this is true of most bass anglers. My favorites on both Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn are redbug, plum-apple, cranapple and watermelon-red. If the skies are cloudy or overcast, I'll lean more toward junebug, watermelon-blue, plum and tequila sunrise.

Whether the bass are in the post-spawn or early summer phase, I feel June will still be producing large numbers of bass; some in the record-breaking category. Maybe some of the tips I've given you will help you to be more successful this month. If not, just enjoy the fresh air and sunshine and thank God that you are able to be there!

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