The weather is teasing us with springtime conditions, so if you’re looking to get a jump on bass, here’s a couple of ideas.
In the spring, bass hang out in spawning beds, so concentrate on shallow areas, especially in pockets and coves protected from the wind because this is where they like to guard their eggs.
They’ll bite as much out of irritation with the lure as they will because of hunger.
Also, make your bait seasonal. Depending on the time of year, bass eat different bait. Early in the year they like crawfish, so use peach-colored patterns. In the summer and fall they like shad, so use chrome or silver baits.
Gibson County Lake
Water temperature: mid 50s.
Bass: “Use lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits in shallow water,” Trenton’s Brent Smith said. “But, there a lot of seven-to-10-pound fish that are being caught in 12-to-25-feet on umbrella baits, deep-diving crankbaits and plastics.”Crappie and
Catfish: Tough sledding.
Water temperature: 50 degrees. Elevation 410 feet.
Bass: “Bass are starting to pick up in numbers in Pickwick Lake,” Clagett Talley said. “The last few trips have boated a good number of fish. The majority of the fish are in shallow water, on flats in stumpy areas.”
Clagett, a tour guide from Savannah, recommends you cast through these areas with a Red Eye Shad or spinner bait.
“Suspending jerk baits are working well on shallow ledges and points,” Clagett said. “As far as fishing below the dam, I have had a lot of luck on small Strike King Series 3 crankbaits and grubs.”
Clagett said below the dam, largemouth and smallmouth bass are hit or miss most days, but spotted bass are constantly biting.
“The river seems to produce more and more spotted bass each year,” Clagett said. “Strike King Series 3 and Strike Shad are working well – both above and below the dam.”
White bass: “Fish gravel banks in the Shiloh area for white bass with a white grub or small series 3 crankbait,” Clagett said. “White bass should be fairly easy to catch throughout the spring.”
Stripers: “Stripers are throughout the river and lake, but it is just hard to fish for them right now,” Clagett said. “You can occasionally catch some on Strike King Series 6XD crankbaits around the dam.
Clagett said he expects stripers to bite better from this point on.
“Over the next few weeks, I expect to see some of the biggest stripers I will see all year … and the numbers will increase after that,” Clagett said.
Sauger: We may be headed for spring, but sauger is still in style.
“A lot of fishermen stop sauger fishing around this time of year either because they think it is over, or because they start bass fishing,” Clagett said. “But this is a great time to go sauger fishing. I usually catch better quality fish and more keepers than I do in the prior months.”
Clagett said for some reason, it seems that sauger are not as picky when it comes to what you tip your jig with – a minnow or plastic bait.
“Naturally, I will choose a plastic bait and it performs well,” Clagett said. “The standard way of fishing with a sauger jig in water as shallow as 15-feet (or) water as deep as 60-feet will continue to work throughout March. Look forward to catching them on crank baits in the next few weeks.”
Want more from the “Mayor of Pickwick Lake?” Give Clagett Talley a call (731) 607-5266 or visit www.pickwickareaguide.com
Kentucky Lake/Lake Barkley
Water temperature: mid 50s range even with cooler weather. Water color: stained to muddy. Larger bays muddy in the back with recent rain. For the next 15 days, it is very evident that the spawn is going to be at least two weeks early this year.
Bass: “The fish are still biting pretty good, and the weather is certainly better than normal for this time of the year,” Darrell Van Vactor said. “Bass are feeding good and being caught in the shallows in the backs of the major bays where water conditions are not overly stained, and they are hitting jerk baits; Do Nothing worms and lipless cranks.”
Darrell Van Vactor is the president/CEO of Outdoor Promotions, Inc., Benton, Ky.
“Better fish are being caught out on the ledges in front of the bays using black/blue jigs, swimming flukes and (Katch)her baits,” Darrell said. “The warm rains are helping move bait fish to the backs of the bays so expect the more of the fish to continue to move in.”
Crappie: “They are scattered ,with fish being caught in seven-to-10-feet stake beds, and out in 20-foot drops as well,” Darrell said. “The better size fish are deeper right now, and jigs tipped with minnows are the ticket.”
Darrell said the fish are wanting a little meat on the hook right now.
“Black crappie are moving up on the rocky points half way back in the major bays and are hitting green or chartreuse jigs fished under a float and worked slowly,” Darrell said. “Expect to see the fish moving into four-to-eight-feet of water in the next week or so.”
Catfish: Darrell said cats are slow, but a few are being caught in the tail waters of Kentucky Dam on shaded sides.
(PHOTO: Lake Graham)
David Thomas, Twitter – @DavidThomas@WNWS