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4 Tips on Pre-Spawn bass fishing


The pre-spawn chaos can be overwhelming, the search for big bass and that lifetime trophy are in full swing, and fishing pressure will just get heavier as each day passes and the water temperatures warm. The pre-spawn patterns make some fishing days great, while rapid changes in weather due to frontal systems and high pressure can leave anglers wondering where all of these aggressive fish went in such a short amount of time. Here are my four tips of targeting pre-spawn patterns and catching your fish of a lifetime.

Tip #1- The Wacky Rig

The wacky rig was for a long time in my life something I knew about, but I had never really had too much luck with it. This all changed about two years ago on a hot summer day, when I hooked up a wacky rigged Yum Dinger and began skipping and flipping it under docks and overhangs with incredible results. Since then, I have become what some of my friends call Mr. Wacky, I really focus on this presentation because there’s not a lot of people who consistently work and target fish with it at various depths. What I mean by this is everybody throws a weightless wacky in the summer, but I throw them on weighted jig heads in Pre-Spawn, various weighted hooks in summer, and once again in fall and winter. Whether I am targeting fish in the shallows, or fish in 15-20 feet of water, the suspending presentation of this lure is hard to beat.

Tip #2- Always have a one – two punch combination

My one two punch consists of a Zoom Super Fluke, and a Yum Dinger, both in watermelon red. I will work one bait presentation for a set amount of time, and then double back over the same area with the follow up bait. Which one goes first and which one goes second is never a set thing, but what is certain is the follow up bait produces bigger and more fish over the same worked area every single time. To the point that on Kentucky lake I have worked behind 3-4 bass boats on the same shoreline and consistently pulled off  2 – 3lb bass right behind where 3 other boats just worked. Having a one – two punch combination is crucial to consistently producing good bag limits in limited amount of time during tournaments.

Tip #3- Understand where the fish are holding-

We all see big bass cruising the flats this time of year and want to target those big flat areas in hopes of enticing a monster. But when you really look at productive approaches, and where the majority of fish stage this time of year, you will realize that targeting the flats is highly ineffective unless you are specifically targeting beds. I have noticed that I consistently produce bigger bag limits when I switch from the flat areas, to directly targeting the drop offs and sloping banks adjacent to these flats. The word drop off doesn’t always mean a large drop in depth to me, I consider a 2 foot flat that drops down to a 5 foot area a drop off,  and that is what I really focus on this time of year. I look for a 1-2 foot water depth up against the bank that has 5-10 foot water within 10-20 feet of the bank. This terrace-like feature is a money maker during Pre-Spawn through Post-Spawn patterns when worked with plastics and top waters as the water warms up. Just remember the fish are very active during this phase and while they will be cruising and searching for an area to spawn they are also creatures of habit and will remain in the same general depth/feature patterns throughout this spring.

Tip number 4- Be persistent and methodical

The bass moving up to spawn follow very specific and predictable patterns, frontal systems and rapid weather changes will alter the fish’s behaviors and predatory behaviors in terms of aggressiveness and what they will strike at and why. But unless that water temperature rapidly drops more than 5 degrees and stays that way for over 7 days, the bass will not retreat back to the primary points and deeper water unless they absolutely have to. Fish are efficiency minded creatures and will not expend energy or perform big changes in location if they don’t have to.  If you are catching fish in a cove ,or on a primary point before a weather change, target that same area after the weather change but change up your presentation and move just a tad bit deeper. If the fish were holding in 2-4 feet of water move to 6-10 foot marks and target that area of the drop off or cove. Changing up from crank baits and bladed baits such as spinner baits or chatter baits, to a more subtle approach like a Carolina-rigged worm, or finesse bait like a fluke or stick worm can be absolutely game changing in terms of fish production.  This might sound “corny”, but always think, if I were a fish how far would I go to use the least amount of energy and still be better situated for the changing weather.

At the end of the day different water bodies produce different patterns and bait presentations during this time of year, but understanding how the fish think and how you can make change-ups to better approach these fish can have huge pay offs during the springtime. Stay safe, always wear a PFD, and don’t forget to fill out a US Coast Guard float plan to leave with a friend or family member in case you are late,  so authorities know where to start searching for you. This single sheet of paper could save your life.

Pre Spawn Curveballs and how they will catch you more fish.

In baseball after a few fastballs thrown at a batter, a curve-ball can throw everything off and lead to a mistake, this post is about throwing a curve-ball at Pre-spawn bass and how it can help you catch more fish.

With the spring weather starting to warm the waters, and cold fronts becoming less frequent,  the Pre-Spawn stages are here. The Pre-Spawn stages and patterns are generally initiated when water temperatures average 50 degrees to 55-ish degrees Fahrenheit. The bass will start to move from the deeper winter staging areas to the transitional zones between the winter areas and their spawning areas.

One thing to keep in mind is every body of water is different, a lake with a maximum depth of 50-100 feet is going to be a completely different strategy to target this water temperature than the rivers and creeks I fish, that max out around 15 feet.  Transitional areas are generally 8-25 feet deep depending on the depth of your water body. Bass will spawn in anywhere from 2 feet to 12 feet deep depending on the water level fluctuation of your area and the water temperature swings of the current season. The reason for that is the water at deeper spawning flats stays more consistent than the faster temperature swings from the surface down to 2 feet.

Targeting Pre-Spawn bass is one if the highlights of bass fishing, the bass are extremely aggressive and at their heaviest weight when they are fully stocked from a spring of feeding to get them through their spawning cycle.  Its not uncommon for the same bass to weigh 3 lbs more in the Spawning season than if you caught that same bass in the summer. Most people will target Pre-Spawn bass with crankbaits, spinner baits and Alabama rigs. This tactic of imitating a fast-moving baitfish produces some great numbers of fish and will be consistent until the bigger fish start bedding down. However, everybody and their mother is going to be throwing those three bait styles. The fish this time of year will be heavily pressured because it is one of the best times to get out and catch a trophy fish and quite possibly the fish of a lifetime. And here enters my strategy.

During this phase I will use some crankbaits and spinner baits, and even a jig occasionally, but my main tactic is a finesse approach. I almost always throw a wacky rig, weightless senko and fish it between 6-18 feet deep. To say this bait sinks slowly is an understatement, a weightless senko falls at a very slow rate through the water column and provides a wacky rig action that when fished correctly can be absolutely the most productive bait in your tackle box. In the last two weeks, I have made 3 trips that are about 3-4 hours a piece. I have averaged 10-12 fish per day and so far, landed a 6.5lb and 5lb bass this week alone. Everyone else in this river is throwing fast moving lures targeting big aggressive fish but they forget that the fish see so many crankbaits and so many patterns that they are very skittish of a fast-moving rattling bait.  The river I fish doesn’t have huge schools of shad, it doesn’t have large schools of minnows that are balled up like other reservoirs, these fish attack a slow moving senko much more aggressively than crankbaits and most people don’t even associate fishing a finesse rig this time of year.


In conclusion, you will do more for your bass fishing statistics and personal best marks to pay attention to what the fish are being pressured with and vary your approach accordingly, presenting a different style of bait in a different manner with lead to more fish and bigger fish than anyone else out there on the water. This doesn’t mean don’t use what is producing fish for everyone, but when the bite starts shutting down over time, or you realize a size decrease in your fish landed that is the time to change your tactics and land the monsters. Stay safe and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook for more bass tactics and strategy as well as preparation or the KBF National Championship on Kentucky Lake in March/April