Spring Bass Tips By Ron Howe

As winter begins to pass and the days get longer the Big female Bass make there move back to there spawning grounds.

These big fish will stack up on steep bluffs that lead to spawning areas. Look for laydown trees or large boulders near spawning bays and coves.

Big Bass will hold here on these trees before and after they spawn. As we get a few warm days these bigger fish will move up in the water column

and suspend near the surface to incubate there eggs. The smaller male bass will be cruising the banks looking for good soil to make a nest on.

This is a great time to take out your slow sinking TY Lures 6-8″ swimbaits. These big suspended females will come and chase a swimbait and eat!

Another good technique is weightless senkos. Make long casts with lighter line like 8lb test watch your line the bites are light. Many times a 4″ senko will be best as it is close to the size of a bluegill or other anoying bait fish. Pumkin colors will work well. Wacky rig in open water areas and Texas rig near cover.

If there is a front that comes in and the weather clouds up these big fish will move down in the water column.

When This happens A Zipper Worm Monkey bug will be a good bait to use. Drag this bait right on the bottom they will attack it.

Good Luck!



Bass in the Grass

Bass can always be found in grass. Grass is one of the most beneficial types of cover for bass. Grass is not only a perfect addition to the cover bass utilize, it is also a great source of shade, oxygen and food supply as well. Much of the food supply for bass lives, breeds and thrives in grass cover and bass can always be found in the grass.

The most difficult part of fishing in grass cover is when there are many acres of green on a body of water. This can make grass fishing an almost “needle in a haystack” type of search. While bass can and will live anywhere in a grass bed there are certain things that concentrate “catchable” fish in specific locations. The search for concentrations of fish in large, grassy lakes became easier for me when I began to understand grass as an addition to cover rather than a source of primary cover. It’s my opinion that bass tend to relate best to forms of cover and structure that are permanent. Stumps, humps, lay-downs, points, rocks, etc., are always good permanent cover/structure areas to locate fish. When you add grass to those types of cover however, they become great areas to locate fish. A small row of stumps or a shallow point for instance that is void of grass may hold few bass or no bass at all. Add a little grass and seemingly insignificant permanent cover or structure can become a bass magnet. I always find that the most productive grass areas will also contain other permanent cover or structure features.

The grass dies back in my area during the wintertime. This is the perfect time to locate productive areas for grass fish. When you can see stumps, brush, rocks or other forms of cover that are normally covered up with grass during the warmer months you will have a head start on locating specific areas that may be more productive. I spend a lot of time looking in shallow water during the winter for any variations in cover or structure. Winter is also a great time to place homemade cover to hold fish when the grass grows back. Many of my best fishing locations in grass have been discovered in the dead of winter when all of the grass has disappeared. Also, many times in the winter or early spring when the grass is gone, I can catch fish on stumps or other cover in an area. Then, when the grass grows back in the warmer months I can often go to those same areas and catch good fish!

Structure is another key element in locating concentrations of grass fish. Break-lines where grass is growing in a river-bend, a point or a hump will be more productive than places without irregular features. Break-lines in front of shallow spawning bays can also be very productive for concentrations of fish when the grass starts to grow back in the spring. Grassy areas near steep drops or creek channels will usually be good areas to look for active fish. The more types of cover and structure in an area along with the grass the better.

Paying attention to how and where grass grows often gives vital details about the structure of a lake. A grass patch in the middle of nowhere for instance could be just a loose mat or it could be growing on a hump loaded with bass. Changes in grass contour can often indicate the type of drop on a shoreline. Changes in grass color after it has topped out can give way to locations of springs or different types of bottoms. Searching for these variations has greatly improved my ability to locate productive areas in grass-filled lakes and rivers. Often, even subtle changes can be the key.

In lakes that have little cover other than grass, locaing bass is difficult at times. Dishpan type lakes that are covered with grass may seem overwhelming. Locating changes in grass types however has helped me many times. Finding small areas that have several different types of grass will often concentrate bass. For instance, a few pads growing in the midst of a large patch of maiden cane can be a clue to a productive area. Reeds growing amidst coon-tail or, patches of milfoil in a hydrilla bed would be good examples. Boat runs, bird nests, gator mounds, muskrat huts and anything that causes a variation in the grass are good areas to look for. Schools of bait fish wandering around in open grass can often be given away by birds in the area and, often times bass will be nearby. Any change in bottom integrity will also be more productive. Once a pattern is established it can usually be reproduced in shallow, grassy lakes.

In river systems, grass is vital to the quality of bass populations. Hydrilla and milfoil for instance not only provide shade, food and oxygen but also provide a great current break in many locations allowing bass to seek refuge from the water flow. Grass creates changes in the current flow and can concentrate bass in areas that otherwise would not hold fish. The backsides of large grass mats often create eddies that concentrate bait fish and are sometimes bonanzas for bass. When bass are active I have found them on the front side of a grass mat facing the flow and feeding on bait fish washed into the grass bed. Grass also allows ample room for bass to reproduce and live – especially on large flats where there would otherwise be no shelter from river current or predators. Isolated stands of hydrilla for instance growing on a large flat provide great cover for catchable fish especially, on either side of a deep creek channel.

I don’t waste much time fishing an area when trying to establish a pattern for bass. Once I’ve located an area in the grass that I feel is going to be productive it usually takes only a few throws to see if it is going to produce. I normally start by making a few long casts with a top-water bait over shallow grass. A Rat-L-Trap or spinnerbait tells the story over deeper grass. Then, I’ll move up closer and pitch a large jig or worm. I try to keep adjusting until I come up with a combination that repeats itself on several fish. Once that combination is found it normally gives way to a solid grass pattern. If I discover a pattern that is only producing smaller fish I’ll keep adjusting till I come up with a better big fish pattern. Often in grass situations big fish and smaller fish are on different patterns.

Concentrating on locating a pattern that includes specific types of cover or changes in the grass saves hours and hours of endless chunking and winding over acres of non-productive vegetation. Large, grassy lakes and rivers are not so intimidating once you’ve learned to isolate catchable fish. The only scary part is knowing you ma

California Delta Fishing the weeds by Randy Walker

California Delta: Fishing the weeds


With the California Delta having so many areas to choose from that hold excellent weeds, the techniques discussed below can all be utilized throughout an entire day of fishing during the right conditions. Fishing docks, rocks and tullies will produce fish, but weeds are a key for bass and should be to you as well.

Weeds help filter an area and keep the water clean, provide oxygen and provide a huge spectrum of forage for the bass, so really this is an excellent type of cover that bass can set up shop in and wait out hot summer days, cold fronts and even heavy fishing pressure. A good weed bed or patch will even block the current and make life a little easier for a bass that wants to relax, but at the same time allows it to take advantage of what the current brings to the hideout. It’s like ordering room service in a sense.

The weeds provide food sources for bluegill, perch and even crawdads which in-turns, provides food for the bass.

Topwater is hands down the most exciting way to fish for bass around and over the top of weeds because of the anticipation of the water surface becoming broken as an explosion occurs and your lure disappears while you watch the entire process unfold right before your eyes. There are several lures that can be used, a few of them being: a spook or other walking bait, a buzzbait and a buzzfrog (ex: Berserk Baits Freaky Frogz and Strike King Rage Tail Shad). Mornings and evenings are said to be the best times to use topwater, but there are times you can catch fish all day long on topwater.

As the bass stop committing to topwater and the bite shuts down, you don’t have to leave the area, you just need to get after them in another way. There are several lures and techniques that can accomplish this, but I like 2 in general which consists of punching a 1 ounce or bigger tungsten weight with various plastics to get down to where the bass feel more comfortable and the other rig I like to utilize is the drop shot and a 1 ounce tungsten weight, which allows you to keep that bait in another zone of the weed patch you are fishing and really put that bait on their dining room table. Both of these rigs will require braid and a superline hook so you can get the fish out of there hiding spots after hooking up.


Throwing lipless crankbaits on braid and ripping them out of the weeds is another way to attack the weeds in the Delta and this method can create some crushing reaction strikes as well. As the bait tics the weeds, give it a little pop and this can trigger the fish to take the bait. You can also use a yo-yo style retrieve if the weeds are in deeper water, which allows you to let the bait drop down to the top of the weeds and then pull up towards the surface. Strikes can come while the bait is taking off towards the surface and even while fluttering back down.

Try adding some of these techniques to your arsenal and hold on, because you never know when there will be a monster bass ready to explode out of the weeds after your bait.


Good Luck,

Randy Walker

All about Large Mouth Bass

SENSES: Largemouth bass have the five major senses common to most animals: hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch. They have another sense, the lateral line, which is a series of sensitive nerve endings that extends from just behind the gill to the tail on each side of the fish. The lateral line can pick up underwater vibrations as subtle as a swimming baitfish. Largemouth bass hear with external ears located within the skull. They may be attracted by the ticking or popping sound of some artifical lures. But when they hear loud unfamiliar sounds, they usually swim to deeper water or cover. Bass can see in all directions, except directly below or behind. In clear water, they can see 30 feet or more. But in most bass waters, visibility is limited to 5 to 10 feet. Largemouths can also see objects that are above water. Largemouths smell through nostrils, or nares, on the snout. The nares are small passageways through which water is drawn and expelled without entering the throat. Like most fish, bass can detect minute amounts of scent in the water. Bass use their sense of touch to determine whether to reject or swallow an object. Sense of taste is not important to largemouth bass as it is to some fish species, because bass have few taste cells in their mouths.

FEEDING: Newly-hatched largemouths feed heavily on tiny crustaceans and other zooplankton until the bass reach 2 inches in length. Young largemouths eat insects and small fish, including smaller bass. Adult largemouths prey mostly on fish, but crayfish, frogs and insects are important foods in some waters. Wherever they live, bass rank high in the aquatic food chain. A bass 10 inches or longer has few enemies and will eat almost anything it can swallow. Because of its large mouth and flexible stomach, a bass can eat prey nearly half its own length. Bass inhale small foods. The bass opens its mouth quickly to suck in water and the food. It then forces the water out the gills while it either swallows or rejects the object. Bass usually grab large prey, then turn the food to swallow it headfirst. As the water warms, the metabolism of bass increases and they feed more often. Largemouths seldom eat at water temperatures below 50 degrees. From 50 to 60 degrees, feeding increases and from 68 to 80 degrees, they feed heavily. However, at temperatures above 80 degrees, feeding declines.

GROWTH: The amount bass grow in a year depends on the length of their growing season, or the number of days suitable for growth. The growing season in the south may last twice as long as it does in the north. Largemouths gain weight most quickly in water from 75 to 80 degrees. They do not grow in water colder than 50 degrees. Although bass in the south grow and mature faster, they rarely live as long as largemouths in colder, northern lakes. In southern waters, bass occasionally reach 10 years of age; in northern waters, bass may live as long as 15 years. Female bass live longer than males, so they are more apt to reach a trophy size. In one study, 30 percent of the females were 5 years or older, while only 9 percent of the males were 5 years or more.

SPAWNING: In spring, when inshore waters reach about 60 degrees, largemouth bass swim onto spawning grounds in shallow bays, backwaters, channels and other areas protected from prevailing winds. Spawning grounds usually have firm bottoms of sand, gravel, mud or rock. Bass seldom nest on thick layer of silt. Some spawning areas are in open water; others have sparse weeds, boulders or logs. Male bass may spend several days selecting their nest sites. The beds are usually in 1 to 4 feet of water, but may be deeper in clear water. The males seldom nest where they can see other nesting males. For this reason, beds are generally at least 30 feet apart, but may be closer if weeds, boulders, sunken logs or stumps prevent the males from seeing each other. Largemouths spawn when the water reaches 63 to 68 degrees and temperatures remain within this range for several days. Cold fronts may cause water temperatures to drop, which interrupts and delays spawning. A female bass lays from 2000 to 7000 eggs per pound of body weight. She may deposit all of her eggs in one nest or drop them at several different sites before leaving the spawning grounds. After spawning, the female recuperates in deep water, where she does not eat for 2 to 3 weeks. Alone on the nest the male hovers above the eggs, slowly fanning them to keep off the silt and other debris. He does not eat while guarding the eggs, but will attack other fish that swim near the nest. Sunfish often prey on bass eggs or newly hatched fry. In waters with large sunfish populations, the panfish can seriously hamper bass reproduction. Bass eggs hatch in only 2 days at 72 degrees, but take 5 days at 67 degrees. Cold weather following spawning will delay hatching. If the shallows drop to 50 degrees, the fry will not emerge for 13 days. At lower temperatures, the eggs will fail to develop. A severe cold front sometimes causes males to abandon the nest, resulting in a complete loss of eggs or fry. From 2000 to 12,000 eggs hatch from the typical nest. Of these, only 5 to 10 are likely to survive to reach 10 inches in length.

Early Season Largemouth

 

The biggest bass in any given body of water are the first to increase their feeding activity in the spring. This may be nature’s way of giving the females a head start. They need additional food to nurture their eggs and gather strength for the spawning ordeal soon to come. If they had to compete with smaller bass, they might not get all the sustenance they need. Bass don’t become truly aggressive until the water warms past 55 degrees, and the peak spring feeding generally occurs when the water temperature climbs into the 60s. But that’s when you’ll get bass of all sizes. You’ll catch more big bass when the water temperature is in the 40s and low 50s. They may be sluggish in the chill water, but they’re still mobile enough to feed. After all, they managed to catch forage fish while the lake was covered with ice. You’ll greatly increase your catch of big, early season largemouth if you fish for them when they’re in a positive feeding attitude. How can you tell when the bass are hungry? The basic rule is: the bass will be biting whenever the water is warming. In the spring, big bass are very sensitive to changes in water temperature. Even an increase as slight as three degrees can start them on the prowl. The more prominent the warming trend, the more it will stimulate the bass. During this period, you need concern yourself only with the surface water temperature, so an inexpensive hand held thermometer will do the job. In a nutshell, you’ll want to go fishing whenever the air is warmer than the water. It makes no difference if the sky is cloudy or clear; warm air will bring up the water temperature. A steady water temperature can also be productive, especially on a heavily overcast day after a significant warming trend. Falling water temperature, on the other hand, will turn the bass off. Probably the worst time to fish would be on a cloudy, breezy day when the air temperature is lower than the water temperature. On most northern lakes, you’ll catch more early spring bass from bays and banks along the northern shoreline. These areas receive the most exposure to the sun and are the first to warm. Riprap or rocky areas tend to hold the heat and can be productive on sunny days. Stumps, brush, and other wood cover are also good bets. Old weedbeds, especially lily pad fields, may attract early spring bass. It all depends on what the lake you’re fishing has to offer. Generally, any cover will have a much greater chance of holding big bass if there’s deep water nearby. Most of your early season bass can be caught with a very small lure selection, such as a jig-n-pig in 1/4 and 3/8 oz. sizes, a thin six inch worm with a straight or curly tail, and a 1/4 oz. spinnerbait with a single blade. The jig is mostly the only lure used when the water temperature is between 40 and 50 degrees. The bass are very sluggish in water this cold, and fishing a jig slowly with a lot of bottom contact is an unbeatable presentation. Cast the jig up on shallow flats and ledges and work it out over dropoffs. When you move it forward, lift your rod only a few inches. Be sure to let the jig sink to the bottom after each hop, and don’t be afraid to let the jig sit for a few seconds before moving it along. Most strikes will come as the jig is falling, but sometimes the bass will suck it right off the bottom. The strikes are usually very light, so pay attention. Set the hook whenever you sense something that doesn’t feel just right. When the water temperature ranges from 50 to 55 degrees, try pitching the worm and spinnerbait in addition to the jig. Cold water bass like smaller lures, hence the thin four or six inch worm comes into play. Rig the worm Texas style with a 1/16 or 1/8 oz. slip sinker and fish it slowly through the best cover you can find in the warmer areas of any given lake. When the water temperature is in the 50s, the bass will take jigs and worms with more authority, so you’ll feel more distinct strikes. A 1/4 oz. spinnerbait is about the right mouthful for early season bass. Single blade models are prefered because they run with a harder, pulsating throb than the tandem blade models. That steady throbbing attracts the bass and helps you detect strikes as well. Early season bass will often latch onto a spinnerbait rather than belt it, and you may not feel the strike. All you’ll notice is that the spinner blade has stopped throbbing. If you don’t set the hook immediately, the bass will spit the lure. And in the early spring, the chances are good that you will have missed a very big bass. During the early season, cast the spinnerbait to cover and use three basic retrieves. One is a slow steady retrieve, just fast enough to keep the blade thumping. Also bring the spinnerbait over a submerged log, stump or brush pile and then stop the lure, letting it sink down into or right next to the cover. Another method is purposely bump the cover before letting it fall. The bass may take the lure as it sinks or just as you continue retrieving. The third early season retrieve consists of a slow lift drop that allows the spinnerbait to touch bottom on each drop. It’s similar to fishing with a jig, only faster, and you lift the spinnerbait higher off the bottom, generally about two feet. These tactics will work on any bass lake, but keep in mind that some lakes consistently produce more action in the early spring than others. Keep in mind also that the early season fishing doesn’t normally yield limit catches of bass. This is lunker time. Seek out warming water and fish jigs, worms, and spinnerbaits slowly and diligently. You may work all day for precious few strikes, but the bass you catch will be enough to make the effort worthwhile.

Large Mouth Bass Habits

First to catch more Bass it is best we understand what are the tendencies of this fish are.  A Bass is an ambush feeder. What this means is a Bass will hide next to, under, in or around a object he can disguise him or herself  with to sneak up and attack food!!

Examples: Under a dock, Next to a log, Inside a weed bed, In the middle of a sunken tree, Near a Rock or boulder in a shade pocket ect.

Now that we understand a little but about where they hide lets focus more on what they need. Bass need Food and oxygen! If these 2 things are non existent than so are the Bass. If you find food you find Bass. Some ways to locate Bass food , if birds are in a area and diving there is a food source there and Mr. or Mrs. Bass will be very near bye. If they have stocked the lake with trout you have big Bass candy. If you see holes in a clay or mud bank on the edges of the creek,lake,or pond most likely they are crawdad holes and Bass will be near bye. Baby ducks are food, frogs are food, rats, mice, snakes, bugs you name it if it moves and they can fit it in there mouth it’s food. Bass are like aligators with fins!!!!! Minus a few teeth of course.

Oxygen is important and Bass need this too! Areas that receive wind will create oxegen and can make Bass more active. Fish the wind its ok. Marinas with a lot of activity in the summer create oxygen. When this happens it stirs up bait fish like minnows and shad and makes the Bass active. Many fish are caught right in the busiest spot of the lakes creeks or rivers.