Fishing in Northern California reservoirs for much of my life I have found three tactics that will always put fish in the boat during post spawn thru early summer. There are many other productive baits and tactics that work great that will catch fish, but these 3 tactics have put bigger than average fish in the boat for many years.
1) A topwater walking type bait such as a Ima Little stick, Ima Skimmer, River2Sea Rover, Vixen, Super Spook or the Ima Finesse popper. On the warmer calm days I will lean towards the popper or the Ima Little stick, If fish are schooling and chasing bait I will use the Ima Skimmer due to its fast and erratic action, when there’s a little chop on the water I will use the Rover or the Vixen especially if the lake has Smallmouth and Spotted Bass mixed in, they can get this bait in their mouths much easier. If it’s purely a largemouth factory I like the Super Spook. Look for areas close to coves, creeks, or river arms near where the Bass spawn they will be close bye. First thing in the morning and then again later in the day when shade begins to show near chunk rocks or wood will draw big bites.
Rod and Reel- I use a 7 to 7-3″ Medium Heavy action Abu Garcia or Fenwick and a 7-1 or 8.0 Gear Ratio Abu Garcia reel.
Line-I use 50 lb Berkley braid with a 10-15 lb test Trilene Big Game Monofilament leader spliced in.
2) On windy days or when a mudline is present due to increased boat traffic with warmer weather I like to throw crankbaits, The ima Beast Hunter or the Ima Pinjack will get the nod, this time of year im using bait fish colors such as shad or bluegill, if the water is clear choose more natural or translucent colors if the water is dirty go to baits with chartreuse mixed in. Fish near coves or the first and second points leading away from coves.
Rod and Reel-I use a 7-6″ Abu Garcia Veritas Crankbait Rod.
Line-I like to use 10lb Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon line when throwing crankbaits.
3) On tougher days- I will use a 4.5 Inch drop shot in morning dawn. I do this nose hooked. I target areas near spawning coves or leading to and away from them, such as a bluff wall or point near bye. Many times, the post spawn fish begin to School up and you can really catch them on a drop shot. I like using very light weight at this time of year as these fish tend to be spooky, I like a 1/8oz Reins tungsten weight and I will toss it up to the bank and work it down to 15-20 ft max.
Rod and Reel -I use a Fenwick Elite Tech 7ft medium action rod and a Abu Garcia SX in a size 30.
Line-I like to use 6-8lb test Berkley Fluorocarbon line.
Good Luck Ron Howe
My go to baits:
Glide baits= Sneaky Pete, S-Waver, etc
Chatterbait = D&M
Flipping = Xzone Lures – muscle back craw
I choose these baits because you can target quality bites all throughout the transition out of spawn!
Depending on the body of water you decide to fish, there are a variety of baits you can utilize. Late spring and early summer can be a trash fisherman’s paradise, because fish can be found in all depths of water.
During this time of year you typically have fish in all of the seasonal fish patterns. Transitioning fish, pre spawn fish, spawning fish, and post spawn are the seasonal fish patterns I am referring to. Because of this you can have fish anywhere from six inches of water, all the way out to twenty-five feet or even thirty-five feet of water.
This gives the angler a plethora of different techniques to use to catch fish. There are three baits I prefer when fishing late spring and early summer. If the water temperature is close to seventy degrees I will almost always start out with a topwater bait. I believe highly in this bait especially in early morning or late evening during low light conditions.
If I’m fishing a lake I will use a topwater walking bait such as a River2sea Rover or a Zara spook. The areas I typically fish this bait are around secondary points, as I work my way towards the gut of the cove. I start out fishing the bait as fast as I can, and only slow down if I’m not getting bites or the fish aren’t committing to the retrieve completely. However if I’m catching fish while utilizing this technique, but the quality of fish are lacking, I like to change to a prop style bait such as the River2sea whopper plopper.
Occasionally I have a hard time catching fish on topwater baits, usually because of a full moon, or higher barometric pressure setting in from a passing front. If this is the case I transition to a subsurface approach. My preferred bait of choice during these circumstances is either an IMA suspending vibe lipless crankbait, or an IMA Flit jerkbait.
When I transition to a subsurface bait I still start out with a fast erratic retrieval. If I’m not catching fish I gradually slow down the retrieval until I get bit. For me I like to maximize by ability to cover water, and only slow down when the fish force me to.
If I am struggling to get bit on a moving bait, and I know I’m around fish, I’ll momentarily discontinue all moving baits. The bait I tend to lean on during this scenario is a jig. I’ll still start on secondary points, and work my way back to the gut of the cove. I still employ the same fast retrieval, and only slow down when forced to. Hope this information helps you catch more fish next time you’re out on the water.
I love fishing the post spawn and summer. The fish are moving to their summer haunts and the weather is beginning to stabilize. This time of year, can be quite fickle but you can catch some very nice fish. My personal style is not one of catching numbers but more so looking for plus sized bites. The following recommendations are great baits and all of them can catch you very big bass.
- Picasso Lures Buzzzz Saw: The Buzzzz Saw is a double bladed buzzbait that is perfect for fishing around many types of cover. I primarily target grass flats, tules, and rocks. I choose the Buzzzz Saw for a few reasons. The large blades make for a unique churning noise. The design of the bait allows it to hop up on top of the water easier than any other double buzzbait I have used. This allows me to fish it closer to cover and more effectively.
- Punching/Flipping: many of you know I love to punch and flip around heavy cover. Find the heaviest, nastiest, and shadiest cover you can and make sure to gently place your bait on that target. I choose to use a Picasso Lures Tungsten Weight(3/4oz-1.5oz), Gamakatsu 4/0 Super Heavy Cover Flipping Hook and an X-Zone Lures Muscleback Craw of Adrenaline Bug.
- Walking Baits: Walking baits are a great option on all waterways this time of year. Commonly referred to as a “spook”, walking baits cover a lot of water and can call up the biggest bass. I use a variety of walking baits:
- Ima Skimmer: Smooth, fast, subtle. Perfect for calm days.
- Zara Spook: Versatile, tons of colors, proven fish catcher.
- G-Ratt Baits Wild Willy: Large Profile, Wide Walking, Big Fish Catcher.
Berkley Choppo 120 Perfect Shad- I throwing this on my Dobyn’s Sierra 735 on 50lb. Braid. I’ll throw this first thing in the morning and periodically throughout the day. alternating my retrieve letting the bass determine how they want it.
Zoom Super Fluke- I’m bringing two colors with me, Pearl and Electric Shad fished weightless. If stumble upon a school of bass feeding in a cut or back of a creek. After they stop eating one color all switch to the other to continue the feeding frenzy. I’ll target the shade side of lay down trees or large boulders. It’s also my follow bait for the Choppo.