BassWestUSA - January/February, 2011, Page 70





early spring, the air and water temps are warm- ing and we all know what that means - the big girls are on the move. In this article I will go into how I approach a lake in early spring. The thing I do rst is to gure out what side of the lake gets the most sun. The reason for this is that part of the lake warms quicker and the sh will be earlier in their pre-spawn pattern. From there, I look for good spawning ats where I think the sh will be spawning soon. Even if they are not spawning yet, this gives me an idea as to where they are heading. I like to start on the points outside these spawning bays using a variety of baits. My go to bait for this situation is a ripbait. For a rod and line, I use my Irod 703 with ten pound mono. I like the softer rod because for one, it’s less fatiguing on your arms and also prevents you from pulling the hooks out of the sh’s mouth. The mono line also helps as a shock absorber, I nd that uorocarbon does not have any stretch and also it sinks too fast and can foul your bait up during long pauses. Depending on the lake depth I chose only a few different rip baits. For deeper situations it hard to beat the Lucky Craft Staysee 90 and for shallower situations I like the Lucky Craft Pointers. I have recent- ly started to experiment with the Slender Pointer which has a dead-on resem- blance to a shad when ripping it. My retrieve will vary throughout the season and with what the sh want that day. It’s not always rip-rip-pause. In the early season I start with longer pauses and as the water temp rises I speed up my retrieve. But sometimes that’s not always the case. I have been out there


when they are chewing the bait with a fast retrieve and then the next day, they want a long pause between rips. Another tip is when you pull up to a point and you are catch- ing them every cast and then the action stops, just change your retrieve and angle and get them red up again. And when the bite shuts down completely, I like to throw a Zoom Fluke back on the sh. The Fluke is also an excellent follow-up bait whenever you miss a sh on a ripbait. So now that we have all that covered, let’s go into more of the sh’s movements. We started on outside points early in the season and as the water warms, we will the move toward secondary points and then even further back in the spawning bays. Even when the sh are on the beds, a shallow ripbait ripped over their heads in low light situations is an overlooked tactic for spawning bass. For this situa- tion I will use a longer pause when I know where the bed is located. I hope this advice helps you this spring and remember to al- ways listen to the sh and don’t get frustrated; we learn more from tough days than we do from the good ones. BW


January/February 2011

’Sullivan Photo by Dan O