Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

March 1, 2014

Gone fishing with Jerry Miller

How to locate pre-spawn bass in our area lakes

Jerry Miller
Jacksonville Daily Progress


The recent warmer weather has many bass in the pre-spawn phase. This is when you see a mass migration towards the shallow flats and into the back of coves.

I’ve only seen bass spawning in one area and that is in the far north end of Lake Pinkston. Lake Pinkston is a small lake located near Center, Texas, about an hour and a half drive from here. Pinkston is off the beaten path for a lot of anglers, but it does have a good population of big Florida bass.

About a week ago Frank Lusk and I traveled to Pinkston to try to intercept some of the bass before they moved into their shallow spawning area and get harder to catch.

One of the areas of the lake that Lusk took me to was a big spawning flat protected from the north wind. This area received a lot of sunlight during the day and was one of the first places the bass moved up to.

When we arrived at this flat we fished a variety of our most favorite spring lures, including spinners, jerk baits, flukes, sienkos and lizards. The bass simply refused to bite these lures. We knew the bass had to be in this area because the surface temperature was at 57 degrees F. – perfect for pre-spawners.

Out of desperation, Lusk rigged up a trick worm, Wacky style with a nail in the head. Immediately he got a strike and missed two bass. I also rigged up a trick worm and immediately hooked into a two-pound bass.

There were plenty of bass in this area, but they sure were particular. As Frank began to ease down the bank casting out from the bank into about seven feet of water he began connecting with bass after bass, mostly in the two-pound range. For one hour between 11:00 a.m. and noon, Lusk landed a half dozen bass up to six pounds.

After the action subsided, we eventually moved toward the north end of the lake. Lusk landed another half dozen bass this time on a variety of lures, including red Rattle Traps, white spinner baits, and a lizard. These bass were scattered and in depths ranging from 3 to 6 feet deep.

As we approached the far north end of Lake Pinkston near an old flooded road bed, Lusk spotted two bass spawning in the middle of a big stump. Further up we saw several bass spawning on the road bed. It was 2:30 p.m., and we noticed that the surface temperature had risen to 61 degrees F. This is the exact temperature when most bass begin to spawn. We really didn’t expect to see spawning bass this early due to the unusual cold weather we had experienced.

The south wind was blowing hard, making it difficult to fish and feel soft plastics. There was a lot of hydrilla growing in this area. I finally got into the action after I tied on a black and blue 7” floating lizard. I immediately landed two bass up to 6 pounds on the edge of a small creek.

About 4:00 p.m. we finished up and headed home. We ended up that day with 16 bass.

In other lakes I’m finding most of my bass in about eight feet of water adjacent to spawning pockets and flats. On Lake Nacogdoches I found scattered grass growing just off of the bottom in the 8 foot range. The bass in this area struck a slow rolling Nichols’ 1/2 oz. blue shad, Hologram spinner. I catch a lot of bass with this technique, especially during the pre-spawn stage.

It’s important to keep the lure near the bottom just ticking the hydrilla. If it hangs in the hydrilla, just rip it out and hang on to your rod because this usually will provoke a strike.

I fished with Mike Smith last Monday on Lake Jacksonville. Bass fishing was excellent. We targeted the north end above the road bed and caught 55 bass up to nearly four pounds. We saw numerous shad on the surface, and the bass were gorging themselves in the 57 degree F. water. We didn’t catch any bass on the banks. The majority of these bass were in about 5 to 7 feet of water cruising just under pods of shad. The majority of our bass were caught on an umbrella rig which consisted of five 3-inch white Curly Tail grubs and tiny spinners. Some of the bass that were in 2 to 3 feet of water would strike a Nichols’ 1/2 oz. Golden Shiner, Hologram Rattle Shad. A few were caught on a shad, walk-the-dog style bait.

If the weather stays warm and sunny, spring fishing in the shallows should explode soon.



Jerry Miller can be contacted at: gonefishing2@suddenlink.net