Jacksonville Daily Progress
I’ve always been told: find the bait fish and you will find the bass. This is a true statement. But what do you do when fishing a big area of the lake and find bait fish scattered everywhere?
This is the dilemma I’ve run into for the past two weeks on Lake Palestine. The shad on this lake are as thick as fleas!
About two weeks ago David Nichols and I launched at the dam on Lake Palestine and started fishing on the deep rocky point at the launch ramp. There were so many shad in this area that it looked like it was raining shad. All over the surface we could see shad dimpling the surface.
I began fishing the rocky point with a KVD 1.5 Sexy Shad crank bait. Instead of cranking the bait real fast as I normally did, I left the crank bait on the surface and gave it short twitches or jerks. There were so many shad near the surface that I hung three shad in a row that were about three inches long. These shad had a bright blue stripe on their backs. We didn’t catch any bass on this point, so we went exploring further up the lake.
Immediately after we began our search I spotted a dozen white cranes on the bank in the mouth of a cove. Whenever I’ve seen cranes bunched up this indicates bass activity. We stopped and started catching bass.
You can catch schooling bass on a variety of lures like Nichols’ 1/2 oz. Rattle Shad baits (blue back) and 1/4 oz. Rattle Traps. Nichols also caught some on a Nichols’ MoJo Hologram spoon. I also caught a few on a bone color Yellow Magic.
Later in the day when the wind began blowing about 10 to 15 mph we switched to a Nichols’ 1/2 oz. Hologram spinner bait. We caught the majority of our bass on this lure.
The Nichols’ spinner bait has been my #1 lure for catching bass up shallow when the wind is blowing. I essentially target points during windy conditions, especially now when there are so many bait fish in the shallows. It pays to target windy points and banks this time of year.
On a previous trip a few days before, Ron Stacey and I caught the majority of our bass on a Crème, pearl, 3-inch swim bait and a 1/4 oz. shad Rattle Trap. We mostly caught nice size sand bass averaging 1-1/2 pounds. We also caught several one-pound Kentuckies. Speed was the key. The bass were in a chasing mode and wanted the bait moving fast.
Right now the surface temperature is near 70ºF. Perfect for schoolers.
We mostly targeted points but at times the bass would chase the shad into the back of a cove. One other time Nichols and I found bass in a main lake pocket. They were mainly in the mouth of the pocket in one to five feet of water.
Most of the schooling activities were on the west bank just up from the dam, although we did find a lot of sand bass and Kentuckies on a secondary point near the Brookshire area.
The month of May is when you can observe a massive shad spawn. Bass become very active in the early morning time. Some days they will feed off and on all morning till about 11:00 a.m.
The secret to locating big schools of bass is to look for cranes. When you see the cranes bunched up, you will find the bass.
Jerry Miller can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org