Without a doubt, the absolute favorite time to go fishing for a lot of fishermen is during the pre-spawn period. It is a time when the big female bass begin to congregate in staging areas that are in close proximity to their spawning grounds. These egg-laden female bass are very aggressive when they first move up.

When these bass are staging they can typically be found in depths of five to about 12 feet. It’s well known that bass migrate out of deep water or creeks following grass edges, stump ledges, ditches, points and such. They will bunch up on points, grass lines, ledges and drops as they wait for the temperature to rise. This is the time when you really need to keep your eye on your surface temperature gauge. This time of year surface temperatures usually range in the low to high 50s depending on the amount of sunshine available and how severe the cold fronts are.

We always search out the protected coves and pockets this time of year. The more protected they are from the strong winds the faster they will warm up. Seek out these areas. Remember we are in the pre-spawn period. This means you have to seek out the areas where bass first move up to when they migrate out of the deep water. Many fishermen simply go fish areas where they caught fish last spring. The bass may not be in those areas this early in the season.

Just before this last big cold front Joe Parker and I fished Lake Jacksonville hoping to locate some of the pre-spawn female bass. We weren’t disappointed. We fished two cove areas and caught a dozen bass. The first cove only produced two bass in the two to three pound range. in the second cove we found a concentration of three pound plus bass. Our largest bass was just under five pounds. I did hang one huge bass out in the middle of the cove that looked like an eight pounder or so. I can’t say for sure because the big bass spit out my 3/4 oz. Gold Diamond Shad lipless crank bait. The big bass was suspended about five feet down over moss in about 12 feet of water.

I caught five bass over 18 inches on a 3/8 oz. chartreuse and white Booyah spinner bait with Colorado blades. Most of these bass were in slightly dingy water in about five feet of water over hydrilla. The best presentation was to let the bait settle down to the bottom and then slow roll the spinner bait. On overcast days like this day, bass relate to the bottom even in five feet of water. On sunny days they will suspend near the top. The bass were very aggressive. They were all loaded with eggs.

Parker used a suspending Pointer jerk bait to catch his big bass. It was a perfect day to fish except for the 20 m.p.h. wind. I’m sure the heavy overcast skied helped the bite. Our surface temperature gauge was reading 57.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

I believe that these big bass had just moved into this area. If you can locate these big bass when they first move into the pre-spawn areas they are hungry and very aggressive.

This last cold spell really slowed down the bite. As soon as the weather stabilizes, fishing will be hot on Lake Jacksonville and our area lakes.


Jerry Miller may be emailed at gonefishing813@ev1.net

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