Spring bass fishing in the kayak can be the best action of the year. It can also get funky quick. There are many changes happening under the surface and the pattern can shift from day to day. The weather also plays a significant role this time of year. Drastic temperature fluctuations can lead to great days and miserable ones.
It’s time to practice adapting and changing strategy often. Some big bass will be shallow and others still out deep or staging. Of course, there is the spawn to deal with too. Making key observations of recent temps and conditions and playing close attention to what you see on the water will help you narrow down where the hungry fish are.
Where I fish it is late spring conditions. The big bass are starting to move up on beds in some lakes and others are still staging and feeding up. I’m not a big bed fisherman but when conditions are just right for sight fishing it can be very productive. My 2017 Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 is the perfect tool for sight fishing.
I can move in stealthily to spawning areas and stand up and scan for fish. I watched my brother use this technique to stick a big bass just a couple days ago. The fish ended up giving him a win in the tournament and big fish pot as well. There were not many anglers bed fishing that day so having the ability to comfortably sight fish in the Pro Angler 14 played a big part in the final results.
I have three baits I like to throw in mid to late spring. One of my go-to baits is a finesse jig. Large bass that are close to spawning seem to have a hatred for small, lively jigs. There is also a lot of crayfish activity in spring so a finesse jig is also great natural representation of a well-used spring food source. Along the same lines, I like to use creature style baits and lizards often this time of year on a variety of rigs. Anything that looks like a nest-disturbing nuisance to the bass can be deadly in the right conditions.
I also like to throw a frog or some other topwater when the big bass have moved up shallow or close. Topwater baits early and late can draw some huge bites. There are many other lures and presentations that will catch fish in spring but you can bet when the fish are close to that full on funky phase these baits will get big bites even when other lures stop producing.
If the fish are not spawning yet look for them in areas close to where they will spawn. Bass can absolutely stack up in warm bays in the spring and with the right wind you can really hammer them. When bass are on the pre-spawn gorge they like to eat big baits. Big crank baits, spinners and swimbaits can all produce. In these situations, I have really come to rely on my MirageDrive 180.
Having the ability to back off a wind-blown shoreline or rock pile has been clutch and directly contributed to my catch totals. Not to mention being able to scoot in and out of bends in a wooded creek channel with precision. When the wind is blowing into a bank holding fish, I point my kayak at the bank and engage the reverse cable so I can maintain casting distance from the bank and avoid being pushed over the fish.
Spring is a time when you can utilize the advantages of a kayak. Shallow fish require stealth. The bass also move into spawning areas that are inaccessible by pretty much anything but a kayak. I can use my MirageDrive to stay in position and perfectly present a jig or plastic to shallow fish even when it’s windy. While spring bass fishing can be unpredictable, one thing is sure… The bass will go through the same routine they always have. Use the right tools and your own instincts to determine what phase the fish are in and adapt.
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