fat bass

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This bass is still full of eggs, but others are already spawned out.

The bass fishing right now is probably at its peak time. We’ve had a stretch of warm weather that should have the bass moving up on the beds. Some will be just finishing the spawn and coming off the beds as others take their places. This is the time of year to be catching some quality bass.

Missy and I managed to get out and go fish two weeks ago when the first batch of warm weather blew through. It was a little windy out, and I wanted to get somewhere we could spend some time fishing. I opted for a lake south of Lake Wales and knew that it had some canals. Most of the canals have houses built up on them, but one in particular has no houses at all — and it happens to be the canal closest to the lake. That was my spot.

The weather was slightly overcast. There was no rain, but clouds would come in and keep the temperature at a decent level. My whole goal was to make sure that we fished very thoroughly. I wanted to cast towards the edges and be really slow with my presentation.

I was using a 5-inch black senko with blue flecks and a blue tail. I alternated this bait with a quarter-ounce spinnerbait with gold willowleaf blades and skirt with blue flake. This is a great bait to replicate both golden shiners, a natural bass forage here in Florida, and bluegills, which are predators of bass eggs.

When the clouds moved in, I used the spinnerbait. As the sun appeared, I would throw the senko. It wasn’t long before I had caught two on the spinnerbait, and one of them was over 3 pounds. As the sun appeared, I slowed the trolling motor and caught one that weighed in at 8.5 pounds. That thing was awesome.

I no more than got the bass off my hook when Missy said she had one as well. She pulled hers in and that bass weighed just over 6 pounds. And we weren’t done. I managed one more over 4 pounds and caught several other smaller bass as well. I hadn’t had a day like that in a long time.

After looking back at that day and analyzing what we had done, it didn’t surprise me that we had the success that we did. The big one I caught had already spawned out. That fish should have weighed in over 11 pounds prior to the spawn. The bass my wife had caught had not spawned yet. She was thick and fat.

But we each caught a big bass, and it so happened these two bass were on back-to-back casts. One had spawned and the other had not. So the best we could tell is that the bass were on the move. By fishing soft plastic baits really slowly, we could cover a lot of water and make sure the bait stayed in the strike zone a long time.

What really hurt was that we each lost fish as well. Missy had her rod doubled down to the bottom eye on her rod, while I ended up breaking two bass off that I couldn’t even get turned around. I guess for us, that was about as close to the “perfect storm” of bass fishing as we have ever seen together. We had a great day.

I recommend finding an area that has a slight dropoff. Where we fished had a depth change of only about 18 inches. We would cast into the edge that was about 2 feet deep, and bring the bait out to the edge where the depth went to 3.5 feet or more. Every one of our bites came near that drop. We made long casts to our target areas, then brought our baits back slowly and left them hanging around the dropoff.

If you ever had the urge to get that bass over 10 pounds, this may be the best time for that possibility to become a reality. Take the time to go out and work over an area that you know holds spawning bass. Try to find shallow water area with some sort of vegetation on a hard sandy bottom, then try to locate a slight change in depth and fish it thoroughly. Hopefully you’ll have the same luck that my wife and I had.

Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes lakes throughout Florida’s Heartland and enjoys RV travel around the Southeast with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.

Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes lakes throughout Florida’s Heartland and enjoys RV travel around the Southeast with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.

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