Know The Seasonal Patterns
Lawrence Dwonch had loved fishing when he was young, and when his girlfriend bought him a guided fishing trip, his passion for fishing came back strong. He got into tournament fishing, and now fishes Bass Junkiez, Wild West Bass, and JML.
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The Time Of Year
When we went out with Lawrence, we fished Bartlett Lake. This time of year, the lakes are almost always falling, which makes the fish move out away from shore for the most part. Lawrence used a Rick Clunn jerkbait to target them in main lake coves, then moved out to the cliffs later on and used a drop shot and crankbaits.
The most important thing is to understand seasonal movements of bass, Dwonch says. If you know that, you can find them on any lake. Start with the seasonal locations, then fine tune it by taking weather and water movement into account.
In The Spring
For instance, in the spring when bass spawn, a lot of them will be up shallow. But, when bass are actively spawning, the active ones may be mostly little buck bass protecting the nest.
For bigger fish, you may have to fish for the big females that are locked on the beds, or you can go out a little deeper and fish for the ones that are already done spawning, or waiting for the next moon. Not all the bass in a lake spawn at the same time.
In The Summer
In the summer, the hotter water near the surface doesn’t hold as much oxygen, so bass like to stay deeper. Search channels, ends of points, rock piles, and steep stuff like bluffs, pilings, and cliffs.
You don’t have to use slow baits – you can bounce or drag a jig or a worm, but you can also fish a spinnerbait or a deep crankbait. At night use a dark bait that will show up better silhouetted against the sky.
In The Fall
In the fall, the fish come up shallow again and will eat just about anything. You’ll find them moving up from where you found them in the summer into shallower stuff like flats to feed. Any flat near a good channel is always a great place to try, no matter what time of year it is.
Bass have to eat no matter how hot or cold the water is, so knowing where the shad and crawdads are will tell you where to look for the bass.
In The Winter
Winter slows fish down and moves them deeper as well. Doodling, worms, jigs – all these are great winter baits. And don’t forget spoons! Look for the bass on your graph (or look for all the boats in one area if you don’t have a graph), and drop the lures down to them.
They may be sluggish in the cold water, so you’ll have to move the bait a little slower to tempt them.
Practice Is Important
Practice is extremely important for anyone who wants to fish tournaments, says Dwonch, but even a person who only gets out to the lake a few times a year will benefit from knowing the seasonal patterns of bass.