Prespawn Planning

Spring means largemouth bass spawning time for southern waters and even before the major warming trends invigorate the meager depths, hefty fish have already started thinking about their shoreward movement. Rising from their winter refuges, the fish will utilize well-established pathways en route to the protected shallows. Anglers that capitalize on these movements will find some of the year’s best opportunities for a personal best. Remember, bass are not random; they know the entrances and exits from where they need to visit.

During the prespawn approach, consider where the deep, stable water eases up to a likely spawning bay and then look for the natural pathways. On the contour charts, this will appear as tightly grouped lines opening into broad areas with much wider contour spacing. This represents the angled sides of progressively shallower drains that bass commonly use to approach the spawning flats.

In grass lakes, fish will use the vegetation for cover and feeding, so work the area with a LIVETARGET Rattlebait and LIVETARGET Squarebill Sunfish.Target subtle points, turns, and other irregularities that prespawners prefer and keep watch for peripheral logs or laydowns where a big fish might respond to a well-placed jig.

Under Cover: In shallower water bodies, staging fish often relate to newly emerging vegetation, as well as remnants of the previous year’s growth. One of the most consistent is lily pad stems. Before the plants open again with warming weather, these slender vertical extensions are a great place to throw a Mustad AlphaPoint A-Tak Swim Jig Head with your favorite skirt and a swimbait or craw-style trailer. You’ll also fare well with a LIVETARGET Hollow Body Frog and soft body swimbaits rigged weedless on a Mustad Infiltrator Swim hook.

Call Their Bluff: While you’re considering what's below the surface, also take a look at what’s visible above the water. Bluff walls, those roughly vertical rock faces dropping into deep water offer prime prespawn staging areas for a couple of reasons.

First, unlike a flatter bank that requires a longer swim to achieve depth variances, bluffs allow staging prespawners to simply ascend and descend to find the water temperature and sunlight level they prefer. This is critically important during unstable spring weather, as the fish don’t have to leave during a cold front; they can drop lower in the water column until comfortable conditions return.

Also, a bluff typically has a shelf or sometimes, a stair step deeper in the water column. These areas offer natural staging opportunities, especially when laydowns, logs or other washed-in debris provides a strategic parking spot.

Scanning along the bluff often reveals obvious sweet spots, but don’t overlook the “bluff end.” These tapering sections become shallower and often bristle with rock features well worth a look. Bluff ends pointing into large spawning bays are major stopping points, so invest some map study time prior to your trip and you’ll narrow down the most promising areas.

A LIVETARGET Minnow Jerkbait and crankbaits fitted with Mustad KVD Elite Triple Grip Treble hooks deliver the goods along bluffs, while flipping jigs and craw or creature baits Texas rigged on Mustad Alpha Grip Flipping Hooks are ideal for targeting laydowns, logs, and other sweet spots along the shelf or bluff ends. For deeper fish, try a LIVETARGET Flutter Shad.

Keep an eye on the weather and consider where the big prespawners will position to find their most comfortable positions. Remember, these fish have spawning on their minds, so once a cold front clears, they’ll be back on that shoreward path.


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