It’s mid-May, and the majority of all -- if not all -- the bass have completed their spawn throughout most of the country, with the exception of the northern part of the country. When searching for bass, I like to look near spawning areas for bass that are guarding their fry. You can easily spot the fry by casting a spinnerbait and watching for the fry to scatter. A lot of the bass that are guarding the fry will smash the spinnerbait, thinking it’s a predator trying to feast on its offspring! Even if I see the fry scatter and I don’t get bit on the spinnerbait, don’t think they’re not a being protected.
I will then take a ZOOM Baby Brush Hog, Z Hog or some other type of bait that I can softly pitch into the area and usually catch the adult bass that way. Another great way to catch bass at this time of year is with topwater bait. I prefer topwater chugging bait like a Rico or Gun Fish; fish the bait slow and fast to see what speed the bass prefer that day. If you can spot a laydown log, this is an excellent place to catch a giant; docks are another great spot.
Also at this time of year, you will want to start fishing your crankbaits. Looking at the spawning areas, look for some of the first points you can find, and the ones that may have a drop on them will be the best. Points with stumps or any kind of cover will attract most of the bass, also underwater humps with some type of cover. I use my Lowrance HDS8 with Structure Scan to locate so much of this underwater cover.
Crankbaits like the Strike King series 5 and 6 without a doubt will be the best search baits for this time of year. After I find an area that looks like an ideal area and start fishing the crankbait, I will fish a jig or plastic worm on the spot, as well. Here, you will have to just see what type of mood the bass are in. Some days, they want to chase down their prey, and others, they are more sluggish and you have to bang them in the head to get them to react.
Fishing post-spawn grass is something I do here on Kentucky Lake or other lakes in the country. One of my favorite search baits, then, is a Rat-L-Trap. This bait works well on fish this time of year, and it’s very productive over grass versus any other crankbaits. The reason being is that you can keep it over the grass, allowing it to tick the top of the grass and then jerking it free, creating a reflex strike.
You can control the depth of the Rat-L-Trap a few different ways. One is rod tip angle, holding your rod tip up and by lowering the tip as you retrieve the bait in will keep you in the depth column you’re looking for. Also, line size can be used to control the depth. The smaller diameter of line, the deeper it will fish, and with heavier line, the shallower you can fish the bait.
I will use Seaguar monofilament or fluorocarbon to also control the depth; monofilament is a higher floating line while fluorocarbon sinks, so keep this in mind also.
You can cover a lot of water and fish fairly fast this time of year looking for these types of areas. Slow down once you start seeing fry, and fish that area thoroughly. With the evidence of fry, you know the bass are somewhere close by!
by Scott Patton
Scott fishes the ESPN Bass Master Tour and is a guide on Kentucky Lake.
He is sponsored by: Nitro Boats, Tracker Marine, Mercury Outboards, Bass Pro Shops, Zoom, Costa Del Mar, Rat-L-Trap, Superlex batteries, Kentucky battery outlet, Seaguar, Louisville Mechanical and Elite pro tackle.
Scott Patton Guide service 731-227-9499