No matter what time of the year it is, and no matter how nasty and cold the weather is, fishing addicts all across the world brave the elements year after year. Through rain, sleet, hail or snow, nothing will stop passionate anglers from doing what they love. While many have no problem braving the elements through all four seasons, most anglers will agree that springtime is their very favorite time to be on the water. The weather is warming, the days are getting longer, and finally, you can leave the well-used Bass Pro Shops 100MPH GORE-TEX at home and enjoy the much-needed sunshine. Here is why I personally love springtime fishing.
After a long, cold winter, the fish (just like people) feel the sunshine, and they are triggered to begin their annual move to shallow water. At this period, fish are ready to feed heavily. Their cold-blooded bodies are warming, and along with that comes an incredible appetite that is a blast to take advantage of. This transition into shallow water generally takes place when the water temperature reaches the low to mid-50s. This is the time when fish are at their most vulnerable and where a wise angler with a knowledge of fish movement can place himself in a position to catch multiple fish out of one area.
Finding yourself in the middle of a school of big, aggressive bass is what hooks most anglers. The rarity of it and the hunger for it to happen again are absolutely addicting and keep anglers out on the water day after day just for the slim possibility.
While it is rare, there are still a few key things to look for in order to improve your chances of landing on the mother lode. Where I find the majority of my schools of bass are on a break line that goes from approximately three feet and quickly breaks into about 10 feet of water. Normally, it will have significantly deeper water nearby for wintering purposes, as well as some sort of shallow flat or pocket where the fish can easily pull up into for the annual spawn, when the water temperature gets into the 60s. Then, of course, there needs to be a good supply of food in the area; normally, this consists of big schools of shad milling around as perfect targets for hungry fish. Find these ingredients, and then it's just up to the angler to present the proper bait into the area, and it's game on.
There are a few key baits and techniques that I use to catch these schooling fish. The main bait I like to throw is the Alabama Rig, or it's pretty, more flashy cousin the Yumbrella Flash Mob Junior with Willow Blades. I like to equip my rig with extremely sharp Gamakatsu Jig Heads. The Bass Pro Shops Sassy Sally Swimbait is my bait of choice; its paddle tail has an incredibly lifelike swimming action, as well as beautiful natural colors to choose from, making them great baits to use on your rig. The rig is very versatile and anglers should experiment with retrieve speed to trigger the fish into biting. As a backup, a jerk bait such as a SPRO McStick will also trigger some fish into biting that the rig did not.
So if you haven't tried the Alabama Rig, I would definitely give it a try. Remember the key ingredients to finding where the fish are stacked up, and then spend some time figuring out the proper cast angle and retrieve speed that entices the fish to bite, and hang on tight. In my last two trips, I have absolutely had a blast finding and catching fish after fish and sometimes more than one on a single cast. If you want to see it in action, you can check out these linked videos on YouTube: Joey Nania Logan Martin Bass Alabama Rig School and Joey Nania A-Rig Addiction. And please check out Bass Pro Shops, Leeds, Alabama, Facebook page for more great outdoor information!
I'll see you on the water!
by Joey Nania