Throughout the country, spring is prime time to cash in on numbers of aggressive bass emerging from their deep water winter haunts. However, if you don't know where to look, prespawn can also be a frustrating time. Elite Series angler, Michael Iaconelli, has some tips for locating bass in early spring that will help you catch prespawn bass on your favorite lake, regardless of where you live.
Iaconelli's search for prospective prespawn locations begins on dry land with a lake map and a selection of markers. "I can actually look at a paper map of the lake and pick out the best areas to catch fish during the prespawn period," he claims. "I will take a red marker and circle the biggest spawning flats that I can find. Then, I'll get a blue marker and circle the best deep water areas like creek channel bends and main lake points near deep water."
With both areas circled, Iaconelli then begins to "connect the dots" by looking for the areas on the map that are between the red and blue circles. "By circling the deep water and the spawning flats, I'm able to distinctly see the key places where the bass will position before moving up to spawn," he explains. "I'm looking for main points, secondary points, and contour breaks."
Once on the water, the New Jersey pro typically looks for northwestern banks when beginning his quest to find prespawn bass. It all comes down to finding the warmest water possible. "This time of year, the predominant wind direction is out of the northwest," he explains. "The banks on that side of a lake or cove usually are sheltered from the wind and the colder water, and they warm up the fastest."
More so than any other time of the year, Iaconelli is hypersensitive to water temperature during the prespawn and says that a single degree can make a huge difference. "It's amazing what a tiny temperature difference can do to an area during this time of year," claims Iaconelli. "I usually don't stress about water temperature, but during the prespawn, one or two degrees can dictate where the fish will be located. If I go around the lake and find a pocket that is one-degree warmer than the others, that's the one that I'm going to fish because it makes that much difference during the prespawn."
With water temperature playing such a big role, Iaconelli says that direct sunlight on specific surfaces can be important. For example, brown grass mats that are dead will absorb more heat than green grass. On a dock, black Styrofoam floats will absorb more heat than white or blue floats. "The little stuff can make a big difference," opines Iaconelli.
For the angler fishing a new lake for the first time during the prespawn, Iaconelli puts the game plan in rather simple terms. "Start by targeting coves, pockets, and creeks that are facing northwest and look for the warmest water you can find in areas between deep water and spawning flats. Those are the most important factors in prespawn success."
Originally published March 2010.