The concept of pattern fishing for bass was first defined by Roland Martin in 1969: "A 'pattern' is the exact set of water conditions such as depth, cover, structure, temperature, clarity, currents, etc., which attracts fish to a specific location and to other similar locations all over the same body of water." In Pro Patterns, we interview a top bass fishing expert to get insights and details of his favorite pattern that will help you catch more and bigger bass. Print these patterns to create a notebook that will help you catch bass anywhere and anytime.
When the shad begin spawning in impoundments, hungry postspawn bass are drawn to those areas. That's where you will find Elite pro Gerald Swindle chucking a spinnerbait. He says the bite is unique and can produce the most violent spinnerbait strikes of the year. When you see shad trailing your lure during the retrieve, look out. "A bass will follow the shad, and when they scatter, the bass instinctively hits the spinnerbait."
Water temperature: Low 70's
Water color: Not an issue, although a little stain can help.
Wind/current: The shad won't spawn in direct current, but any wind blowing into the spawning area will make the bass bite more aggressively.
Structure: Shallow flats and shoreline
Cover: Rocky banks and grassbeds
Depth: Rarely deeper than 6 feet
Lure: Half-ounce War Eagle double willow spinnerbait. If water is clear or slightly stained, throw a blue glimmer skirt. If the water is dirty, try the "spot remover" color (chartreuse/white). Experiment with gold and silver blades. There are days when one works better than another. Add a red Eagle Claw Trailer Hook to the back of the spinnerbait to catch the short strikers.
Rod: Quantum 6-10 KVD spinnerbait rod
Reel: Quantum 6.3:1 gear ratio baitcast reel
Line: Vicious 17-pound-test fluorocarbon
Cast/Flip/Pitch: Cast parallel and tight to rocky banks, bushes or grass and watch for shad to follow the lure. That's critical
Retrieve: Medium speed to keep the spinnerbait beneath the surface.
Keys to Success
The pattern works best during the first hour or two of the morning. Determine what type of cover the shad are spawning on and you can duplicate throughout the lake. One clue to spawning shad is look for the baitfish swimming in circles — that's a dead giveaway.