This is the third stop of the Bassmaster Elite season, and this is my third time to come to Lake Hartwell. This is my first time here in April, and it’s quite different so far. The first two times here were in February and March. My first-ever Classic was here, and it was 9 degrees at takeoff. Thankfully we have awesome weather here this week, and the lake is fishing well. The fishing should get better every day.
Obviously there are a lot of options this week with both largemouth and spotted bass playing a role. This is also what we call a blueback herring lake. Blueback herring can really affect how bass act, but during the spawn it’s not quite as pronounced. The water temps are warming by the day and there’s no doubt that sight fishing will play a role in this tournament.
Hartwell is 70,000-plus acres so fish can be in different stages in different parts of the lake. It will be interesting to see where it all goes down. It’s important to pick an area and stick with it, and I’ve done that. I just hope I’m in the right area this week.
April is a month where you can catch bass about any way you like, but if I had one bait for when the fish are spawning it would always be an X Zone Muscle Back Fat Finesse worm wacky-rigged on a Neko rig. I fish it on an MHX NEPS81MXF rod with 10-pound Vicious braid and 10-pound Vicious fluorocarbon leader and a Mustad size 2 Titan X Wacky Neko hook. It will get you bites when they are spawning, and big ones will bite it too.
Y’all stay tuned here to Bassmaster.com and see how this one goes down. I promise you these guys will catch them and hopefully we can teach everyone a thing or two to help catch more and bigger bass.