Don’t wait too long, part 3

The bass are starting to move. I know it’s January, and I know it’s been colder this month than last. I don’t care. The bass are starting to move. Better yet, there’ll be a full moon in less than a week. It’s time to go bass fishing.

Prespawn bass will be our first target. They’re moving and they’re eating, but not all the time. They seem to be following the weather as much as they’re following the baitfish. What should we do?

When they’re in that off and on pattern of moving and eating, the best thing is to look around until you find some that are moving and feeding. If they’re totally turned off, they can be very difficult to catch. Don’t be discouraged. We all struggle from time to time when it comes to the prespawners. But time to time doesn’t mean all the time. When they’re on you can load the boat with heavyweights in no time at all.

I’m not going to mention any specific lures. There’ll be a dozen articles up about that. Everyone has a favorite. My suggestion would be to fish with something you have confidence in and that looks like the local baitfish. That’ll be their primary food source.

But don’t neglect crayfish looking lures if that’s a primary forage in the lake you’re fishing. They’ll move in surprisingly cold water. I suppose that’s because they’re affected by factors other than water temperature, much like the fish.

Once they get on the beds you’ll have a visible target to attack. Trying to catch a bedding bass is much like trying to catch a prespawn bass. Some of them will grab a big plastic creature bait or a jig of some sort right away. Others won’t grab anything no matter what you do.

This kind of bass fishing can be a challenge, but it’s one that’s interesting and has its rewards. There’s no way I can cover all, or even a small percentage, of the ways guys have devised to catch a big female bass when she’s on her bed. Think creatively and look around for ideas to put to work under real-world conditions. There’s no aspect of fishing where time on the water matters more.

Our last fish, and the easiest to catch, are the postspawners. They may rest for the first day or two right after they leave the beds but from then on until they move out for the summer all they want to do is eat.

Basically, you can catch them on anything in your tackle box. Topwater plugs are a favorite of mine as are crankbaits. Spinnerbaits will catch them and so will jigs and plastics. They won’t be as heavy as prespawn or bedding bass but they’ll give you plenty of action, and that’s what it’s all about unless all you care about is tournament weight.

All this won’t happen in distinct stages. You’ll find some prespawners at the same time most of the bass are bedding. And, if you look around, you can probably locate a handful of postspawners at the same time. The important thing is to get out on the water early so that you’re in a position to take advantage of what’s happening now, not yesterday.