How-To

My favorite lures for spawners

Once the season moves through April anywhere in the South and parts of the Midwest, bass are either bedding or getting ready to go onto beds.

While there are some who think that bed fishing is always about coaxing a nesting fish into biting, my guess is that most spawning bass aren’t caught that way.

For example, if you’re fishing shallow down a bank this time of year, there’s a good chance any bass you’re catching are in some phase of the spawn.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the fish are locked on beds but rather involved in the spawning process. They could be females up there utilizing the warmth of the bank to expedite the maturity of the eggs, males looking for potential areas to build a nest, or of course, both up there wanting to procreate.

This is when I target fish pockets off the main lake, in a creek arm or in the back of a creek. I look for warmer water in flat areas where I can find a gravel or harder bottom. I know that’s where the fish gravitate when they are in the spawning mode.

Unless the lake water is clear, there is sunshine or where this is no wind, chances of seeing fish actually on beds from a distance isn’t that easy.

When that’s the case, my favorite method of fishing is with a soft plastic Strike King Rage Bug, a compact bait that swims well. I will Texas rig it on 15- or 16-pound fluorocarbon line with a 1/4- or 3/8-ounce sinker and a 4/0-round bend offset hook. My color choice is blue craw, although I will go to a black/blue if the water is dirty.

After the cast, I sweep the lure off the bottom and drop it back, letting the bait glide. Strikes generally occur on the fall.

I do this down the bank until I get a bite, at which time I will lower my Power-Poles and begin working the area thoroughly. If the initial bite results in a miss, I may cast back in there with a weightless, wacky-rigged Senko or a Senko rigged on a 3/32- or 1/8-ounce Decoy flick shake hook. The tiny weight at the hook’s head adds a little sinking speed and the wire weed guard helps protect it from snags.

Both the Rage Bug and Senkos also are good baits to pitch where you think you see a light spot on the bottom that could be a bed.

Now, when water clarity is limited, I will fish the aforementioned Rage Bug in a dark color or a 4-inch Strike King Coffee Tube (black/red flake) on 18-pound fluorocarbon, a 5/16-ounce slip sinker and a 4/0 EWG hook.

That’s what works for me. Perhaps you have other favorites, but if they’re not doing the job, pick up one of mine and give it a try.