Editor's note: This is the first in a series of fishing solutions from Shimano. Coming up, Summer Solutions and Fall Solutions. Enjoy!
Spring fishing is often considered the best bite of the year. But, when things get tough early in the season, few would disagree that it can get especially difficult. While there are solutions to finding bass when the water gets nasty, there is not a perfect answer that will work on every fishery every day. But, you can catch them if you know where to start.
What stumps many springtime anglers? High, dirty and cold water. Finding active fish under those conditions is a difficult task, and one that must be overcome if a tournament trophy and a paycheck are on the line.
It’s also worth noting that what is happening right now in central Florida is vastly different than what is happening in Tennessee, or even the upper Midwest. However, just about anywhere bass swim, dirty- and cold-water conditions are common during the spring.
And, nobody wants to sit at home.
The key to unlocking productive tactics and techniques during tough conditions: Time on the water. Most of us, however, are bound by obligations to family and career that simply don’t allow for four to five days per week of fishing. That makes it critical to tap into existing information created by anglers who already understand how to catch bass under those specific conditions.
The second most important factor is being able to rely on your gear. With limited time on the water, the last thing you want to worry about is whether or not your rods and reels will hold up. As dedicated anglers, we spend a great deal of our income on an extensive fishing arsenal simply to have the confidence needed to fish adequately, as time allows. Having the right gear on-hand will greatly increase your productivity—even when the water is high, stained and cold.
Who better to learn from than a professional angler? One who earns his living by catching bass spring through fall, regardless of the water conditions? Kalamazoo, Mich., native, Jonathon VanDam lives in an area of the country where weather extremes are a part of life. The summer months are hot and muggy, while winter ushers in bitter cold and iced-over lakes. As soon as that ice melts, it’s time to launch the boat and catch cold-water bass.
The young pro is no rookie. Jonathon VanDam certainly took after his superstar uncle, Kevin VanDam, but he doesn’t want to fish in his uncle’s shadow. JVD is starting his sixth year as a full-time touring Elite Series angler having fished 66 B.A.S.S. tournaments leading into the 2016 season, one of which was a big victory at Green Bay in 2012, and two Bassmaster Classic appearances.
“Cold water is the first obstacle that an angler faces during the spring,” said VanDam. “It’s the time of year when the weather can be tough to forecast, and the success most anglers experience during early spring largely depends on having ideal conditions. If winter is hanging on later in the season it’s easy to assume that you’ll be faced with cold water. To me, that’s the toughest springtime condition to overcome. To complicate the issue, early in the year cold water is typically accompanied by substantial amounts of runoff due to spring rains, which really muddies up the water.”