Memorial Day swimbaits in a military town

Memorial Day is a pretty special time for my family and I. We live just down the road from many great soldiers at Fort Knox Army Base in Kentucky. Plus my paternal grandfather served in Korea, and three other members of my family served in the military too.

Truly, Memorial Day should be just as the name suggests, a day, or an entire weekend, where we focus on remembering all those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

It’s also a great three-day weekend for many Americans to share time with family and treasured friends — as a kid that meant trips to Kentucky Lake to catch big bluegills and redear sunfish with dad and grandpa Woody. 

These days, it means searching for schools of fat largemouth out on underwater ledges and river channels after they finish spawning. And it’s tough to beat a swimbait as a simple tool for connecting with them in their deeper water, early summer locations. 

But before I dive into the swimbait, let me say first, it’s critical that you have the best sonar/GPS mapping unit you can possibly afford. Without this quality piece of equipment, finding “summer schools” is very difficult. Not only will it help you see depth changes and brush piles, but the mapping portion should show the major river and creek channels – and that’s where big bass like to be after the spawn.

In a perfect scenario, you’re looking for bass in depths of 15 to 30 feet where the river or creek channel is nearest to a big shallow spawning cove or flat.  And finding a brushpile near that channel drop off is like the mustard on a hot dog.

Now, some anglers like a 10-inch worm or a deep-diving crankbait for this situation, but one of the simplest lures you can throw to connect with postspawners near ledges is a 3/8 to 3/4 ounce Cumberland Lures swimbait head with a 5-inch Berkley Power Swimmer on it.

It’s really as easy as casting it out beyond the school you’ve located on your sonar, counting it down to near the bottom, and slowly winding it back through the school of bass in what will likely be that 15 to 30 foot depth range I mentioned earlier. I like to throw mine on 15- to 17-pound line. 

Don’t make it complicated. This can be an easy way to catch ‘em. But mostly take time out to remember our soldiers, while enjoying the goodness of time on the water with family.

And hey, if you don’t have that quality sonar and mapping unit for Memorial Day, don’t forget, Father’s Day is right around the corner. So maybe you could drop somebody who loves ya a helpful gift-buying hint between now and then.