Thank God spring is finally in the air. For most of the country, this has been a winter for the record books. Ice is going to be slowly disappearing from lakes and ponds all over the Midwest and some of the best fishing of the year is getting ready to start. Bass fishing especially picks up even before the ice is completely off of the water. There are a few tricks on smaller bodies of water for those early season bass. With a little luck, you just might catch your biggest fish of the year before the season really even gets started.
First off, when it comes to bass fishing these early season ponds, focusing on the north end will put you right where the fish will be. This area receives the most sunlight throughout the day so naturally this section will be the warmest. Since this side is the warmest, it will also have the most active early spring life such as insects, lizards, frogs, etc. Bass will be right there up against the shoreline in that warmer water too trying to put on weight while getting ready for spawn.This time of year my tackle box is pretty limited. I really only have a few go-to tried and true options that seem to always find these cold water bass. My first option is a 3” suspending husky jerk. I love to walk up and down the north shorelines or rocky edges bathed in sunlight making long casts just a few feet off of the bank. I try to specifically focus on areas of 4 to 6’ of water with weeds. Bass are pretty nomadic this time of year but once you find one, there are probably more right there with it.
When working the husky jerk, it can sometimes take up to two minutes for a complete retrieve from the moment the lure hits the water to the time I’m ready to make another cast. At some points I allow the husky jerk to pause for up to 30 seconds before a long, slow rod sweep moves the lure a few more feet down the shoreline only to pause again for another 30 seconds. It is important to watch your line during these long dead moments. Sometimes all you will see is a twitch of the line indicating a strike. Bass are pretty slow this time of year so subtle strikes are about all that can be expected.
If a husky jerk isn’t doing the trick, I switch to a very slow moving spinnerbait like a G&G Bait Company Original slow rolled as slow as I can reel it. I switch to this option simply looking for more active fish. Once an active fish is found I go back to the husky jerk to re-work the area hoping to pick up more fish in the area that might be just a little less aggressive. If no more fish are found, it’s right back to the slow rolling spinnerbait and farther down the shoreline. Think of it as a 1-2 combo.