Spring Up, But Slow Down

By Kurt Dove

This spring get out and wet a line ... but be sure you fish at a slow pace to start off the year!

It seems as though when I get into the spring spirit I am moving along at a pretty good clip. I am taking care of chores just as fast as they hit the to-do list typically because I can't wait to hit the water and start winding in those active bass. They start actively moving as the water temps start to warm with the longer daylight hours and warmer air temperatures. Once I get out there on the water I find myself ripping through the cover on my new hot fishing spots with little or no success. I can't quite understand.

Slow Presentation Is Key

The water is warming, the fish are moving to the shallows and they are hungry to fatten up for the spawn, right? Well yes, but what often goes untold is the fish are still moving at a slow pace and so it is important we move and fish at a slow pace as well to be successful during the early spring. Often times in the spring when you find a location holding bass then slowing down can really make a more productive day. The bass are moving in to feel the warmth of the higher water temps but their bodies need time to adjust to the warmth before they become really active and move aggressively all the time.

Cranking or moving your baits slowly through the water is typically the best approach this time of year. Don't get me wrong ... use your reaction lures, but use them with a slow presentation. For example, when winding your lipless crankbait make sure to crank at a slow enough speed to just barely make the lure vibrate while ticking along the bottom. When twitching your jerkbait make small movements with your rod tip to keep the bait in the fish's strike zone longer. When the fish do get really shallow and start to nest, your plastic lure presentations will be much more effective crawled slowly across the bottom rather than hopped quickly.

Mentally it can be difficult to slow down because we are so fired up to start swinging them in the boat. Slowing down should also be related to the speed in which you move your boat. Once I get a few bites in a promising looking area I really like to saturate it with multiple presentations and techniques. Remember the fish are moving slowly so it is likely that more will be moving to the areas that are producing some bites. Recently I fished the Bassmaster Elite Series event on the Sabine River and it was just these types of tactics that enabled me to have success ... I hope it will work for you too.