It was time! The days have been getting noticeably longer. The weather has been increasingly warmer … especially at night. And, I had that Neandethal gut feeling that the SPAWN IS ON! As soon as my co-softball coach and buddy, Bob “BassHuntin” Kazmirski, and I hit the shores of Westlake it was clear that this was indeed the case.
We arrived to mostly cloudy skies, a slight breeze, 60° temps and clear water. Immediately we found numerous fish either on beds or setting them up. I was primed to try something new as a “teaser” bait … my new favorite hardbait, the Yo-Zuri Sashimi Suspending Jerkbait. I have been thinking all Winter long that it would be the ideal set-up bait to drive the Bass crazy before closing the deal with something more finesse-esque. Fortunately, I was wrong … turns out it is also a great “closer” bait!
On one of my first casts to a big bedding pair, this nearly four pound male couldn’t stand having a Skeleton Perch version of the jerkbait hovering over his nest, feathered tail pulsing, quivering from the occasional subtle twitch. He inhaled it and gave me a tough battle before surrendering to a lip and pic. Great markings, don’t you think?
I quickly walked him down the bank a bit for the release, and then returned to target the bigger female. It only took one attempt to get her to attack the bait. She promptly tore off several yards of line and dogged me hard until I could get her turned. I was making great strides when she suddenly turned for another run – I suddenly heard a very loud “SNAP”. Yep, she broke my beloved big-fish-catching BPS Bionic Blade clean in half. Fortunately, the Yo-Zuri 10# Hybrid line held up and I was able to get a grip on this 5-5 beast. While I am smiling about the fish in the picture, my heart is breaking on the inside, as I have caught everything from a 7.5 pound Rainbow Trout, to a 5+ pound Spotted Bay Bass, to several 6+ pound Largemouth bass on that rod … and, you’re correct in thinking that I’ve already ordered a replacement. (Note to Cavewoman: They’re on sale right now, honey! ;-)).
I tied this new killer spawn-bait onto a rod that was still in one piece and nailed another 2.5 pound chunker that was guarding his lair. Shortly thereafter, Bob got ahold of his first fish of the day with this nice 3+ pounder that eluded him on the hookset several times. By the way, for size perspective, Bob is 6′ 4″.
The rest of the day, I used the Yo-Zuri Sashimi Suspending Jerkbait to rile up bedding bass. If they didn’t hit it directly, it got them charged up enough to quickly strike a drop-shot soft plastic bait when thrown to close the deal as a follow-up bait. All of the fish who committed to it fully inhaled the bait, making the concern of hooking site-fished bass inside the mouth irrelevant. It’s going to take a few more successful outings on other bodies of water before I can say this is a reliable technique. However, if today was any indication, it could become a major part of my spawn-fishing arsenal.
I picked up several more in the 3+ pound range before enticing this 4 pound classer with a Roboworm in Oxblood Light Red Flake. We finished our 3.5 hour session with 23 fish between us, with nearly all of the fish coming in over 3 pounds. Best part of all, the spawn is just in it’s earliest stages. The coming days, especially with the full moon next Wednesday, should provide even better action … which is what this time of year is all about! If you want your best shot at some large Bass, perhaps even the fish of a lifetime, this is the time to get get it done. Don’t let this one pass you by … it’s setting up to be epic. If you aren’t well versed in bed-fishing techniques, be sure to check out my bed-fishing primer “Wake Up! It’s Bedtime!!“.