It’s been a weird spring. Rolling heat waves and heavy rains have messed things up, really bad in most parts of the country. The bass in most of the places I know about are late and the water’s higher than normal. That makes a different kind of spring and early summer. It means we should think about June a little differently than we would in an ordinary year, especially in our more southern waters which is what I’m mostly talking about in this column.
For one thing the fish are still shallower than normal. They’re still moving offshore but not as far as they should be and not as fast. That means we need to target them a little closer to the shoreline.
In most cases the bass that are making their first big move will hold on the first sharp break they can find. The kind of sharp breaks I’m talking about are 45 degrees or better. The more gentle channel drops and swings won’t come into play for another couple of weeks or maybe even a month.
The depth that they’re holding at is surprisingly uniform almost everywhere in the South. Right now I’d say the best depth is between 10 and 14 feet with some differences caused by local conditions such as water temperature and water clarity. The warmer the water, and the clearer the water, the deeper you’ll find the bass.
In another two weeks I’d move out closer to 12-18 feet. Again, though, that varies with local conditions. In some super deep lakes they’ll be out farther and in others there’s no such thing as 18 feet of water.
One thing that doesn’t vary with local conditions, though, is their attraction to a specific bottom composition. It’ll be totally different from what they want in the prespawn, during the spawn or right after the spawn.
True postspawn bass want a hard bottom. They aren’t particularly concerned about what it’s made out of as long as it’s hard. Rock, sand and gravel are all good. And, the crazy thing is that they don’t seem to worry about cover. A lot of it, a little of it or none at all is about the same to them.
As far as lures go they seem to bite best on moving baits. My favorites include the Berkley Dredger. It’s smaller and that matches the size of the baitfish at this time of they year, and there are models that’ll dive from 8 to 26 feet. That’ll pretty much cover anything any of us will be fishing.
Flutter spoons, Hopkins jigging spoons and a Berkley War Pig are all good lures from now through late June, too.
I will say, however, that the spoons seem to work better in the middle or later part of June than they do right now. But honestly, that might say more about my style of fishing than it does about yours. Give everything a try until you find what works for you on your lake.
Fish the conditions that you’re looking at right now, not those that happened last year at this time. And always look closely at the specific lake you are fishing. There are no universal rules in this game.