Targeting Early Season Bass
The first couple of months of the game fish season are always a relished time of the year for me. There are multiple fishing options that are available and it is sometimes difficult to decide which one to select. Many times, largemouth bass get my vote.
Although there are a number of lures and presentations that work well for me early in the year, it is hard not to concentrate on my favorites. At the top of the list is the wacky worm.
When I first experimented with the wacky rigged worm, I was caught by surprise. I couldn’t believe that such a do-nothing presentation could possibly entice bass the way it did. This simple contraption had no appeal whatsoever except for its slow drop. I guess old bucketmouth finds this drop to be quite tantalizing.
One of the keys in being successful with the wacky worm is to fish it in the correct place. When the bass are up shallow, any type of bulrush bed is often appealing.
On some of the lakes I fish, there is an inside edge to the bulrushes. Unless the water is very shallow, this inside edge will usually produce more fish than the outer edge. I always target it first.
Because the wacky worm is not very weedless, I make my casts to the edge of the rushes and not inside them. I look for any fingers or irregularities on the bulrush beds to concentrate my efforts. Bulrushes create their own structural elements that bass are attracted to much like underwater structure.
When I take people fishing that are not accustomed to the wacky presentation, they always have a tendency to fish it too fast. Patience is the key to the drop-lift-drop approach.
If bulrush beds are not an option, look for any distinct inside weedline. This visual approach of fishing can be very productive. Not all lakes have good inside weedlines.
It is important to note that some brands of wacky worms sink better than others. Worms that are too buoyant do not work! Although I typically utilize a five inch worm, there are times when a four inch worm will work better. I find this to be especially true when targeting smallmouth.
As the season wears on and the fish move to deeper water, I change my wacky worm approach. Instead of bulrushes, I concentrate on fast drop-offs.
If the wind isn’t too strong, and the water is fairly clear, the drop-off area can be seen with the naked eye and polarized sunglasses. By drifting a wacky down into the depths of the drop-off,
Lots of fish can be had. If needed, fish the wacky on a weighted hook or a jig to help speed up the drop.
Twitch baits are another early season favorite of mine. Unlike the wacky worm, this is an easy way to cover a great deal of water.
Although I will work the edges of bulrushes with a twitch bait, shallow flats that hold scattered fish are usually a better option. Bass that are roaming these flats in search of an easy meal will readily hit something that acts like an injured minnow.
Long pauses should be part of the twitch bait presentation. A few quick jerks followed by a two or three second break seems to work the best.
Because the bass are usually scattered on these weed flats, spinnerbaits and shallow running crankbaits are other presentations that cover water quickly.
Early season bass fishing has a lot of appeal for anglers. There are multiple options for enticing these fish and many rewards for those that spend the time.