While the disappearance of the ice is celebratory, anglers are now met with the challenge of finding bass amongst barren lands. We can blame Old Man Winter for this. In a normal winter, temperatures rise and fall, thus, periodically the snow will melt exposing the ice. This is critical as the absence of snow allows sunlight penetration, which is essential to weed survival. However, from January through March snow only piled up as temperatures failed to get above freezing. As a result, scores of the best weed beds this spring are missing. Many of our lakes are desolate.
As the weeds disappeared under the ice, the small bluegill, perch, and sunfish, which used these for protection, became exposed. Predators like bass and pike had a feeding bonanza. Because of this, bass fishing across Northern Indiana has been tough this spring, but simultaneously, the quality has been exceptional.
Take, for example, a tournament held on popular Lake Wawasee April 12. Out of 30 teams, only seven managed a five fish limit; just 57 total legal-sized bass were caught. Yet, the winning weight was an astounding 20.92 pounds! Furthermore, ten fish over four pounds also found their way to the scale.
The fishing has been tough because with the abundance of easy prey, the bass and can afford to be picky. This is also why they are large. Now more than normal, a natural presentation has become necessary. Few types of bait are more natural than a swim bait, and few are as realistic as the new Bass Pro Shops Speed Shad. Consider the forage on your favorite body of water: if bluegills are abundant, use the Bluegill Flash color scheme. If perch outnumber the bluegill, go with the Male Perch pattern. If you are not sure, Green Pumpkin works everywhere. Match it up with a ¼ ounce Bass Pro Shops Deadly 5 Shad Jig head around sparse vegetation. If you are lucky to locate thicker weeds, lighten up with a 1/8 ounce jig head.
Swim baits are simple to use. Cast it as far as possible and simply reel it in. Keep this in mind: the slower the better. Hold the rod at an 11 o’clock position and make sure a bow exists in your line between the rod tip and where the line enters the water. When a strike occurs, do not set the hook immediately; instead wait until you feel the weight of the fish, then hammer it home. When the fish makes the initial strike, it normally has just the tail in its mouth. Setting the hook too soon pulls it away from the fish.
Do not waste time getting frustrated chasing bass right. Instead, get real, slow down, and stand by for lunkers.