What makes Bass transition from their Winter pattern to a Spring pattern?

By Don Ingram
   What variables cause Bass to transition from a Winter pattern to a Spring pattern? Key variables are longer days allowing for the sun to warm the surface temperature, and rising or falling water levels. If the water temperature is 42 degrees in a river or lake and a 52 degree rain changes the water temperature in the tributaries of a reservoir, Bass will begin to migrate. The longer days and warm rain increases the metabolism of Bass causing them to begin actively feeding to survive.
   In early Spring, Bass tend to take advantage of low light levels during the morning and feed early. As the sun warms the top 24 inches of water through the day, some Bass will find the warmer temperature and move to heavy cover in that depth range. Bass that move shallow are easier caught during the later part of the day.
   If we know bass position on vertical banks during the winter months, what areas should an angler concentrate their efforts as water temperature and lake levels increase during early spring? There are several key areas to look at during early Spring. One area is the head of rivers and creeks because the channel and water current acts like a funnel as fish begin to migrate. Another area is the end of the bluffs. Look for cover on the 45 degree banks after the old channel has turned. Bass can move to those areas as the temperatures warm and then move back to the deeper bank as temperatures fall during the night using little energy. An angler can increase his chances by concentrating on the shallow cover next to where the Bass spend the winter months.
   Now that we have identified some key areas to look at during early Spring, what techniques work the best? Because the environment is still relatively cold, slow moving techniques still work the best. Spinnerbaits with colorada blades, crankbaits that have a tight action, and jerkbaits worked extremely slow will produce strikes.
   If the water is clear, I like a Lunker Lure body lock casting jig with a Prowler trailer rigged on 10 to 12 pound P-Line Flourocarbon line during this time of year. Equipment is very important with each technique. I use a 7’2 G-Loomis, medium heavy action, NRX jig casting rod, and Shimano reel. An angler using to limber of a rod will not get a good hook set while an angler using to stiff a rod may break the line on a hook set. If the water has color, I like pitching a 3/8 ounce Ultimate jig with a Prowler jumbo trailer rigged on 25 pound CXX P-Line. The jumbo trailer allows the jig to fall slower staying
in the strike zone longer and increasing the chances of a strike.
   During early Spring, concentrate on areas near the vertical banks and use a technique with a slow presentation. Next week we will discuss how Bass react to changing weather conditions during Spring and a few techniques that will entice some strikes.

   Don Ingram publishes an outdoor article entitled “Outdoors with Don Ingram” that is printed in various publications throughout Kentucky. He is a two-time All-American qualifier. Don has been very successful competing in tournaments in Kentucky and Tennessee. He has appeared on numerous outdoor television programs like, “Kentucky Afield,” Walmart’s “Great Outdoors,” and “Outdoors with Dave Shuffett,” aired on the Outdoor Life Network and the Outdoor Channel. Don is a Pro Staffer for the following companies: Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Shimano G-Loomis Rods, Bandit Bait Company, Prowler Soft Plastics, Mustad, Optima Batteries, Lunker Lure, and P-Line.

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