Pre Spawn Fishing Tips on Lake Guntersville
By Mike Gerry
Pre Spawn Fishing Tips on Lake Guntersville
With the warming of the water starts the Pre Spawn fishing, there is no better time on Lake Guntersville than the Pre Spawn time of year. The bass are on the move to feed, the warm sun feels great on your shoulders, hunting season is over and its time to go to the lake. Well the first thing I suggest you do is to make sure your rods and reels are tuned newly stringed and ready to go. Oil your reels, sharpen your hooks check the battery on your boat and get ready for a time of your life on Lake Guntersville. Oh and bye the way, a lesson learned check the grease fittings on your trailer, I learned this the hard way.
There are several ways to catch fish this time of year so don’t worry if you get on the water the bites will be there.
My very first tip and my favorite pattern are to fish a rattletrap over the top of the humps. With the bass moving back and forth from the shallows to feed pulling a trap is a great way to find fish and catch some trophy size bass. A few keys to catching bass on a trap is to make long casts, use a heavy enough trap to tick the top of the grass and try several different retrieves until you find one they hit. You can stop and drop it, yo-yo the trap or just burn it over the top of the humps. Remember the trap is a reaction bait so the different retrieves along with the deflection off the grass will cause the bite to occur.
My next favorite is slow rolling a big spinner bait, Punisher Lures “Flame Spinner Bait” from ¾ to 1 oz. With big blades is the best of the best. I put these in the hands of every client that fishes with me. This is also reaction bait, pulling it slowly over the grass and just ticking the top is a great way to find a big fish during the Pre Spawn. Remember you fish spinner bait with your wrist; it’s that wrist action that keeps the bait in contact with the bottom while you are slow rolling it. A spinner bait this time of year may very well be the best big fish finding lure on the market, being an accomplished fisherman with a spinner bait may be the difference in winning a tournament or not.
This time of year we often see drastic weather changes from day to day. Because of that my next tip deals more with a cold high-pressure days during the Pre Spawn. When this occurs you will find that the fish don’t move to the tops of these humps and feed instead by staying positioned in about 8 feet of water on the edges of the humps. When this occurs I generally turn to my Carolina Rig fishing generally a six-inch lizard or a big floating worm. This allows you to slow down and back off the humps further and work that Carolina Rig down the edge of the hump into the 8 feet of water slowly yet effectively. A floating big worm rises slowing as you are working it and is very effective way to create a strike when the fish are suspending over the edge looking for an easy meal. You see a floating worm works in reverse of a “dinger” it floats upward in that darting movement that makes the “dinger” so effective, pulling it slowing and keeping contact with the bottom is the key.
As the Pre Spawn moves on the buck bass start moving to the shallows, moving to the wood is an ideal way to catch several bass a day on Lake Guntersville. I always find the stumps this time of year and fish a Texas rigged lizard. Lightly weighted and moved precisely through the stumps is a great way to catch fish. This is a time when your casting skills are tested because a precise throw to a stump can produce a bite, while an erratic throw 6 feet away may not. Use a good pair of polarized sunglasses, making precise casts will make the difference in catching fish or not. A few years ago we had a late heavy winter rain and it whipped out the grass in the stump fields, after that rain I headed to a stump field with a friend of mine in his jet powered boat and for about a week or more we caught a bass on every throw when we were precise enough to hit the stump with our cast. So believe me when I tell you hitting that stump is very important while fishing this pattern.
Another productive bait over the past several years has been fishing a Senko, Dinger or Magic stick. There all the same it’s a 5 to 7 inch worm weighted with salt enough to sink in a darting motion when fished without a weight. It’s been extremely productive on Guntersville for the last few years, its catches big fish as well as little ones and is a great bait on Lake Guntersville. The problem with this bait is the pure fact that the lighter the weight on a Texas rigged worm the harder is to feel a bite, hence the heavier the weight the easier it is to feel the bite. I find that fishing this bait with my clients tends to produce many misses and many deeply hooked fish. So deep some times that I worry when I fish this bait about killing the fish, and that is something I never want to do. I want to put back every fish in as good healthy stat as possible. Sometimes with inexperienced fisherman or I have someone in the boat having a hard time detecting a bite I actually fish this bait with a hook that has no barbs to protect the fish.
There are some days on the lake this time of year that the wind is none existent, its relatively warm and pretty, and you can’t get a bite. When this occurs one of my favorite patterns when that water is very still is to get out my top water baits. I especially like fishing a Zara Spook Jr. when its calm like this. Finding some shallow calm water maybe over stumps or grass that is just starting to grow, there is no better Pre Spawn bait than a Spook. The action on calm water is just perfect the bass cannot control themselves. You will get many hits and have a great time with this bait. I have caught fish on days like this when the water temperature is in the mid 50’s, and it’s still early in the Pre Spawn period and your fishing 3 to 4 feet of water. Sometimes the shallower you go the more fish you catch. The ideal way to work this bait is to twitch it so it moves back and forth through the water.
Over the years I have carried over from winter fishing into the Pre Spawn my jerk bait. The jerk bait bite seems to continue for those who have proven patience. Several years ago when the B.A.S.S. was coming to Guntersville in late February the winner of that event won the tournament on a jerk-bait. The key was the fact that he was extremely patient waiting sometimes 6 to 8 seconds between movements. The water was cold still, the weather was a typical high pressure February day or days, and the jerk-bait produced the winning bag in less than 6 feet of water. This was one of those Pre Spawn times when the fish needed real slow moving baits and the patience of a ”Crane” to catch fish. Point here is to really be aware of the weather conditions and use your fishing knowledge to lead you to a bait that will over come the obstacles the weather sometimes throws at you.
There are times on the water that it’s hard to get a bite and you have tried every pattern you can think of to produce a bite. When this occurs I suggest you examine boat position, I have found over the time that there are many times in the Pre Spawn period that the way you fish a hump or ledge has more to do with the bite than the lure your fishing with. It’s sometimes as simple as instead of throwing your baits from the deeper edge to the top, that you work from the top of the ledge or hump to the outer edge hence pulling your baits from the deep to the shallow. I have found many times that working the bait from the deeper edge to the top is the only change that you need to make to get a bite. So think out there on the water use the many positions of the boat you can imagine so you utilize your boat as a tool that will aid you in catching fish.
Another bait I have utilized over the years during the Pre- Spawn is the Baby 1 minus. The wobble of a 1 minus is extremely tough for a bass to ignore. Its one of those baits that you have in your tackle box and hardly ever use. Well I can tell you that a 1 minus has been an extremely productive bait for me in 50 degree water in very shallow water, around stumps and low lying weed lines. I found that you must fish this bait in a stop and go method and the bass will hit it when you do. It’s a very quick stop and go but just enough to give the bait some hesitation during the retrieve. The other thing I like about this bait is it comes in some really bright colors, and this time of year because of wind and rain you could be fishing in some very muddy water. With these bright colors in these muddy waters it’s an opportunity to fish a bright, big wobble bait and catch some great Guntersville bass.
My last tip is to lead you to your 3 to 5 feet deep running crank baits; I like this especially around stump fields in 4 to 6 feet of water. A crank-bait deflecting off a stump is a very tantalizing to a bass. That erratic move when it hits wood and deflects to one side or the other produces many good fish. I realize your spending some time getting hung up and getting those treble hooks out of those stumps but it is worth the challenge. With a little practice a crank-bait can be worked around stumps very effectively by just working it slowly and precisely, so your not pulling the treble hooks into the wood your letting it bounce off the wood and waiting for the fish to tell you when you have a bite. This tip is worth some examination even if you consider yourself as someone who does not fish with a crank-bait much. When I hand this bait to a customer and they tell me that they don’t like using one very much I ask them to just give it a chance, work it slow and you’ll see how this is a very good Pre Spawn bait.
Well I believe that these tips are ones you can be very pleased with, tips that will make you a better Pre Spawn fisherman and will have success with. The Pre Spawn time is a great time to be on Lake Guntersville. Come fish with me and let me show these ideas one on one. I promise you will be pleased and learn a lot about out beautiful Lake Guntersville Alabama.