ALEXANDRIA – Recently, I wrote a column outlining my wishes for the upcoming walleye season. Trying to be an equal opportunity writer and angler, I thought it was only fitting to do the same for the next bass season.
So there you have it, my bass wishes for the upcoming season.
Motor fishing in shallow water
Many largemouth bass inhabit the shallows early in the season throughout the Midwest. Hungry, shallow fish are often stray fish too and so presentations that allow anglers to quickly cover the water to locate and catch fish are excellent.
Spinnerbaits and swim jigs are my traditional early season favorites. Last year, however, another angler held a fishing clinic in my boat while casting and retrieving a Thunder Cricket vibrating jig and a Blade Minnow plastic suit.
This spring I’ll be adding this bait to my spinnerbait and swim jig fishing arsenal, though a weightless wacky stick worm is still on my deck in early spring as well. When many shallow fish are found in a small area, or whenever they are a little reluctant to hit a “moving” bait, a wacky 5 inch Ocho Soft Stick is my go-to presentation to tempt reluctant biters or try to get the most fish from a school to bite.
Big jigs in the summer weeds
When spring gives way to summer, much of the bass population in many lakes can be found in association with mid-depth weeds on the main flats of the lake or on the falling edges of these flats. . For me, it’s “big jig” time because I break out a 1/2 or even 3/4 ounce Hack Attack Fluoro Jig and bait it with a Rage Craw.
This combination can be cast for sparser coverage on the outer edges of the weeds, the traditional deep weed line as it is called. For me the bigger fish are often found in the summer buried in dense grass right up to the flats. When this happens, I make short casts or “drops” into weed pockets or holes, quickly covering the water until I’m bitten. Often, one bite leads to several more because these fish have a clear tendency to accumulate in privileged areas.
This particular fishing pattern really takes hold in my area of central Minnesota near Alexandria during the July heat and well into late summer, but it’s one that produces fish in other waters of the Midwest where weed growth is also prominent.
Kabetogama autumn small mouth
The biggest smallmouth bass of my life ate a soft jerkbait caught off a drop-shot rig on my very first cast on Lake Kabetogama in northern Minnesota several falls ago. Two fishing partners and I had absolutely great rock reef fishing action that day. These fish were numerous, big and hungry!
Since then I have tried to go back up to Kabetogama on subsequent falls but for various reasons have still not succeeded. This year, I already have a few days reserved on my calendar for this return trip.
I can’t wait to stretch the string on some more big little Kabs, although I’ll also have a few jigger rods and some big minnows in the boat. Kabetogama is also a world class walleye fishery and I couldn’t resist trying to put some big eyes in the boat.
Hope you are also making fishing plans for the upcoming season! As always, good luck on the water and don’t forget to include a youngster in your next outdoor adventure.
Mike Frisch hosts the popular television series Fishing the Midwest. To visit
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