Bass fishing is split into three seasons — pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn. We are in the pre-spawn period right now and very soon heading into the spawning phase.
What this really means for bass anglers is the movement of bass from deeper water to more backwater and shallow areas to prepare for the coming spawn. Bass will look for shallow backwater areas to make a nest and lay their eggs. The larger female bass will come in when the nest is ready and will lay eggs and stay around for a while, and the male bass will guard the eggs until they hatch.
During the nesting time the bass will watch for anything coming close to the nest and will run it away or strike at it. Some bass anglers who know how to fish around the beds can catch bass, but it is a very certain pattern that must be used.
Light action tackle and light clear line are required. The bass are very spooked during this time. You will want to stay back some from the nest and make an overhand cast or a flip-style cast as close to the nest as possible. Small baits made just for this type of fishing are used — mostly tube baits. One, called a G2 and designed by late bass master Guido Hibdon, has caught many bass off the nest. Small four-inch Finesse worms and small jigs can also be used.
All these baits are fished in and around the nest. When fishing them, look for a bass around the nest, and when the bass picks up the bait to move it or strikes it, set the hook. But be sure to release the fish back to finish the spawn process.
When bass are moving around some, a small crankbait or topwater worked in the area of the nest can draw explosive strikes. When the bass move into this spawn it can be a great time to be on the water.