Did You Know You Can Do This With Your Lake Map?

Want to catch more fish? Understanding the map of your lake makes it a lot easier! If you’re using modern electronics there are some amazing tricks that make it even better. Today Tim shows how to highlight depth zones, adjust lake levels, and select prime fishing locations. If you’re using a traditional paper lake map this information still applies. Spend less time searching and more time catching with these quick adjustments!

Tim begins by showing the difference between base map software and aftermarket mapping chips. He goes on to assume you’re using some version of a map card in order to get accurate contour lines. Tim uses his Humminbird Solix to show a variety of structures and how they appear on the map then goes on to teach the subtle differences that will save you a ton of searching and fishing time!

If you want to become a more efficient angler you need to get comfortable reading a map of your lake. You don’t need an expensive unit and software to be a great angler, you can get by with a simple paper map, but good electronics make it much, much easier. Below is a breakdown of the unit and cards Tim was using in the video as well as a few other options he recommends at various price points.

Main Unit- Humminbird Solix 15: http://bit.ly/2Hazsej

Map Card- Humminbird Lakemaster Plus: http://bit.ly/2Dk5Erc

Other Map Cards…

-Humminbird Lakemaster: http://bit.ly/2wAZ8ZJ

-Navionics HotMaps Platinum: http://bit.ly/2ZitTiR

Other Units…

-Humminbird Helix 7: http://bit.ly/2SoFl8a

-Lowrance HDS 7 Live: http://bit.ly/2VYomMA

-Garmin Striker Plus: http://bit.ly/2skseug

Keeping your electronics screen clean is really important. The best product we’ve found to do that is Wave Away. It cleans finger prints and water spots with very little effort instead of scrubbing at the screen until your hands hurt.

Wave Away Screen Cleaner: http://bit.ly/2PhHmmC

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Need Apparel? Tacticalbassin Gear is in stock! Get your hats, hoodies, and sunshirts by emailing Tacticalbassinapparel@gmail.com

The 5 Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Texas

The 5 Best Bass Fishing Lakes In Texas thumbnail

Everything is bigger in Texas, including largemouth bass. The Lonestar state is bass crazy and for good reason, since it’s home to some of the best bass fishing lakes in the world. We put together our list of the top five bass lakes to fish in Texas right now.

A Special thank you is owed to the Texas Parks & Wildlife and their Share Lunkers program for providing such useful data and images and more importantly, thank you for promoting sustainable sport angling throughout Texas!

1) Lake Sam Rayburn

Located: 15 miles north of Jasper, Texas
Surface area: 114,500 acres
Maximum depth: 80 feet
Impounded: 1965

Lake Sam Rayburn is nestled in the ecologically rich region of southeastern Texas amid the famous Piney Woods. Immerse yourself in the true outdoors while having a legit chance at landing a new personal best from the famous Lake Sam Rayburn.

Angler: Stacy Spriggs
Weight: 13.06 pounds
Date: March 2018
Caught on a Carolina rig during a tournament
Angler: Roy Euper
Weight: 13.2 pounds
Date: March 2018
Angler: Wayman Triana
Weight: 13.05 pounds
Date: March 2017
Caught on a crankbait during a tournament.

2) Lake Allan Henry

Location: 45 miles south of Lubbock, Texas
Surface area: 2,880 acres
Maximum depth: 100 ft
Impounded: 1993

In west Texas, there sits a little sleeper lake that continually pumps out mega bass. Sitting 45 miles south of Lubbock in the desolate Brazo River Basin is Lake Allan Henry. Relatively low fishing pressure blended with an ample forage base makes this little gem a destination worth visiting.

Angler: John Vineyard
Weight: 13.34 pounds
Date: March 2017
Angler: Bruce Butler
Weight: 13.13 pounds
Date: April 2016
Angler: Nathan King
Weight: 13 pounds
Date: April 2007
Caught on a jig
Angler: Greg Hollers
Date: March 2006
Weight: 14.78 pounds
Caught while Crappie fishing

3) Lake Fork

Location: 5 miles northwest of Quitman, Texas
Surface area: 27,264 acres
Maximum depth: 70 feet
Impounded: 1980

The stomping grounds of Lake Fork Guy and a well known big bass factory, Lake Fork is no secret amongst serious Texas anglers. Just a few hours outside of Dallas, this system continues to produce big fish even with the heavy fishing pressure.

Angler:  James Quisenberry
Date: March 2010
Weight: 15.61 pounds
Angler: Michael Terrebone
Weight: 13 pounds
Date: March 2018

4) Falcon Lake

Location: 40 miles east of Laredo, Texas
Surface area: 83,654 acres
Maximum depth: 110 feet
Impounded: 1954

Straddling the US-Mexico border on the Rio Grande River is the notorious Falcon Lake. Originally built to conserve water, prevent flooding, and bring hydropower to the area, the damming of the Rio Grande also resulted in one more bonus resource: BIG, FAT BASS.

Caught by: Isaac Denson
Weight: 13.4 pounds
Date: February 2013
Angler: Gary Wingate
Weight: 14.39 pounds
Date: March 2012
Angler: Jason Brudnicki
Weight 13.36 pounds
Date: December 2011
Caught on deep diving crankbait.

5) Choke Canyon Reservoir

Location: 4 miles west of Three Rivers, Texas
Surface area: 25,670 acres
Maximum depth: 95.5 feet
Impounded: 1982

Just south of San Antonio is the Choke Canyon Reservoir – A strong panfish, bass, catfish, and alligator gar populations, it’s easy to understand why oodles of anglers are dumping their boats into Choke Canyon each weekend.

Angler: Richard Flores
Weight: 15.09 pounds
Date: February 2010
Angler: Sam Koebcke
Weight: 13.3 pounds
Date: April 2009
Angler: Carl Ames
Weight: 15.27 pounds
Date: March 2009

REVIEW: IROD GENESIS II LEGIT’S FINESSE SWIMMER

by Jody White

Built to FLW Tour pro Aaron Britt’s specifications, the iRod Genesis II Legit’s Finesse Swimmer rod is a mid-priced spinning rod that’s specifically designed for tossing small swimbaits on light heads. If you’ve ever seen Britt on the water in an FLW Tour event, there’s a pretty good chance he’s got a spinning stick with a swimbait in his hands. With that in mind, the odds are good that he’ll be rolling with at least a couple of these rods on deck almost all the time.

THE BUILD
I have used and liked iRod Genesis II rods in the past, but all my experience is on the baitcasting side of things. The spinning rod has a similar style and build, with bold green and black trim and no epoxy on most of the blank. iRod has had trouble with hook keepers in the past, but this one seems resoundingly fine. It’s a simple backward loop of wire down low, near the butt portion of the split grip.

The rod itself is 7 feet, 4 inches long, and it’s a medium-power, extra-fast-action stick. Of my spinning rods, it’s on the stouter side. That’s not a bad thing, but I think it bumps the rod out of the Ned rig range and firmly toward swimbaits, Senkos and the like.

Because Britt usually fishes small swimbaits on braid with a fluorocarbon leader, the guides near the tip are one size bigger than usual to better accommodate the leader-to-line knot. I never noticed it before I knew about it, but I like the idea a lot, and it certainly hasn’t caused any problems.

My only point of concern with the design of the rod is the foregrip. It’s big, with a lot of foam, almost exactly like the foregrips on the Genesis II baitcasting models. I’ve never once worried about it on a baitcaster, but a lot of my favorite spinning rods have little to no foregrip, and this is a departure from that. There is a ton of access to the blank at the reel, so you can get direct contact to it easily, but if you like to keep a finger on the blank above the reel it’s not super natural. Overall, I like how the rod looks, but I’d personally go to a smaller foregrip given the chance.

SWIMMING WITH IT
Most spinning rods have a pretty broad range of applications once you stick some light braid with a leader on them, but I went straight for a swimbait with this one. I figured if I was going to test it I should do it right from the start. I started with small stuff, like 3.3- and 2.8-inch Keitech Swing Impact FAT swimbaits on 1/8- to 1/4-ounce heads, and I’ve had no regrets. At 7-4, the rod is a bit longer than the average spinning rod, and that helps on the cast. I rarely find myself target fishing with a small swimbait, so just being able to chuck it is paramount.

As far as feeling rocks, bass and the like, I’ve got no complaints there either. I will say that the 2.8-inch Keitech on a 1/8-ounce head is probably the smallest bait you want to throw on it. Not that the rod handles it poorly, but you can tell the rod loads and fires better with just a bit more weight. Britt designed it for a 3.3-inch bait on a 1/4-ounce head, and it certainly fits the bill for that.

VERSATILITY ISN’T LOST
I don’t know for sure, but I feel like most folks own one or two spinning rods and not a whole suite, so it’s important to be able to apply one in a variety of ways. That being the case, I think this rod can do a lot of things well. It’s perhaps not a killer Ned rig rod, but I’ve caught a pile of bass (and a few big sheepshead) on it with a finesse jig. Additionally, I really think I’m going to love it with a drop-shot on the ledges and up north in the summer. My typical workhorse drop-shot rod is 7-6, and from the feel, I know the Legit’s Finesse Swimmer is going to perform similarly.

DCIM100GOPROG0012115.JPG

THE VERDICT
I came into this rod as a fan of the iRod Genesis II series, and I’m still a fan. I actually haven’t caught a big bass on this rod yet, but I’ve bowed it up on a big brown trout and some slammer sheepshead, and it’s been great. As far as swimming things goes, I can guarantee it’s going to get a lot of work going forward. Swimming a little Keitech around is one of my very favorite things to do.

This probably shouldn’t be your only spinning rod, but if you’re looking for something a little stouter than the rest of your rods, I think you should look hard at Legit’s Finesse Swimmer. Ringing in at $149.99, it’s priced well, and I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Details

Company: iRod

Series: Genesis II

Model: Legit’s Finesse Swimmer

Power: medium

Action: extra fast

Length: 7-4

Price: $149.99

Warranty: limited lifetime warranty

These are 10 Of The Nastiest Freshwater Fish On The Planet

Their teeth can tear flesh. Their strength can destroy tackle. Their dispositions can break an angler’s spirit. These are the meanest fish that swim.

BY STEVE RYAN

10. Goliath Tigerfish

Goliath Tigerfish in the Congo
Anglers after goliath tigerfish may spend three to five weeks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to hook just one or two fish.
Steve Ryan

Their 32 surgically-sharp teeth, deep body built for speed and agility, incredible leaping ability, raw strength, and top-end size pushing the 150-pound mark, make the goliath tigerfish among the meanest fish to grace planet Earth.

Where Goliath Tigerfish Live:
Found largely in the foreboding Congo River Basin of central Africa.

How Goliath Tigerfish Feed:
Goliaths are rush feeders. They use their double-hinged jaws to attack prey much larger in size. Possessing teeth capable of piercing even the toughest flesh, they are fearless hunters that reportedly snack on small crocodiles, as well as anything else that crosses their path.

Best Lures for Goliath Tigerfish:
The need to quickly cover vast areas of water to find these low-density fish, make larger, deep-diving crankbaits, such as Yo-Zuri 3D Magnum Deep Divers and Manns Stretch 30s, good options.

How Goliath Tigerfish Fight:
Goliath tigerfish have everything anglers could hope for in a sportfish—that includes lightning-fast strikes, blistering speed that will drain a reel of line in seconds, brute strength to put a strain on the best of equipment, along with crazy acrobatic ability to leave anglers in awe. For those anglers who dare to pursue goliaths in the tumultuous Democratic Republic of the Congo, trip lengths of 3 to 5 weeks are typical with the hope of hooking even just one or two goliaths.

9. Muskies

The dagger-like teeth of a muskie, slanted toward the throats, designed to grasp and puncture.
Muskies often strike lures right beside the boat, so add a figure-eight to the end of your retrieve to check for follows.

Steve Ryan

With a death chamber for a mouth, muskies inhale prey and it rarely ever comes back out. The perimeters of their jaws are lined with dagger-like teeth designed to grasp and puncture, while the tops of their mouths are covered with hundreds of needle-sharp teeth slanted back toward their throats. Their propensity to strike lures at boatside on the figure-eight gives fishing for them an added edginess.

Where Muskies Live:
Broadly distributed throughout lakes and rivers of the mid-regions of North America.

How Muskies Feed:
Muskies are both ambush and open-water rush feeders. They often grab their prey broadside prior to rotating it in their mouths and swallowing it head first.

Best Lures for Muskies:
A wide assortment of lures will draw the ire of these apex predators, including noisy Whopper Plopper topwaters, oversized double 10 Spanky bucktails, 16-ounce soft rubber Bulldawgs, and giant HeadLock trolling lures.

How Muskies Fight:
Muskies generate massive power and quick bursts of speed from their long, muscular frames. These fish put a spirited strain on even the heaviest gear used by today’s muskie hunters.

8. Black Piranha

The menacing red eyes of a black piranha caught in South America.
Black piranha fall for the vibration of lipless rattle baits or the flash of spoons, spinners and spinnerbaits, and often hunt their prey in packs.

Steve Ryan

Serrated teeth and strong jaws allow these fish to cut through flesh, ligaments, and bones with ease. Piranhas make mincemeat of fishing line, light wire leaders, and 1X hooks. Menacing red eyes and a top-end, size pushing 10-pounds make them an angler’s worst nightmare.

Where Black Piranha Live:
The Amazon, Orinoco River Basins and beyond in South America.

How Black Piranha Feed:
Feeding in packs, piranhas are the hitmen of the jungle. They focus their attacks on wounded or bloodied prey and exploit those injuries by taking large chunks of flesh off with each bite. If an open wound doesn’t exist, piranhas start by immobilizing their prey, shredding their tails and fins.

Best Lures for Black Piranha:
The vibration of lipless rattle baits and the flash of spoons, spinners, and spinnerbaits will get the attention of these ravenous fish. If the bite grows slow on these lures, a piece of cut bait on a jig will get the job done.

How Black Piranha Fight:
Imagine an angry eight-pound bluegill on steroids. Big black piranhas are drag pullers. They possess good speed and endurance and have a knack for finding and wrapping around submerged wood.

7. Arapaima

Be careful when taking your grip and grin photo. Arapaima often use their head as a weapon and can knock out any angler.

Steve Ryan

Their top-end size surpassing 400-pounds, crimson-tipped scales, prehistoric anatomy that includes a primitive lung permitting atmospheric breathing, and a head as hard as steel, make the arapaima a gnarly fish worthy of every angler’s attention.

Where Arapaima Live:
Primarily the Amazon and Essequibo River basins of South America, with ancillary populations in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador.

How Arapaima Feed:
Opportunistic feeders, arapaima will both scavenge dead bait and hunt live prey weighing several pounds. Due to their ability to breath air, they can reside in lagoons with marginal oxygen levels during the dry season and then wreak havoc on oxygen-deprived prey. As they approach a bait, they quickly open their oversized mouths to suck the bait and surrounding water like a vacuum.

Best Lures for Arapaima:
Articulating swimbaits, along with glide baits and large jerk baits, are prime lure options when fished slowly on heavy tackle. Anglers have also started targeting arapaima on the fly.

How Arapaima Fight:
Due to their large body mass, these fish have the ability to pull a boat around for more than 20 minutes before tiring. They make spectacular water-spraying jumps and incredible tail-walking displays across the surface. Adding to the challenge of landing these fish, arapaima commonly use their head as a weapon at boatside in an effort to snap lines, throw hooks, break rods, and even knockout anglers.

6. Giant Snakehead

If a giant snakehead can’t bust your oversized braided line, or destroy your lure, you have a chance to catch the fish of nightmares.

Steve Ryan

The broad snake-like head and formidable teeth on giant snakeheads are the things of horror movies. Their stealth, power, and tackle-destroying nature are enough to give any angler nightmares.

Where Giant Snakeheads Live:
Rivers and reservoirs of Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

How Giant Snakeheads Feed:
Explosive strikes are the hallmark of giant snakeheads. They have the ability to cut a bait in two with one bite and then circle back to eat the second half. A large percentage of giant snakeheads strike lures out of sheer aggression, rather than hunger, as they actively guard their fry balls for weeks after they are born. They are comfortable exploding through heavy vegetation to crush a frog off the surface, and equally adept at rush feeding a tilapia in open water.

Best Lures for Giant Snakeheads:
Topwater frogs, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, and deep-diving crankbaits are traditional favorites among snakehead anglers.

How Giant Snakeheads Fight:
Strength, endurance, and guile are the calling card of giant snakeheads. These fish will blast a lure on the surface out of anger and then instantly dive 15 feet, pulling maximum drag off reels. They are capable of wrapping around submerged timber in mere seconds. If they can’t bust oversized braided line, they will straighten 3X treble hooks and destroy lures.

5. Golden Dorado

Trophy-size golden dorado like this one often attack other dorado nearly half their size.

Steve Ryan

Razor-sharp teeth, powerful jaws, a mean attitude and bright golden coloration with black stripes give golden dorado their ‘river tiger’ nickname.

Where Golden Dorado Live:
Rivers of South America, with primary populations residing in the Upper Paraná River of northeast Argentina, as well as Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia.

How Golden Dorado Feed:
Dorado feed both in packs and individually. They are slashing feeders capable of maiming multiple baitfish as they charge through bait pods situated along current seams. If a bait is too big to be swallowed whole, their powerful jaws will cut it down to a more manageable size. Being cannibalistic, trophy-size dorado are known to attack other dorado nearly half their size.

Best Lures for Golden Dorado:
Large crankbaits such as Rapala Super Shad Raps and Mag 18s are among the most prolific lures for Dorado residing in fast-water tailrace settings. In smaller clear water settings, fly fishing tactics, as well as spoons, spinnerbaits and topwater, are effective for these aggressive predators.

How Golden Dorado Fight:
Dorado hit lures with a vengeance. Once they feel the sting of the hook, they go airborne—violently thrashing their head to dislodge the lure. With broad muscular frames, dorado have the strength and stamina to go 12 rounds with anglers.

4. Wolf Fish

Among the hardest fighting fish in the jungle, wolf fish often smash surface poppers with power.

Steve Ryan

There’s nothing pretty about wolf fish. They have an oversized head, a mouth full of formidable teeth, jet black eyes and an oversized tail.

Where Wolf Fish Live: Remote rivers of the northern half of South America, including portions of Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Brazil, harbor the largest populations of these sporty fish.

How Wolf Fish Feed: Wolf fish hit prey not like they want to eat it, but as if they are looking to obliterate it. Residing behind boulders in fast-water settings and resting tight to overhanging cover, they often strike quickly as objects pass within their range. Their jaw strength is formidable.

Best Lures for Wolf Fish: Surface poppers offer the most visual excitement for anglers, but a well-placed, heavy-duty spinnerbait or wake bait will get their attention.

How Wolf Fish Fight: Wolf fish are among the hardest fighting fish in the jungle. They have power and stamina in reserve.

3. Niugini Black Bass

PNG Niugini Black Bass

The first 30 seconds with a trophy Niugini black bass are as memorable as anything in fishing.

Steve Ryan

These fish have canine teeth and crushing power to rival even the toughest fish in saltwater. They routinely rank among the hardest fighting fish in freshwater for good reason.

Where Niugini Black Bass Live:
Remote clean water rivers of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

How Niugini Black Bass Feed:
These brutes are ambush feeders that routinely position themselves among submerged trees and hit baits as they are heading back into their snag-filled lairs.

Best Lures for Niugini Black Bass:
Big crankbaits fished tight to cover will get annihilated. Upgrade to XXH split rings and hooks or be ready to be owned by these fish.

How Niugini Black Bass Fight:
Savage strength is the hallmark of Niugini black bass. On an exploratory trip to untouched rivers in PNG, we had 150-pound-test braided line snapped, lures smashed in two, reel drags stripped, rods ripped from anglers’ hands, and even had an experienced, international angler brought to his knees and then dragged across the bow of the boat by one of these beasts. The first 30 seconds with a trophy Niugini black bass are as memorable as anything in fishing.

2. Alligator Gar

Alligator gar can reach more than 400-pounds, and their basic anatomy has gone unchanged since the time of dinosaurs.

Steve Ryan

A basic anatomy that has gone unchanged since the time of dinosaurs, and a top-end size of more than 400-pounds distinguish alligator gar from every other fish out there. They rank so high on the gnarly meter that anglers have started to mix alligator gar facts and mythic legends.

Where Alligator Gar Live:
The Gulf states of the U.S., as well as northern portions of Mexico with drainage to the Gulf of Mexico.

How Alligator Gar Feed:
They eat almost anything that swims, flies or scurries within their range. A quick snap of their jaws will trap a bait in their mouth. They often work to crush the bait and then move-off to swallow it later.

Best Lures for Alligator Gar:
Large Rat-L-Traps worked slowly within range of their over-sized mouth will illicit savage strikes. Heavy duty spinnerbaits with a stout trailer hook can be fished around thick cover during periods of flooding when gar venture beyond the river banks.

How Alligator Gar Fight:
Alligator gar are dirty fighters. They frequently swim into submerged trees to tangle lines and pull hooks. In open water, they use their body mass to pull around the boat and make spectacular head-thrashing leaps.



1. Payara

The two lower fangs of the payara perfectly slide into recessed holes in their top jaw—adding to their sinister look.

Steve Ryan

Two pronounced fangs exceeding two-inches in length grow from their bottom jaw and slide perfectly into recessed holes in their top jaw. They possess a sinister look and the spirit of a killer.

Where Payara Live:
Fast current areas of rivers across South America, with Venezuela and Colombia harboring some of the biggest specimens topping 30-pounds. Many anglers search the Amazon for payara and other exotic species.

How Payara Feed:
Pack hunters and slashing feeders. They impale and disorientate baits with their fangs and then come back to devour wounded prey. Strikes are lighting fast.

Best Lures for Payara:
Large colorful crankbaits, including Mag 18 Rapalas and DUO FangBait 140DR, are the best bet in strong current areas. Walk-the-dog surface lures work well in slick water areas adjacent to rapids.

How Payara Fight:
On a recent Colombia fishing trip, I saw anglers have their rod-and-reel combos yanked from their hands by quick striking payara. In a fast current, these fish are nearly unstoppable, making blistering runs both upstream and down in Class 5 rapids to gain their freedom. Their leaping ability will put most fish to shame, and their hard, bony mouths make for a landing percentage of less than 50 percent.

Gear Review: Old Town Topwater PDL Fishing Kayak

WHAT IS IT?
Old Town Topwater PDL Fishing Kayak

WHAT SETS IT APART?
The Old Town Topwater PDL offers big fishing performance in a compact, lightweight, easy-to-maneuver format. The ultra-stable Topwater PDL features the award-winning Old Town PDL drive which delivers the ultimate hands-free fishing experience. With instant forward and reverse (no cables to pull in order to go backward) and easy boat handling, your hands remain free to focus on the fishing. Not only is the Old Town PDL drive the easiest, but it is also the most reliable kayak pedal system on the market. The drive is completely maintenance-free and backed by an industry leading five-year warranty.

HOW DO I USE IT?
If you’ve spent any time in a tradiitional kayak, you know that the number one thing you are constantly dealing with is repositioning yourself in relation to the fish you are trying to catch. By having the PDL work just like a bicycle, you are immediately more free to worry about fishing, and less about paddling. It sounds like hyperbole, but it is a true game-changing experience going from the paddle to PDL.

HOW MUCH?
$1,999.99

MORE INFORMATION:
oldtowncanoe.com/topwater

ANGLER’S INSIGHT:
Kayak fishing is pretty great to begin with, but not worrying about repositioning with the paddles takes it to the next level. The control and ease of use with Old Town’s system means you can sneak into places where the fish least expect you. If you are looking at the best experience fishing out of a kayak, this should be first on your list to check out. The Old Town Topwater PDL allows you to fight the fish, not your kayak.

Warming Water Trends And How It Can Help You Find More Bass This Spring

Warming Water Trends And How It Can Help You Find More Bass This Spring thumbnail

For fishermen in the north country, early spring can be a special time of year. Finally, after months of snow, ice, and frigid temperatures, it is time to get back in the boat and begin the chase once more. However, if you don’t know where or how to begin finding or catching bass you won’t have a productive day on the water. Follow these tips to find and catch largemouth bass this spring after a long winter.

Warm Water Is Essential

Examples of areas to look fish during the Spring.

I am sure this comes as no surprise. After ice out, largemouth will be looking for the warmest water in the fishery. However, one thing I have noticed over the years is the warmest water is not always in the northwest corner of a lake. In fact, it can be found almost anywhere on the lake depending upon multiple factors. If you are not familiar with a body of water, though, the northwest corner is your best bet as a starting point.

Dark Water Usually Warms First

Dark bottom bays often hold the warmest water.

Look for dark bottom bays. These are typically your best bet on a bright, warm, sunny day as this dark bottom will hold heat and attract bass and baitfish. Additionally, look for the smallest, shallowest, isolated bays on your fishery. The less water there is, the quicker it will warm up. Hordes of largemouth will move into these small bays as soon as the ice goes out and the sun warms them up.

It Comes Down To Timing

bass fishing lake taneycomo
Find the right water and find the right fish.

Keep in mind that not all fish in the system move up at the same time. In fact, this process, at least in the north, can be drawn out over the course of weeks. Bass will begin their general migration towards the shallows. Some will move all the way up immediately while others will stop in staging areas before going the rest of the distance.

Look for big, female largemouth bass to use these deeper water staging areas before moving in shallow to feed and spawn. Typically, the best way to find these staging areas is to locate the spawning bays and backtrack to the nearest access to deep water. Oftentimes, these areas are the points and flats directly outside of spawning bays.

Bait Selection – Keep It Simple

Lake Fork Guy prepping for an outing.

Lastly, bait selection is key this time of year. Because there are so many fish in so many different areas, you have to be ready for anything as an angler. However, when simplified, fishermen don’t need many baits to be successful in the early spring. For staging, deeper fish, an assortment of mid-depth crankbaits, rattlebaits, and heavier swim jigs are good options. This time of year, slow retrieves seem to work best. If the bass are around, they will munch whatever you throw. Throw your confidence and goto baits.

The same goes for shallow water fish. Anglers will find great success with weightless soft plastics like Texas-rigged finesse worms and senkos as well as wacky rigs. If you are fishing a large spawning bay and need to cover water, look to swimbaits or swim jigs. Bomb cast these baits as far as you can, slow roll them on the bottom and hold on for dear life.