CHASING TROPHY BASS BY SEASONAL MOVEMENTS
When chasing trophy bass through the year, a great tip to remember is that the largest bass prefer cooler water, even though they’re a warm water species. Keep that in mind as we talk about each season below; it will help tie everything together.
SPRINGTIME: THE BEST TIME
Spring is generally the best time of year to catch record-setting bass. The water temperatures are still cool from winter, and the fish are setting up to spawn. On a warm, sunny day look for any hard cover (docks, rocks, fallen trees, etc.) between the flat spawning areas and their deeper winter areas. I like to target these with a Molix Kento jig in black/blue color with a Zoom super chunk. Cast as close to the cover as possible, and lightly shake the lure on the bottom.
By the time summer comes, fish have finished spawning and will start to look for those cooler water temperatures. Typically, I find them in either running water, deep water, or heavy cover. A great way to catch fish in all three conditions is a “Texas-Rigged” soft plastic lure such as a Zoom Z-Hog. In currents, look for breaks where fish can ambush prey. In deeper water, look for points and brush piles where they can gather. In heavy cover, I like to cast right into the thickest grass where the most shade is available.
Just like many of us over-stuff ourselves at Thanksgiving, the fish do the same thing in Fall. When the water cools, the fish know winter is coming and start to feed heavily – so finding the baitfish is key. Find the bait and you’ll find the bass. Try to match the hatch the best you can with a crank bait or spinnerbait and hold on.
WINTER WHITE OUT
I’ve caught some of the biggest bass during the worst winter weather. Usually the bass group together and hangout in areas where they can access deep and shallow water without having to swim too far. Look for steep cover such as long deep points or the ends of bluff walls. I like to fish these with either a suspending jerkbait (when the fish are shallower) or a blade bait (when the fish go deep). If you’re looking for a big one, days when it’s snowing the most could be your chance, so don’t be afraid to get AWAY and go for it.