In this article I am going to explain the tactic I use for catching largemouth bass in Springtime. I know of no other activity that brings so much excitement as does largemouth bass fishing in the Springtime!
First step is to choose the lure! For this tactic it’s best to use rubber/soft lures. I personally prefer to use something with lots of action, yet lightweight so as to not make a big splash when it hits the water. My choice of baits is a 6″ salamander/lizard. I have used rubber worms to some degree of success but nothing compares to a salamander with curly legs. I usually choose dark colors for the murky waters. Pumpkinseed, watermelon or just plain black (in that order)are the most producing. A nice shiny one will work if you happen to be in a gravel pit or other lake that tends to keep crystal clear water.
Now find some good, strong worm hooks (The bigger the better IMO). Eagle Claws are my personal favorite because they tend to be thicker and stronger than other brands. Make sure you use a strong one! The skinny wire ones are nice to look at and have a nice feel but they just don’t normally have the strength to hold onto a 6+ pound largemouth. Also make sure you get worm hooks and not straight shank hooks. I prefer the ones that start to curve out and away directly after the eyelet. The type with an 1/8″ straight shot off the eyelet (look kinda like a J)are OK but they don’t seem to really twist and grab onto the fishes mouth like I prefer them to. I lose more fish by using those type than the more curvy type so I just avoid them altogether. After all, there’s no worse feeling than to set the hook on what feels like a submarine only to have it throw the empty hook at you the first time it breaches the water.
Now what you want to do is take your salamander and run the tip of the hook right into the middle of it’s head from the front toward the tail. Sort of like you would be running it right into it’s mouth if it were live bait. Once you’re into the worm about 1/8″ or so bring the hook out through the bottom of the salamander. Push the hook all the way in until the eyelet is covered by rubber and then flip the hook over and set the tip back into the salamander’s belly. You should now have a virtually weedless salamander with the hook acting as sort of a sail fin underneath. This is the perfect way to hook a rubber salamander for this tactic of bass fishing, you’ll see why in a bit.
(THIS NEXT STEP COULD INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF STRIKES YOU GET BY A LOT…IT REALLY COULD MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE AND I CAN’T ENCOURAGE YOU ENOUGH TO DO IT!)
Now comes the last and arguably most important step of all in preparing for water entry. Make sure you have some glass rattles! If you don’t know what I mean then go to your local sporting goods store and ask for soft bait rattles. They’re basically a short 1/2″ or so glass tube sealed off at both ends with a couple tiny steel BBs inside. I recommend the glass ones 100% over the plastic ones you can get. If all you can get are plastic rattles then it’s better than nothing but glass rattles make a sound that the bass just can’t resist! Take a rattle and shove it into the head of the salamander, just behind where the hook comes out. I know people who put them into the body of the lure but I believe it works better in the head.
Now that you’re all set and baited up it’s time to hit the water. When you cast make certain that you give your bait time to sink to the bottom! Cast out and wait until your line goes slack and you will be on the bottom.
Now that you have your bait on the bottom of the lake what you want to do is just give it a little jerk. Jerk your pole straight up to bounce your bait off the bottom about 4″-6″. Not a hard jerk like you’re setting the hook but just a little one to give the salamander some movement. This is where putting the rattle in the head instead of the body comes into play. If it’s in the body then the BBs just rock back and forth in the glass tube giving a small bit of sound. In the head though, the BBs will slam into the end of the glass when you jerk and then again when the lure hits the bottom giving it much more sound to carry through the water. This sound appears to attract Bass very well in my experience!
Now just wait and watch your line! Do not real your line at this time! Just wait!
Watch your line for about 20-30 seconds and see if it moves. If nothing hit it then you should have a slack line and that’s how you want it. This gives the fish a little room to move with the bait. The more they can move with the bait the more they trust it to be real and therefore the further they will gobble it down their mouths.
After the 20-30 seconds has passed give it another little jerk and again, wait! Don’t reel your slack in because you want to have a slack line. As long as your line is loose and has slack the bass usually will not drop your bait! (I have let a Bass run around with my bait for several meters without jerking and they usually do not drop it until they feel the tension on the line.) The slack line offers you time to get prepared to set the hook.
Repeat the jerk and then watch your line for 20-30 seconds until one of 2 things happens. Either you will get a hit or you will reach the bank.
When a fish hits, your line will either just do a little bounce and drop or it will start running out. If he has it in his mouth he’s going to run with it and he usually will not drop it until he feels tension on the line. What I like to do now is let him run out a little ways. Sometimes I will even pull a little extra line off my reel while the line’s still loose to give him more time to run with it and therefore more time to get it further into his mouth.
Once you decide he’s run far enough with it let him pull until the line is nearly tight and then set the hook! Don’t reel any of the slack in, let the fish take it out until it’s tight and you just get ready to yank your rod!
When you set the hook make sure you come straight up over your head as hard and fast as you possibly can! You want to make sure you’ve got that hook pushed all the way through his mouth. Then real him in. Of course there’s more to be told on how to land a largemouth bass but I’ll save that for another article.
Now you know one more way to catch largemouth bass in the springtime! If you’ve tried everything else and you just can’t get them to bite, give this a try and your day might just get a little better. Of course I would never guarantee you’ll catch fish because once they hit the rest is up to you!
This is a technique I use frequently and have had quite a bit of success with it. In fact, I rarely Bass fish using any other technique in the Spring because I like this so much. However, that is not any sort of promise and shouldn’t be construed as such. Try this technique and see if it works for you. It does for me….that’s all I’m saying!