Guntersville, Alabama is home of one of the top bass fisheries in the country and spring is one of the best times to fish this huge body of water. While standing in Marks Outdoors buying some of the latest and greatest, a gentleman asked me the age old question, “what should he be doing this spring on the Big G?”
As a full time guide on these waters I have found the biggest mistake for most anglers is being prepared. A lot of people don’t realize that the end of February is the time of year to be on the water catching some major bass. This time of year is still cold and rainy but one good week of sun and the big bass start to move about and go on what seems to be a feeding frenzy. If you find that hard to believe just look at the last two years BASS tournaments held on the Big G in late February that had pros standing in the weigh-in lines with bags over 30.00 lbs. for one day’s catch.
I have had clients that say they could not believe we were fishing in less than 10 feet of water while the outside temps were just reaching the 45 degree mark. I try to explain to them that these fish are notorious for staging on break points preparing for the spawn as the water temps begin to rise quickly.
I start the day working open water humps and submerged grass for two kinds of bites. I approach the same area in two completely different ways. First I look for a reaction strike. By this I am going to make the fish bite the lure out of reaction, not eat it due to hunger. The second way is forcing the fish to take the bait by working it extremely slow in an area in which I know they are in.
I will typically go to the lake with three types of lures in the box, Jerkbaits, lipless crankbaits, and Jigs.
I will use these baits very differently while getting the same result. Lets fist talk about the jerkbait. I will use this on a med to med heavy fast action G-Loomis rod topped with a Pflueger President 6.3: 1 reel, spooled with no less than 14 pound fluorocarbon line. I tie on one of two lures, a Lucky Craft slim 97 or 112 pointer in several colors such as Tennessee Shad, Ghost Minnow, or Tablerock Shad.
I will get the bait on the edge of break lines, open water humps, and rocky points just above or in the grassy tops of submerged hydrilla. Once there, work the bait so slow it hurts. After reeling it down I pause for at least 5 – 10 seconds before I moving it again about 6 or 8 inches with a slow sweep of the rod tip. I have noted the bait fish in the area are also moving slow instead of the quick dart like motion they have in the warmer months.
If this does not get a reaction, I will use my favorite technique, “power cranking”. Using a glass medium action rod with a extra fast tip on a 6.3:1 reel topped of with Power pro 30 lb. braid is great way to get the bait a good distance in spring wind. This rod has the backbone an angler will need to get the hook set and fish out of the grass roots of its ambush points. I will always be throwing a ½ to ¾ oz lucky craft LVR in either red craw or the “lake Guntersville special” chartreuse/blue back.
I will throw the bait far onto the flats on the creek channel lines and “crank it.”(When I say crank it, I mean hard.) Turn the reel handle as fast as you can working the bait just above tops of the grass. If the bait runs into the grass and you feel the rod start to load up in grass “yank it” upward just as hard as you would to set the hook
Then keep cranking it back to the boat. I know this is a very hard thing for an angler to understand but if you think you are retrieving the bait too fast, you need to retrieve it faster. I found it to be the most effective way to get bit when the fish don’t seem to want to bite. I have seen huge bass on this lake knock 3 feet of slack in the line in 40 degree water. You can also use this with other lures such as the Lucky Craft CBMR and CBDR for those fish on the deeper side of the breaks.
After I have worked an area with some success, I will start to throw a jig to finesse the hard to get bite. I throw a Choo-Choo jig on a 7 or 7’6” foot heavy to extra heavy rod with a moderate to fast tip with the same type 6.3:1 reel spooled with 17 pound fluorocarbon line or sometimes the 45lb braid if fishing near rocks. I like to use a Choo-Choo ½ or 3/8 oz. jig in either the titan head or the poison head style and I keep the colors simple. I will always have one of these four colors: camo, moccasin, black pumpkin or midnight. I use the new Netbait Paca Chunk Sr. as a trailer.
I often mix the trailer colors though. I will use a blue sapphire or watermelon on the camo and midnight jig colors, and use a peanut butter and jelly or black trailers on the moccasin jig and the key lime pie trailer on the black pumpkin jig. Keep the boat on the deep-water side of the back channel ledge and toss the jig up on the shallow tops of the ledge. Work it across the top slowly and down the side to about 15 or so feet. Then pull it up and return the bait back to the top of the ledge. Repeat this until you get tired of catching those monsters during the spring on the Big-G.
If you would like to see these tactics used along with a couple of other tricks on Guntersville give us a call at Fins-N-Grins and let us get your next adventure started.
Tight lines and good fishing,