Wild Northerner Magazine Spring 2018 - Page 14

BY JAMES HODGINS

For Wild Northerner

Spring is here and I am ready to get back on the open lakes. I have some unfinished fishing to do this year, especially with the largemouth bass species. I try to target them a few times each summer, but last year I only managed to get out once. I am not a seasoned professional when it comes to largemouth bass, but over the past five years I have tested a few presentations in several different lakes with great success.

Unlike smallmouth bass, largies like warm shallow weedy areas with a lot of cover and you will usually find them tucked in under lily pads and floating weed beds as well as the usual structure where you would find fish. If the sun is out and the wind is low it might be the perfect time to throw some topwater baits to make some noise. My favorite "wake up, I am here" topwater lure is the Hula Popper. I will cast this noise maker at the very edge of the shore or weed bed and give it a few good pops towards the boat before I let it sit still for at least 15 seconds. Sometimes just letting it sit there will instigate a violent strike. If anything is out on the prowl in the area you will know within a few casts.

Next, I throw a larger size spinner bait. Whites and greens are the color of choice for me and I will try to cover a 360-degree area making sure to let the spinner bait drop a few feet before I start the retrieval. These first two presentations should yield a few fish, but if they are a bit finicky due to weather then I will start working some weedless setups and slower presentations. The good 'ol wacky rigged plastic worm is always a must have in any tackle box because there is a multitude of species that will hammer it. Some lakes that I fish for largemouth bass also have smallmouth bass and pike so the worm is always my go to for a slower presentation. Just cast it, let it sink and if nothing happens give it a few twitches. I like to watch my line that is floating and the rate it descends into the water where the worm broke surface. If the line accelerates faster, then get ready to set the hook. (Bass anglers know what I am talking about).

When I need to throw something into the cabbage (thick weed cover) I use a presentation I used in the past for pike and you might have seen it before. I will Texas rig a Strike King Money Craw on a large wide gap hook. This is useful for two reasons when you cast it into the weeds. One, you can quickly retrieve the craw and have it skim across the surface with the paddle claws slapping the water. Two, let it sink below the weeds and twitch it off the bottom to engage a strike.

If you enjoy smallmouth bass fishing then you owe it to yourself to try a hand at largemouth. The fight is felt with every fish, the acrobats out the water is heart pumping and the sore arms the day after from lifting these buckets all day is pain you want to feel week after week.

Get outdoors, find your lake and enjoy the fishing.

Bring on spring hogfest

Bring on spring hogfest