In most big lakes, shad are making their way toward the back ends of the big bays, coves and feeder creeks, and the bass are following them. This is a transition period with the bass not really settled down yet, and fishing can be pretty tough.
Where I usually try to find them now is a main-lake or secondary point where they might stop to feed and stage for a while. First thing in the morning, when I’m fishing points, I’ll try a popper or a propbait, and then maybe switch to a shallow-running crankbait later in the day. A lot depends on how clear the water is and whether the sky is overcast or not.
Another pattern that works this time of year is fishing the channel swings. Shad and bass migrate along channels. When you’re riding down the lake looking at a bank that doesn’t change visibly, don’t take for granted that the channel runs just as straight. Check it with your electronics. If the channel swings in close to the bank, that area is likely to be a primo spot as long as there is something for the fish to feed on – no bait, no bass. Because bass are there to feed in the warmer shallows, a lot of different baits will catch them. If the channel just runs more or less out in the middle, skip it, because the fish are liable to be anywhere.
The script suited Chevy pro Anthony Gagliardi just fine. Gagliardi, who makes his home at Lake Murray, knew the fish were in cold-water prespawn mode. Bass would be scattered due to the up-and-down spring temperatures, and they would be hunting for calorie-packed meals that didn’t require much work. That dovetailed nicely with a strategy that was then still regionally contained in South Carolina: dragging a “heavy rubber” jig very slowly across the bottom Read More
With the final round field greatly reducing the amount of competition, Gagliardi could finally spend all of his time fishing, rather than guarding his primary spot. Keying on a grass flat of a couple hundred square yards, Gagliardi quickly dialed in a sweet spot that delivered 19-12 and 19-15 the first two days. He only weighed 15-9 on day three, but he knew the spot would replenish and he’d be fine – if he could fish without the constant companionship of other competitors looking for the chance to ease into the area.
“Most of my fish that I weighed this week came off one spot,” Gagliardi said. “My biggest fish, the 4-pounder, came off another place I hadn’t fished before, but I knew going into today, if I did win the tournament, I’d win it off that one spot.
“The first three days, I had to guard against someone else coming in there so I had to stay on that spota lot longer than I normally would have because I knew if I left that someone would come in there. That changed the way I fished the spot – I couldn’t move around on it the way I wanted to. I couldn’t let it rest for 20 minutes and then come back. That’s usually how you end up catching a big fish.
“Today, I could leave it and come back to it and I caught a couple of fish by doing that. I think I made the right decisions this week and gave myself every opportunity to win it.”
Gagliardi caught most of his fish by slow dragging tubes and other soft plastics across the bottom. He caught a few, including his largest fish of day four, by burning a crankbait along the edges of the flat. Full Story
Fishing a grass flat in the lake’s north end, the Properity, S.C., angler fished tubes and other soft plastics along the bottom. Most of his action came in 10 to 13 feet of water.
“I’m not doing anything differently than a lot of (the other competitors),” Gagliardi said. “I just think I have a good area with some quality fish. They’re just moving in every so often to feed, and if you’re there when those fish start feeding, you can catch a couple of nice fish.” Full Story
“I finally got on one place that I had some bites on in practice,” Gagliardi said. “There was a bunch of fish there and they all turned on and started feeding and we caught them pretty good for about 45 minutes. I’m sure that some of the places I fished earlier had some fish on them and they may have turned out at some point. It’s just a timing deal – you have to be at the right place at the right time.”
Gagliardi was mostly dragging plastics along the bottom but he mixed in some cranking and jerkbaiting throughout the day. Full Story