provided by John E. Phillips
Jordan Lee of Cullman, Alabama, won two Bassmaster Classics back to back in 2017 and 2018. For the last three years, he’s been a part of Major League Fishing and also has fished in FLW tournaments as well as regional and local bass tournaments. Lee was the 2020 Points Champion for MLF. Although we all look forward to the spring when bass start moving up from deep water to shallow water, this time of the year, in February and March particularly, can be the most frustrating and difficult season for catching bass. Depending on where you live and the conditions of the weather and water, you may be fishing for pre-spawn bass, spawning bass or post-spawn bass. You can be fishing too for bass that are in all three stages of spawning on the same lake. Mossy Oak asked Lee, one of the nation’s top bass-fishing anglers, how to sort out these problems during this time of the year. Jordan Lee not only catches bass but catches some of the biggest bass in the lakes he fishes.
My third lure of choice to fish during February – mid-May is a swimbait. The swimbaits are usually somewhat bigger than the Berkley Warpig Lipless Crankbait or the bladed jig. The swimbait I prefer is a 6-inch soft- plastic Berkeley Hollow Belly rigged on a 1/2-ounce jig head. This lure allows me to quickly fish the various water depths where I think the bass should be. I can swim it in deep water where the bass are holding before the spawn, through shallow water for bass that are on the bed or through the water where bass are going to and coming off the bed.
Another advantage of fishing the swimbait during this time of the year is that this lure continues to catch bigger bass than the bladed jig or the lipless crankbait. I’ve found that the swimbait seems to be the most effective if the water is a little bit clear. The colors I like to use are the Ayu or any shad color, such as green gizzard.
One of the best lures I like to catch spawning bass with is a 6-1/2-inch plastic Berkley Powerbait Bottom Hopper Worm rigged wacky style. I’ll fish this lure on a 7-foot medium-action Abu Garcia Veritas Rod with an Abu Garcia Revo MGX reel with 8-pound-test Hi-Vis Yellow x 5 braided line and a 10-pound test Berkeley fluorocarbon leader tied to the braid. My leader will be 10-feet long. I’ll hook the fluorocarbon to the braid with an FG knot. I really like the Hi-Vis line because when the bedding bass sucks my lure into her mouth, I can see the line jump and know that I need to set the hook. The worm I use is a 6-1/2-inch in the green-pumpkin or green-pumpkin-blue colors. I like a No. 1/0 shank hook. The way you present the worm is more important to catch the bass than the color of the worm is. In most cases, when bass are on the bed, you’ll have to finesse fish with light line, small lures and a very slow presentation.
To learn more about Jordan Lee, check out his series “Just Fishing” on Mossy Oak GO.