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.
Another secret to catching those spawners is to stay as far away as possible from the bass that are bedding. Those bass are extremely spooky and oftentimes, the closer you get to them, the quicker they’ll move off the bed. So, I cast to places where I think a bass should be bedding. Or, if I can see a bass on a bed, I’ll cast to her. If the bass doesn’t take my Berkley Powerbait Bottom Hopper Worm, I’ll still stay as far away from the bass as I can and switch to a creature bait. If the bass swims away from the bed and holds about five feet from it, then I usually still have a chance to catch her, but if she swims further than 5 feet from her bed, then I’ll leave that fish and look for another bedding bass. That first bass is probably not going to bite.
My favorite creature bait to fish is a 4-inch Berkley Creature Hawg in the green pumpkin or sprayed grass color. Sometimes I’ll dip the tails in a chartreuse dye to make them look more like bluegills. I’ll use a No. 4/0 Berkley Fusion hook, which is a really strong flipping hook. I like this bait because it has a number of appendages coming off of the body that I can shake without moving the lure off the bed. If I’m fishing the wacky worm, I’ll be using a spinning rod, but when I’m fishing the creature bait, I’ll be using an Abu Garcia 7-foot 6-inch Fantasista Heavy Action Baitcasting Rod with an Abu Garcia Revo AL-F Baitcasting Reel and 20- or 25-pound Berkley fluorocarbon line. This baitcasting reel is perfect for catching bass because it is very compact and high action and enables me to reel in a bass as fast as possible. I sometimes use 25-pound fluorocarbon line when I see ginormous bedding bass because I don’t want the line to break, though in most cases, I think 20-pound test fluorocarbon is strong enough for bass.
To learn more about Jordan Lee, check out his series “Just Fishing” on Mossy Oak GO.