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.
From Texas to Georgia, depending on the parts of those states you’re fishing, you may catch pre-spawn to post-spawn bass in February, March and perhaps April. I’ve found that the best thing to start with while fishing during this time of the year is the news. If the weatherman reports that the temperature will be stable and fairly warm during the last two weeks of February, some of those big spawning females will start moving into shallow water. These bass will not only be searching for bedding sites but also will be feeding aggressively just before the spawn.
In some areas of the Deep South, the females already may have started to spawn. One of my favorite lures to fish when this happens is a 1/2-ounce bladed jig in the green-pumpkin or chartreuse-and-white color. For a trailer, I’ll tie on Berkley’s PowerBait The Deal trailer in the same colors. One of the reasons I like to use the bladed jig at this time of the year is because I can cover a lot of water quickly and fish it in shallow water, mid-depth water and/or in deeper water. I’ll be able to catch pre-spawn bass, spawning bass and post-spawn bass on any lake I fish with that lure. This lure also comes in handy when I go to new lakes, because I’m able to fish fast and cover a lot of water quickly to learn where the bass are living. No matter what stage the bass are in, I’ve learned that they will react to the bladed jig.
To catch the biggest bass in the lake during this time of the year, I want to try and catch the pre-spawn ones that are feeding up in preparation for the spawn. I want to use a search bait to cover a lot of water and various depths of water. My favorite search bait is a 1/2-ounce Berkley Warpig Lipless Crankbait with a 3/8- or a 5/16-ounce weight ahead of it. I’ll usually fish this lure from mid-February to mid-March. Depending on where I see the bass holding on my depth finder, I like to fish in 3-6 feet of water then because on many lakes, that’s where the bass that are moving up from deep water to shallow water generally will be holding.
To learn more about Jordan Lee, check out his series “Just Fishing” on Mossy Oak GO.