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.
During the last two weeks in February all the way up to the first two weeks of May, in many states, you’ll have the opportunity to fish for post-spawn bass. The bass typically will stay shallow for a little while during the post-spawn before they move to deep water - a great time to fish topwater lures and swim jigs. Post-spawn is a fun time to fish for bass. But I’ve discovered that immediately after the spawn, the bass seem to become a little weird, though. After those first two weeks, they start feeding up to rebuild their bodies from the effects of the spawn. If you go to a tournament during the post-spawn, the top 10 finishers may all be fishing different types of lures in various kinds of water. That’s when bass fishing is really fun because the bass will be shallow, deep and everywhere in-between.
My first go-to bait during post-spawn is a topwater walking lure like the Berkley J-Walker. This bait is similar to a Zara Spook, and I walk it just the same. I like to fish the J-Walker early in the morning around and through a shad spawn, because the bass will be feeding on top of the water. If the lake has a lot of grass in it, I’ll fish a popping frog because using it in grass usually will produce a big-bass bite. I’ll also be using a bladed jig, mainly because it’s a versatile bait that I can fish shallow, mid-depth or deep water. Then I’ll go back to the swim jig, which is also a good bait to fish around a shad spawn since it’s bigger and often will cause bigger bass to bite.
The best four baits to fish for bass from mid-February until the first two weeks of April, I’ll choose:
- bladed jig
- swim jig
- creature bait
As I’ve mentioned earlier, there’s a wide variety of baits and lures that will produce bass in the post-spawn. So, the real secret is to depend on your electronics to show you the bass. Don’t be surprised if you see schools of bass in the shallow water, the mid-water and the deeper water – all within the same 200 yards of the bank you’re fishing.
To learn more about Jordan Lee, check out his series “Just Fishing” on Mossy Oak GO.