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Walking Baits and Jerkbaits for Early May Bass

provided by John Phillips

Mossy Oak Fishing Pro Brandon Cobb of Greenwood, South Carolina, fished for five years on the FLW circuit and 2019 on the Bassmaster Elite Series. The 30-year-old began fishing solo when he was 12 years old, and his dad always has been his mentor. At Clemson University, Cobb was a member of the fishing team. In 2019, Cobb won two Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments at Lake Hartwell and Lake Fork and took home $100,000 for each win. You can keep up with Brandon Cobb on his Facebook page.

Brandon CobbSince blueback herring are in the lakes around my home in South Carolina, I’ll fish a Yo-Zuri Pencil Lure, a 4-inch-long, walking-style topwater lure. The herring are 4 to 6-inch baitfish and the bass will move into the shallows to feed on them during May. I usually like to fish the baitfish type colors, but my favorite is the bone color. Now I don't fish this Pencil Lure like most people who fish a walking bait. Instead, I fish it really fast, knowing that herring have really fast and erratic swimming styles. In addition to that, I try to move it with a skipping action, although most anglers will fish it with a gliding action by moving it to the left and right with maybe a pause in-between. I point my rod at the sky, instead of directly at the water when I’m retrieving the lure. 

The herring tend to spawn on flat points and flat banks out on the main lake and generally like clay banks that taper off slowly. Herring usually will be anywhere that you see shad spawning, often in water that’s only 4 to10-inches deep. Although you may find big schools of bass feeding on the shad spawn, most of the time you’ll only catch two or three bass out of the school before they quit biting and disperse. When that happens, I may leave that school for about 20-30 minutes to allow the bass to reunite and then catch one to three more bass out of that school. I caught a tremendous number of bass while fishing Lake Fork in May of 2019 when I started using the Yo-Zuri Pencil Lure. In practice, I discovered several places where the bass were feeding on the shad spawn and caught a number of bass on the Pencil. 

Soon after, I changed my lure because the water was somewhat dirty. I started fishing with a lure that I normally wouldn't fish with in May - a jerkbait. I was using a Duel Hardcore Minnow Flat 110SP in a ghost-blue color. Hardcore is a partner company with Yo-Zuri. Now the bad news is, this size and color has been discontinued, but I do have some new lures similar to that jerkbait. After four days of fishing with these two lures in May 2019, I brought in 114 pounds of bass. My biggest fish weighed 11 pounds, 1 ounce, and my best daily limit of five fish weighed 30 pounds, 15 ounces. I probably caught at least 100 bass throughout those 4 days of fishing, releasing most of them. Sometimes I’d catch 20 bass in 20 casts, and eventually I went home with $100,000 in my pocket.

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