Things are heating up — big pre-spawn fish are on the way

2013-08-10 00:00

WE may still see a late season cold front or two, but the bottom line is we have definitely gone beyond the stretches of winter and it is safe to say that the proverbial scent of spring is in the air.

The reality is that big bass are on the way, on the way to the areas where they will be easy to pattern and most definitely susceptible to the average effort.

The fish right now will be sitting in main-lake bowl sections of our impoundments and will be gearing up to utilise major drop-offs as migration routes to the spawning areas.

In the meantime and for the next few weeks, the fish will start staging during the warmer parts of the day, as they revise their routes and confirm their plans.

“Staging” is described as the preliminary movements that bass make, normally daily as they prepare for D-day.

So for now, main-lake drop-offs and river channels are where you should be focusing, and obviously singling out isolated cover along these routes.

At least once or twice throughout the day you should check the shallower areas adjacent to your chosen deep water spots, to see if you can cross paths with any fish that may have made movements into the shallows.

It also seems that some of the earlier spawners are often the biggest fish and I have caught most of my memorable fish in the preliminary stages of the spawn.

Based on this, you should be targeting these giants while you can and in the process learn some vital indicators that come into play at this most crucial time of the year.

A Carolina rig is probably the most effective rig in the pre-spawn, and should be fished slow and deep, close to likely spawning areas.

The obvious drop-offs and deep points are the first places to look, and a large lizard to complement your rig is definitely a great choice to tempt August fish.

If you have found a few bites in a single area, I would then pinpoint the zone with a football jig, which always appeals to a fat old bass.

Do not be shy to upsize your baits in the search for these fish, as they are not shy to eat a big bait in preparation for the spawn.

Deep diving crankbaits are also a surefire way to locate schooling fish this month, which can be found in the same areas you are throwing your Carolina rig.

I like to alternate between the two baits to ensure that I am always doing my best to make something happen, because all you need is that first bite and the rest will come with ease. Like I mentioned earlier, you must check the shallows or any high points in the area to check if any fish have pulled up yet.

A lipless crankbait is probably the most effective way to rapidly check an area and pre-spawners absolutely eat lipless crankbaits, so put some effort in here.

Last week, anglers caught some chunky pre-spawners at Inanda that were definitely in the right stages, confirming that things are going to heat up there real soon. Albert Falls, on the other hand, has been slightly less productive, but it only takes a day or two for the recipe to correct itself and the fish will start their movements.

As always, fish care is of utmost importance, but at this time of year it is crucial to release every fish, and to limit time out of the water and injuries to the fish.

So get out on the lake and catch some bass, and remember to release your catch alive to prolong the sustainability of our resource. E-mail me with reports, pictures and questions at zorthewitt@hotmail.com

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