A New Twist for Pre-Spawn Bass

A New Twist for Pre-Spawn Bass

A New Twist for Pre-Spawn Bass

by March 28, 2014


If you talk to any angler and ask their favorite time to fish and I bet you will hear: pre-spawn. The reason this is the time of the year that the bass are feeding to prepare for the upcoming spawn. But as fruitful and bountiful as it can be it can also be frustrating. Not every day do they bite like gang busters. On a recent trip to Truman Lake, I was faced with less than perfect fishing conditions. A massive draw-down was happening, it was post-frontal conditions and the water was muddy and still cool. But when most anglers I seen commented on struggling and many stayed on the banks, I headed out for my inaugural trip out on Truman Lake. Yes, I have not had a chance to fish my home water yet and it was April already. And today I only had about three hours to fish.


Like most anglers I rigged up a spinnerbait, jig and crankbait. I headed to a “major”, or I call them “live creek”; one that drains a lot of area and has almost a continuous supply of water in-flow. I started at the mouth and started fishing, just enjoying the day and not paying attention to the conditions and the Humminbird Side Imaging equipment I’m blessed to own. I was trying to put skill and lady luck on my side and it does not always work that way. I fished all the way to the back of the creek through huge balls of bait; and not one bump, sniff or bite. I could see why other anglers told me to leave the boat on the trailer. I’ve learned the toughest days make me a better angler, as a competitive angler I don’t get to choose the days on the water during competition.


As it got shallow I switched my bow unit from 2D sonar to Side Imaging; and guess what? I started learning why the fish were not on the banks. I started seeing fish and bait balls away from the bank or suspended on the channels and break-lines.




Immediately I changed tactics to some techniques I have employed at other fisheries around the country, but I have not tried much here locally at home. First thing, I opened the rod box in my Skeeter 20i and there was my newfound passion;  a swimbait tied up just calling my name. What the heck! I’ve never thrown it in the muddy water, so I pulled it out. Also, it was time to break out the light line and big cranking rod and tie on one of my new favorite pre-spawn baits the LuckyCraft GDS Mini Dr. The GDS Mini DR is awesome for pre-spawn bass as its wide wobbling action and depth is irresistible to hungry females.




What happened now was three hours of catching hungry female bass,  one after another; but not where most would target. The Side Imaging wasn’t lying about where they were hiding.




prespawnbassThey were right there on the break, and schooled up good. I caught three real nice ones out of the first school on the swimbait over the top;  and running the LuckyCraft GDS Mini through the bass; making it an easy prey. Just like you and I like the closest seat to the buffet, bass like the easiest source to get food. After this, I spun the MinnKota Fortrex up to 80 Percentage and started covering water, watching the Humminbird Side Imaging for the information I needed to be successful. I continued the pattern into two more creeks and put 10 keeper largemouth in the boat with the smallest about 3-1/2-lbs and the largest around 6-lbs.


But with all good stories, the big one did get away. I lost one in a cedar tree that I estimated around 8-lbs maybe a little more. She hit the swimbait with a bad mamba jamba attitude and never let me turn her. The swimbait bite is incredible. You’ve never had as an intense rush, they have one thing on their mind they want that bait. With this, I found the right hook to use with the heavy line and powerful strikes to increase my hook-up ratio; the Secret Lures Meat Hook HD 7/0 is the best and has increased my hook-up ratio 10 fold. There are several reason why I prefer this hook. It’s a heavy duty big Mustad hook. But the biggest reason is the straight shank, it lays perfectly horizontal with the bait and very hard to rig wrong and makes rigging simple and easy to hook-up when you do get bit.


So next time you head out for some pre-spawn action, it’s best to let the fish tell you what they want and use your tools you have to locate the fish and you can turn a failure into a memorable trip.


Humminbird 797c2 Side Imaging Graph
Swimbait: 4.5″ Swimbait in blue back shad pattern, Secret Lures 7/0 MeatHook HD, 15# Flourocarbon, spinnerbait rod with Daiwa TD Advantage 153HSTA 6.3:1 reel
Crankbait: LuckyCraft GDS Mini Dr in Mad Craw (286), 10# flourocarbon, 7-1/2-ft Cranking Rod Medium/Heavy, Daiwa TD Advantage 153HSTA 6.3:1 reel




DougVahrenberg-Tournament About Doug:

Doug Vahrenberg is a pro angler from West Central Missouri. He has been very instrumental in taking Humminbird Side Imaging to the extremes and has been a leader in promoting the technology. He’s been labelled the “Side Imaging Guru” by his peers for his knowledge and understanding of the uses Humminbird can produce. When he isn’t competing in tournaments, you’ll often find Doug sharing his sharing his extensive knowledge in seminars at sportsmen shows and on YouTube.


Doug is sponsored by: Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, MinnKota Motors & Chargers, Talon Shallow Water Anchors,  Humminbird Electronics, Transducer Shield and Saver, Lucky Craft Lures, Sunline,  Dobyns Rods, Daiwa Reels, LakeMaster Charts, Dave’s Custom Baits, Omega Custom Tackle, Browning Eyewear, Angler Innovations USA, Fish Guardian, Elite Tungsten Co., Massey Ferguson Farm Equipment.


Check out Doug’s website and follow him on social media:





No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Leave a Comment