Early April is always a fun time for bass fishing on Lake Travis! The spawn gets a lot of hype, but personally I find the late spring time bite more enjoyable. During this time of year you will find post-spawn fish in a variety of places on the lake. In this fishing report we'll discuss fish living in typically post-spawn places around the shorelines, as well as fish living out in deep water around docks in big schools. Chasing schooling fish is one of my favorite things to do with clients as its very visual. Nothing gets folks more excited than seeing fish busting the surface pushing baitfish out of the water.
While you still can find some straggler pre-spawn fish as well as some bass on beds, the better bite right now in my opinion is post spawn fish. When targeting these fish think about where you looked for pre-spawn fish, those types of spots will often hold fish... fish move in the coves, do their thing, then move back out. The first places I look are creek channel bends, small points, and little ledges, all inside of large spawning coves. I recommend you go back and look at my last fishing report discussing "rocky veins," this is something I am still fishing a lot. Main lake points can still hold fish, but I recommend making your way a little further back into the coves for now. Travis fish tend to live deep year round compared to other lakes. However, during this time of year its not uncommon to catch bass in just a few feet of water consistently so make long casts and get close to the shoreline.
When targeting these fish there are a couple things I like to have rigged up. First off is my search baits, these are going to be moving baits that I can cover water with quickly. A medium diving crankbait in a bluegill/sunfish or threadfish shad color is a must, just like always grind that bait along the bottom and kick up sand to try and trigger a bite. I also like to have an Alabama rig or a Keitech swimbait tied on. The majority of the time I go with a 4" Keitech on a 3/8th ounce lead head. If it windy and overcast out (pre-front conditions are even better!) that A rig is my preference, but like I said, most of the time under normal weather conditions I go with the single swimbait. Lastly is a jerkbait, go with something in a shiny shad color. Megabass makes a color called Wagasaki that I like a lot. Jerkbaits get a rap for being a wintertime bait. Just because its warming up, don't let that stop you from fishing it! I like to throw it just like I would in cold water, only working it faster and not pausing it as long. These baits are all good ways to cover water and feel out what the fish want and how active they are. Personally I like catching fish on moving baits more. With that said, a big mistake I see anglers make is only fishing with baits they want to catch the bass with. Let the bass tell you what they want, its not always up to you! Sometimes you need to drop down to finesse baits to do well even though its not as glamourous.
When its calm out with no wind and there's not a cloud in the sky, I tend to fish a little deeper and slow down with soft plastics. Three rigs I recommend right now is a Ned rig, a Texas rigged Senko, and a Carolina Rig. A green pumpkin TRD worm on the Ned rig is hard to beat, but do experiment with colors and find what works for you! Having confidence in the bait you are throwing is extremely important. A Texas rigged Senko is a very good option when fishing around places with brush or stumps (you'd be surprised how many stumps are in Lake Travis, especially with the lake being low.) I like to fish it with a 1/4 or 3/8th ounce tungsten bullet weight and fish it with long pauses while maintaining bottom contact the whole time. Lastly, I like to throw a Carolina rig with a 3 foot long leader and either a creature bait such as a brush hog or speed craw, or a fluke in a shad color such as Arkansa Shiner. During this time of year bass feed heavily on fin bait, so a fluke rigged on a Carolina Rig can tear them up! One tip for you, go with as heavy of a weight as you can get away with. I generally throw a 1 ounce weight in order to kick up sand on the bottom and make noise, but when fishing up inside coves where its shallower that heavy weight gets snagged a lot. Drop down to a 1/2 ounce weight and you will make it through the rocks a lot easier.
Now that we've discussed all that, let's get to the good stuff... schooling bass! Like I mentioned in the intro, I LOVE chasing schooling fish. Watching them jump clear out of the water or seeing them chase my bait back to the boat on the Panoptix is a blast. Some deep water marinas and certain areas of the lake are holding big schools of threadfin shad right now. Naturally this attracts a lot of largemouth and white bass. (I won't tell you which spots in this fishing report, but if you visit www.lakeproguides.com you can purchase my honey hole report that will show you EXACTLY where to find these fish.)
Chasing these fish is pretty straight forward, look for them to jump then cast as close to them as you can. With that said, having forward facing live sonar such as Garmin Panoptix will easily help you catch 30% more fish. I honestly don't feel that I am exaggerating... since rigging my Skeeter with a new Garmin Panoptix bundle I feel I have caught considerably more fish than in years past. This technology really excels for this application and especially in Lake Travis. With Travis being so clear and the fish being in open water, they show up on the sonar very well. I typically keep my range around 70-80 feet when doing this and my gain around 60-65%. The reason I have caught at least a third more fish is because now I know exactly where to cast when the fish aren't jumping and hitting the surface. Before I would have to blindly fan cast after the fish quit jumping. Now I can pan the transducer around and find the schools again within a matter of seconds and see how deep they've gone. If you book a trip with me, this is something I would be happy to teach you how to do. (See the photo below of a big school of shad I found the other day!)
When chasing these fish there are two main baits I recommend. A small swimbait such as a 4" Keitech Easy Shiner on a 3/8th ounce Dobyns light wire lead head in a shad color is deadly. It's a perfect imitation of the baitfish they are chasing and can be cast a long ways. (Making long casts is extremely important!) The other bait I have been tearing them up on is a casting spoon. A 3/8th or 1/2 ounce silver Kastmaster (with an upgraded hook) is an old school bait that I don't see many guys throwing. These little spoons catch everything, cast a mile, and have a nice swimming action even when fished slow. Since they are solid metal they also show up well on the sonar which is a bonus. In a pinch they are also good for dropping down and vertical jigging when you see fish on the graph under the boat. Sometimes I like to run my Humminbird as well to watch my 2D sonar to view directly under the boat. This is how I catch a lot of Striper as they tend to be deep FYI. You can also get bit throwing a topwater bait such as a silver Pop R or a Lucky Craft Gunfish. As of late topwater baits have been working better when fish are actively hitting the surface. If they are only sporadically doing this, go with the swimbait or spoon.
When the fish are busting on the surface like this get your casts into the middle of them as quick as you can! If you are quick and accurate, its not uncommon to double up! At times I will be patient literally only casting when I see them jumping. This schooling action should last a while longer, even into the summer if you know where to look.
My April is still super busy, but I have some openings left this month. If you are interested in a trip click the Book Online button, select one of my trip options, and it will show you my calendar of open dates.
As always, if this report helps you catch more fish please consider sharing it on your social media! Your word of mouth is the best marketing I could ask for and helps me greatly. I love teaching people to fish and unlike pretty much every other fishing guide around here, I offer a lot of detailed information about fishing Lake Travis for free.