If you follow my reports you know Spring is my favorite time of year to fish. May in particular is one of my favorite months! Why is that?... Well that’s because it's a great time to get bit throwing moving baits and on topwater. As the water gets into the 70’s the bait fish in the lake spawn. Wind blow shorelines and big marinas can hold a lot of bait fish, which in turn attracts the bass. Don’t get me wrong, I love fishing jigs, Texas rigs, drop shots, etc… but getting slammed on a moving bait such as a swimbait is a blast since there is no doubt when you get a bite! As a guide I love it because it generally means less snags. haha
For clients who are a bit more experienced with casting and working a bait, a topwater plug can be a very fun way to catch them. Seeing the blow up on the surface is one of my favorite things. The bass love eating shad, which is exactly what you are mimicking when you throw a spook or pop-r.
With that said, I do find that a lot of beginner anglers don't get their casts up in the areas they need to in order to get bit and they struggle to work the bait properly. During May it is very common to get a big bass to blow up on your topwater bait in just a few feet of water. Early in the morning this time of year the fish will move up shallow to hunt. Being able to cast within a foot or two of the shoreline versus 10-15 feet off the shoreline will make a world of difference. If you are reading my reports looking for advice to get better at fishing, my #1 tip above any bait or reel you could buy is... practice casting! There is without a doubt a direct correlation between how well you can cast and how many fish you will catch in a day.
During the month of May there are two main patterns I would recommend you stick to. The first being throwing moving baits. When I say this I am referring to baits you cast and retrieve that immitate threadfin shad. There are four baits in particular I recommend you have tied on at all times.
Baits to Throw
A swimbait- I like to throw a 4” paddle tail swimbait rigged on a ¼ ounce lead head a lot. It casts far, covers a lot of water, and looks very realistic. Focus on rocky shorelines that are not super steep. Areas getting hit by the wind are usually the best. Make long casts with the swimbait around cover and work it over any drop offs you find underwater. I throw these year round pretty much, but especially this time of year.
A fluke- A Zoom fluke in a baitfish color is a deadly bait fished up shallow. Areas such as shallow points or drains outside of spawning areas will hold bass this time of year. I like to rig a fluke weightless on a 4/0 hook and fish it similar to a jerkbait. I prefer the weightless presentation, but in the wind I will sometimes switch to an Owner twist lock hook with a small belly weight. It is very light, but that little bit of lead helps it cast far.
Alabama Rig- This bait has a reputation as a cold water bait. I completely disagree! I fish this bait around docks and marinas to mimic the schools of bait fish that are also living around them. You can cover a lot of water with this bait and trigger reaction bites with it.
A Heddon Zara Spook- A bone colored spook is one of my favorite topwater baits. The ability to “walk the dog” with it, then pause and kill it every once and a while is very enticing to spring time bass. Fish this bait over and around cover can trigger some exciting blow ups.
Slow Down With A Texas Rig
The second pattern I recommend is slowing down and fishing a Texas rigged plastic craw. Throwing the moving baits is more fun in my opinion, but sometimes the fish get lethargic or the conditions just call for slowing down. Rig up a Texas rig with a ¼ or 3/8th ounce bullet weight (the windier/ deeper the heavier I go) and a 4/0 EWG hook and a craw style bait like a Zoom speed craw. Focus on rocky areas outside of places you have found bass historically spawning. The fish are post-spawn at this point so they will be making their way back out to the main lake and feeding up. Lake Travis is mostly rock, so there is a large population of crawfish in the lake. While the shad pattern is very popular to fish this time of year, imitating crawfish can also produce some nice fish! Green pumpkin, watermelon, and other natural craw colors will excel over wild bright colors. The exception to this is I will dip the claws in chartreuse Spike It on overcast days or if I'm fishing an area where the wind or rain run off has muddied up the water.
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Good luck out there on the water!