Pre-Spawn: The Season of Giants
The pre-spawn period typically occurs in water temperatures between 48-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Warming springtime waters begin to drive physiological changes in big bass that force the fish toward shallow water. This time period which can last anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months often produces some of the biggest fish caught annually.
Pre-spawn fishing for giant bass, particularly early in the year, often requires fishermen to slow down and pick apart structure. It’s extremely important for anglers to complete their homework prior to arriving on the lake. In the pre-spawn, location is critical. In this post we will examine how to break down one major pre-spot hot spot, main lake points, that will help anglers key in on small areas that can maximize their chances at the fish of a lifetime.
Virtually all fishermen understand that points create underwater structure that attract fish.
In regards to big fish this is particularly true during the pre-spawn period. Early in the season main lake and secondary points serve as an intermediate hunting ground between wintering locations and spring spawning flats. That said, not all points are made equal. The picture shown is an example of a point on Lake Sam Rayburn, in Texas, that produced a 13lb fish in February of 2016. Let’s examine what makes a spot like this so great. First, the spot sits on the northern shore of the lake. In the spring, this water catches more of the sun which hangs low in the southern sky and warms faster. The point is also well positioned to benefit from warm southern winds which will move warm surface water over the point. These two factors combined can lead to water that is several degrees warmer in the early spring than much of the surrounding lake making it an ideal early season location. Secondly, the point is perfectly positioned between shallow water spawning flats and a nearby deep-water sanctuary for giants to suspend while not actively feeding.
Lunker Lore: The spot shown above is located at: (31° 14.083’N 94° 17.515’W). Use the Navionics boating app to find this spot an examine the nuances that make it great.
Going from good to great, there is a funnel that creates a highway for big bass to quickly move up into 8-12 foot feeding flats on the point. (See blog post on funnels) Once a spot like this is discovered on a topographical map, the key then becomes finding the spot on the spot most likely to hold giant fish. Use your depth finder to locate these areas. The best spots will have hard bottoms (shows up as yellow on most depth finders), small rock piles, shell beds, and spotty or non-existent weed cover. Densely weeded areas are difficult to fish, reduce the feeding efficiency of predators, and are generally shunned by giant bass. Statistically speaking the best lures for this time of year tend to be jigs, plastic worms, and crankbaits.