Some cooler nights have triggered a change for the pre-spawn bass at Lake Lanier. Despite never being known as a great lake for casting crankbaits, the coming week should provide anglers with a short period when the diving crankbait may be the best lure to catch spotted bass.
Though many of the spotted bass and largemouth bass had already moved into quite shallow water, this last taste of winter will make them tend to hold and feed suspended away from the banks of the lake in 6 to 10 feet of water. Therefore, for an angler to be successful, it is necessary to have a lure pass through this magic depth at a very slow pace, but with enough action to attract the bass’ curiosity and appetite. This is accomplished by utilizing diving crankbaits in 1/4 to 1/2 ounce sizes with enough of a diving lip to easily take the lure to the desired depth with the proper wiggle.
In the clearer waters, color never seems to make much of a difference, but when fishing stained or slightly muddy water, brighter chartreuse or white crankbaits seem to be more productive. The most important ingredient is always the speed of the retrieve!
Most fishermen think that the more casts they make the better their chances, but during this crankbait period, that is certainly not the case. It is imperative that one finds the “happy medium” to be successful. The retrieve must be just fast enough to allow the crankbait to dive and wiggle, but not one bit more than that. Only the trial of success or failure will show an angler when he has achieved the proper speed.
Best places to cast are usually points and coves. Red clay banks seem to have more bass than rocky or sandy ones. It’s best to use spinning tackle with 8 pound test line to be more efficient and allow the lure to go deep enough to attract the bass. Smaller diameter lines will let the lure go even deeper, but one is more at risk of losing fish and lures with the lighter lines.
If an angler casts directly at the bank, finds the right speed of retrieve, and diligently works the proper places, he can expect to catch 10 to 25 spotted bass and a few other species of fish in an 8-hour period each day until the water warms back into the mid 60 degrees, the it’s time for Swirleybirds again!