With plenty of water, cooler temperatures, and high winds lately, the bass spawn this year is slightly different. Though a few spotted bass were able to spawn on the full moon this past week, most won’t complete the job until the next full moon in May.
Adam Bernero with a Lanier Spotted BassThe unusual amount of water in the lake combined with a very cold winter has caused the warming process to be quite slow. Nevertheless, more and more spotted bass are moving into the spawning areas each day, and the bass fishing should become phenomenal over the coming weeks!
When spotted bass move into the spawning mode, they become very aggressive and extremely territorial. During this period, one method is guaranteed to catch big numbers of these one to five pound bass. It requires the use of a tiny lure that looks much like a shad to the bass. Shad are not only the main source of food for bass at Lake Lanier, but they also represent a danger to bass eggs.
This lure is a small inline spinner that I designed more than twenty years ago, which is known as the “Swirleybird”. Though I believe that colors are a personal preference, the perfect Swirleybird size during the bass spawn is 1/8th ounce.
Though one may catch bass by just casting and reeling with the Swirleybird, learning the proper method will guarantee success throughout the next two months. One must learn to go against conventional bass wisdom, especially in respect to the hook set. In fact, if the reaction to a strike is treated with a hard, upward jerk to set the hook, most spotted bass will often be missed.
Success will come when one learns to tease the spotted bass by winding the reel handle one quick revolution, followed by a continued slow retrieve. This action pulls the bait away just enough to incite the fish into taking in more of the tiny lure on its next pass. This sequence could reoccur five or six times before the angry “spot” finally tires of the game and inhales the diminutive lure.
Regardless of someone’s age, gender, or experience, these lures make it easy for anyone to catch plenty of spotted bass during the spawn at Lake Lanier from the bank or a boat. In fact, women and children with little or no fishing background are often far more successful than seasoned bass anglers. These neophytes generally listen to the instructions better, are not set in their ways, and don’t react violently to every strike. Also, they often use spincast reels that possess a much slower retrieve, which keeps the lures in the strike zone longer.
Lake Lanier is always one of the best places in the South to wet a hook during the spotted bass spawning period. Throw a few Swirleybirds and the proper technique into the mix, and this could be the most productive bass fishing season ever!