In what appears to be a reoccurring trend on Lake Hartwell, bass pro Brian Latimer of Anderson said bass anglers can both fish for spawning fish and capitalize on the herring spawn. He said the first wave of largemouth has completed spawning, but there are plenty of fish still on the beds and the postspawn fish aren’t leaving either.
“It’s just weird,” said Latimer. “For the last several years, the herring are moving in and spawning at the same time as the bass. You’ll be working along the bank, trying to sight fish for bass and have a school of them blow up right next to the boat chasing herring.”
Latimer said an additional bonus on Hartwell is that chunky spotted bass are also in the same areas and are not nearly as picky as some of the largemouths. His favorite tactic is to fish a drop-shot rig, using an 8-inch leader with a ¼-ounce sinker on 12-pound Hi-Seas fluorocarbon line. He’s using a trick worm or a straight-tail Berkeley Havoc worm in green pumpkin or smoke purple rigged wacky style.
“You don’t have to fish this vertically, just cast it around,” said Latimer. “I’m focusing on main- lake points looking for dark areas on the bottom or any irregular feature like a stump or big rock in less than 5 feet of water. Most of those will have a spotted bass or two around them; you don’t even have to get that close.”
The other strong pattern is throwing topwater baits anytime fish are seen blowing up on herring or just cruising the shallows in the same areas where other bass are spawning. He keeps a clear Zara Spook or a Duo Realis Pencil 110 walking bait in chrome/white tied on for those fish.
“The herring spawn is throwing a kink in the traditional prespawn, spawn and postspawn pattern,” said Latimer. “Everything is trying to spawn right now, and bass are chasing herring off their beds while the herring are trying to spawn. It’s really hard not to catch fish right now.”
Latimer said prevailing water temperatures were ranging between 60 to 65 degrees, and locating fish is a matter of easing around main-lake points, blind-casting the drop shot rig and watching for schooling fish.