Spring provides ample opportunities for anglers to catch spawning bass and/or a heavy stringer of green machines on any lake or river system. But catching them isn’t always easy when the angler and fish are separated only by 20 inches of clear water.
Guide Marc Deschenes of Summerville, S.C., has learned a foolproof tactic to encourage big bass to eat when they aren’t hungry.
It is more of a natural process for a bed scavenger to slide in when the guarding fish is away. It is a quick way to get an instant reaction when the bass returns and an intruder is uninvited.
“The secret is to get the fish off the bed first,” Deschenes said. “Then, cast in the bed and wait for the fish to come back. When the fish returns and sees something in the bed, they will be more likely to eat it than if they watch it land in the bed.”
Deschenes will bump the fish off the bed with a heavy jig or another lure he isn’t planning to offer the bass. Then, he’ll pitch in his drop-shot rig with a brightly colored, soft-plastic lure.
“I like to use something I can easily see when sight-fishing like white, pink, or methiolate,” he said. “Many times, you never feel the bite, but you can see it disappear, which is when I set the hook.”
Deschenes also likes to use smaller baits when he’s tempting a spawning bass because the fish really aren’t feeding, just removing a threat to their unhatched fry.
“Smaller baits are less intimidating, and they will usually just eat these baits versus a larger bait they may just move off the beds,” he said.
After he flips a bait into a bed left empty by a bass he’s disturbed, Deschenes will wait patiently until the fish returns.
“The fish should bite within five to eight minutes. If no bites, then I move to the next one,” he said.
While the bump-and-grind may not be a technique that’s used a lot, sometimes anglers who think out of the box end up with a great catch.