Sight-fishing for largemouth bass at North Carolina's top lunker lake has begun, but access to Shearon Harris Lake still is a problem.

"The bass are moving onto the beds at all area lakes," said guide Jeff Thomas of Carolina Outdoors. "Harris is getting ready to be a sight fisherman's delight. The dogwoods are bloomin', and that means the bass will be coming up."

Because of a cold, wet late winter and early spring, the spawn at Harris this year won't be in waves of fish as in the past but all at once, he said.

"The full moon is going to happen Monday, and that means the bass should move to the beds," he said. "They'll come at the same time. We've had a few sporadic bedders at Harris already, but nothing like what's coming. It'll be like turning on a light switch."

Tournament anglers already are catching their share of 8- and 9-pounders, Thomas said.  

"The problem is getting on the lake because the Cross Point (formerly Merry Oaks) Ramp still isn't finished, so that means one boat ramp (Holleman) is open for the entire lake," Thomas said. "A friend told me it took 90 minutes to trailer his boat last Saturday."

 

Topwater lures, floating worms and frogs will be the best lures while bass still stage off the lake's shoreline. Once they get on the beds, jigs, frogs, plastic worms and Creature baits will be top choices.

 

If he casts the floating worm in open areas, he'll use circle hooks with no weight; if he throws the it around shallow grass,  he'll use an extra-wide gap hook and a Texas rig.

 

"For staging bass, I like the Danny Joe Humphrey floating worm in pink and orange-sherbet," Thomas said. "Frog colors don't matter, I've found.

 

"For bed fishing, I don't think color matters much, but I like to throw a jig with a little chartreuse so I can see where the lure's at in the bed," Thomas said. "There's a spot in a bed that usually gets more attention from bass."

 

He also sometimes uses soft-plastic lizards or creature baits such as the Beaver, Sweet Beaver or Wooly Hawg.

However, bedding bass can be finicky.

 

"If you throw a lure in (the bed) and a bass swims out and doesn't come back, it might not be catchable," he said. "But if it swims in circles around the bed, you've got a chance to catch it. The key is reading the personality of the bass."

 

Although most bedding largemouths will be smaller males; anglers have the chance to catch the fish of a lifetime, a big female, on the bed.

 

"If you could choose only one lake to go to now, I'd choose Harris because there are so many bass in it," Thomas said.