Get 'em while they're hot!

That's the message from bass pro Tracy Adams of Wilkesboro after a couple of days on the water this week catching bass on Lake Hickory.

"We've got a big wave of bass ready to go (spawn). Oh, boy, the next few days ought to be something," said Adams, a two-time Bassmasters Classic qualifier who two excellent days on the water sight-fishing for bedding bass on Hickory.

On Tuesday, he took Matt Cashion of Cashion rods, one of his major sponsors, and they caught a dozen or so keepers on the lower end of the lake, most of them in the 2 ½- to 3-pound range, but one a 6-pounder.

On Thursday, he started on the lower end, then moved to the upper end, where he caught three 5-pounders to go with another dozen keepers. His 5-fish limit for the day: around 22 pounds.

"I've seen (the spawn) go on to around the 10th or 12th of May," Adams said. "This year, I'm not afraid to say it will last longer. The ones that don't go up (around the April 25 full moon), they'll go up on that new moon in early May." Hickory has the reputation as being a great lake for bass up to about five pounds, a great place to fish at night during the summer, and because of the clear water, a great place to sight-fish for bedding bass.

 

Adams, who oversees the tackle section at David's Market in Wilkesboro (336-667-2771), said the spawn usually starts on the lower end of the 4,223-acre lake and proceeds upstream toward the river section and Rhodhiss Dam just west of the US 321 bridge. Bass can be finished spawning on the lower end before they really kick in up the lake, he said; there can be as much as two week's difference in the timing.

 

"Whichever part of the lake you're on, the biggest females go up first; the first wave is gonna have most of the big ones," said Adams, who fished in six FLW Tour Championship tournaments between 2000 and 2009 before moving to the BASS Southern Open and Northern Open tours. "There are still some fish bedding (on the lower end), but the bigger ones are going to be bedding up there."

 

The bedding fish are scattered throughout pockets and cuts off the main body of the lake. They're spawning in 2 to 2 ½ feet of water – not right on the bank – and it takes a practiced eye to see them; often, it's the movement of the fish as a boat approaches that gives it away.

 

Adams caught most of his fish Thursday on a Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Craw rigged Texas-style on a 4/0 Owner hook with a 5/16th-ounce worm weight. He started with the watermelon color, then switched to green pumpkin. He caught one of his three 5-pounders on a swimbait rigged weedless on a swimbait hook.

A handful of fish, including his third and final 5-pounder, came while he was just "prospecting" around likely looking places like boat docks while he was moving his Nitro bass boat between spots where he expected to find spawning fish.