Prespawn on Shearon Harris Lake is possibly the best time and place to catch a trophy bass in North Carolina, but only if you’re fishing where the bass are headed. During the spring, bass are on the move, and that can lead fishermen to monumental days followed by dire lows.
Jaime Fajardo of Fuquay-Varina has cut his bass-fishing teeth at Shearon Harris and knows what it takes to be consistent in the spring when the bite is tough as well as when it is on fire.
His key to catching trophy fish early on is grass. In the winter, the grass mostly dies off, but finding any kind of grass as the water begins to warm will give anglers a straight-line to big bass. No matter what kind of grass is prevalent in the area, the grass is the key.
The reason why grass is so crucial to the spring bite is heat. With limited sun and warm days that are few and far between, bass seek the warmest objects in the lake. Sunshine and heat gather around the grass, and thus the warming trend effects the water.
“Most of the time those fish would hold to that old grass,” said Fajardo. “The water has been 2 or 3 feet higher than normal with all the snow and rain. I don’t think the grass has taken hold as early as it normally does.”
Although the winter has pushed back the time when bass head shallow – and even the whole process of spawning – with the recent warm weather, the process is being expedited.
Fajardo said numerous waves of fish make their way shallow in the spring, and depending on where you begin fishing, you can connect with one wave or another.
With the dead hydrilla and growth of other grasses, there are a few key baits that will dissect an area and eventually connect with fish. A jerkbait is key in the colder water, but finding the grass is 50 percent of the battle.
“Early in the spring I would throw a jerkbait,” said Fajardo. “When it hits the grass and gets hung up, just pop it free and let it sit.”
For colder water and more inactive fish, Fajardo opts for a slower approach with a jig, and not just a normal jig technique.
“I like to throw a jig in the grass, and when it finally gets hung in the grass, I pop it out,” he said. “The subsequent fall is normally when you can get that bite.”
Once the water temperature begins to rise and the sun is a prominent fixture during the day, Fajardo goes to another technique that is successful on grassy lakes across the country. With the water temperature in the 50s and bass beginning to feed and chase more bait, Fajardo will yo-yo a lipless crankbait out of the grass.
Creek channels are also important to finding those waves of moving fish throughout the spring.
“Fish will stage on those creek channels and secondary points, and you can figure a pattern, but once you stop catching fish, you know that the wave has moved on and the next wave should be on its way,” said Fajardo, who will move shallow to look for the first wave. If that doesn’t pan out, he heads a little deeper in hopes of finding the paths that the bass are using.