Bass fishermen have their own notion of April love. And they’re fervent at the thought of sight-fishing for bedding bass at Lake Wylie.
Jerry Neeley of Jerry’s Fishing Guide Service (www.carolinasfishing.com) said that while weather conditions can hasten or delay the spawn, bass typically go on the beds from late March through late April at Wylie.
The fish love gravel and sandy bottoms in coves and pockets in 4 feet of water or less. Productive spawning grounds include Crowders and Mill creeks and Brown’s Cove.
Neeley wears a pair of polarized glasses and arms himself with spinning gear, floating worms and Senkos to entice huge bedding fish into striking.
“Spawning bass aren’t feeding fish, so they have to be teased into striking,” Neeley said.
One of Neeley’s favorite baits for drawing reaction strikes is a floating worm fished on a downsized Carolina rig featuring a small swivel, a 10-inch leader of 10-pound line and a small worm hook that he embeds on the front side of the worm rather than in the middle because of the additional action he gets.
“I’ll cast the worm at a bedding fish and twitch it repeatedly to tantalize the fish into striking,” he said. “The small swivel adds weight for casting and also makes the floating worm sink slowly. When the worm disappears from view and (the line) moves to the side, set the hook.”
Neeley said the floating worm is deadly in the shade but not so effective in the sun.
“Bedding bass in the shade will readily take the floating worm, but fish in the sun will bump the worm and refuse to take it,” said Neeley, who favors pink, merthiolate, white and black for worm colors.
He likes the pink and merthiolate worms in clear water, white worms in stained water, and black worms whenever he sees snakes in the water. The colors are more for the fisherman to see than the fish, because a fisherman must track the bait’s whereabouts to detect bites.
If the floating worm fails, Neeley switches to a Senko, letting it fall repeatedly in front of the fish.
“I also like a Rapala for bedding fish,” said Neeley. “The fish will tear it up if you twitch it repeatedly near their beds.”
Other options include flipping jigs and plastic lizards into the nests of bass.
By the end of April, the fish begin moving to deeper water, though there will be plenty of 2-pound buck bass lingering within the coves and running the banks.
“The last week of April is a good time for a topwater bite,” said Neeley.