Bonus bass make for a spring slam

Largemouth bass and spotted bass may visit spreads of baits intended for stripers or hybrids in March.

The primary targets for Lake Hartwell’s early dawn, red-bank fishing are hybrids and stripers, but bonus spotted and largemouth bass can turn a great morning of fishing into a springtime slam.

“If the hybrids and stripers are there thick enough to catch a 20-fish box up to a limit of 40 fish, the catch usually is just stripers and hybrids,” said guide Chip Hamilton, “but if there are not a lot of stripers and hybrids on a particular morning, we often fill out our limits with spotted and largemouth bass.”

Hamilton doesn’t know whether bass are schooling with the hybrids and stripers or just waiting their turn at the baitfish bunched up against the bank.

“I think it really just depends on how thick and aggressive the school of hybrids are. If the hybrids are thick and aggressively feeding, we usually don’t catch any bass,” he said. “Largemouths don’t like to school with hybrids because of how aggressive they are, but spotted bass don’t really care.”

Typically, he said, the spotted bass catch occurs at the beginning of the feeding frenzy or at the end when the hybrids start to slow down.

“But usually, when there is a flurry of hybrid feeding, you don’t catch any spots,” he said.