Post-spawn bass pick up the bite in May
Bass fishing at Jordan Lake will catch its second wind in May as post-spawn fish try to replenish their strength with easy meals. Whether fishing the shad spawn, bream spawn, or catching the first fish to seek out deeper water in an early summer pattern, tournament angler Jonathan Phillips of Pittsboro, NC will be there to sample all that Jordan Lake has to offer.
“We have a lot of fish that remain shallow after they come off the bed,” said Phillips.
“One reason for this is the shad spawn that is going to happen on rocky points, rip rap, and red clay and chunk rock banks. Some of the lesser-used boat ramps can also be great. The bass spawn at night, so the first couple of hours in the morning you can capitalize on it. They’ll be in a couple of feet of water blowing shad out of the water. You can take a ½-ounce white jig and swim that on them or a white spinnerbait. If they’re not keying in on the white, I’ll swim a craw pattern jig with a green pumpkin trailer to stand out from all the shad.”
Look for bream beds
Another reason bass stay shallow is to bust spawning bream and forage the shallow willow grass. Phillips finds bream beds in the shallow pockets of the creeks either visually in clear conditions or by side scan sonar.
Here, he throws a craw-colored jig and green pumpkin trailer, noting that the bass will be sitting just in front of the beds in the slightly deeper water. The often nearby willow grass is a bass magnet and best fished with a buzzbait.
Phillips prefers a Truesouth V-Twin, but rather than choosing a traditional skirt, he dresses it with a Horny Toad soft plastic trailer to allow the bait to ride higher in the water column and increase the hook up ratio.
“In the later part of May, we’ll start getting the first push of fish going offshore, usually in the 8- to 15-foot range,” said Phillips. “When they start to get into their summer pattern, the biggest fish will get there first. Hard places like road beds and stumps and rocks on long points will be good places to find them.
“That’s when I’ll start throwing a crankbait like the Strike King 5XD or a Rapala DT 10 in a citrus or natural shad color. After I catch what I can on the crankbaits, I’ll throw a craw pattern jig or a big pumpkinseed worm to catch any other fish hanging around.”
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