For the past few weeks I’ve been on the same pattern on Lanier. As the water warms, the fish have been getting very much more active and it’s really been easy pickins for us. I’ve been hitting the creek very early in the morning and finding stripers on points that are more than willing to come to the surface for a meal. This doesn’t mean you need to see the fish to catch them, just pull up to a point and start casting. The fish are there! I’ve been using 2 topwater options to catch these early morning stripers; first is the Bone colored Vixen topwater bait made by Reaction Innovations. This is a topwater type walking bait with a couple of big ball bearings in it. When you walk it, the ball bearings move from side to side and create a distinct clunking sound that attracts the fish. The walking style and the size of the Vixen resembles a big blueback on the surface and right now there are a lot of fish looking for bluebacks preparing to spawn and swimming on the surface in the early morning warming sun. The Vixen is a bait that I first used early last spring for spawning stripers moving through the back of our creek but I found that later in the spring and into early summer the bass just loved the Vixen so we milked it out until early July. A lot of times I was catching very nice fish out on main lake humps through late spring to early summer. I liked the Vixen so much last year I wrote a story about it. https://castawayblog.com/2015/03/24/fixin-the-bone-vixen/
Right now a good place to find the bone Vixen is the Hammonds Fishing Center online store. I’d definitely get a few for the upcoming topwater season. Looks like they have 29 in stock! http://www.hammondsfishing.com/Reaction-Innovations-Vixen-Bone-p/76839.htm
Another early morning topwater bait we’ve been using this spring with great success is my own Emerald popper. This is a bait I started making in the fall of 2014. I actually made the bait for a nearby lake but we found it seemed to work better on Lanier. The Emerald popper is now a bait that has been working for us with great success in the spring and fall topwater seasons and it’s been my topwater go-to bait for the last few weeks. If you are interested in trying this bait, here’s link to my website: http://www.castawaybaits.com/product/the-emerald-popper/
Here’s a little more info on the popper and how I’m using it.
After the sun has been getting up around mid mornings there are options. You can continue on with the surface lures and get a few good bass or stripers throughout the day but I’ve been switching to a few other baits with great success.
If I want to hit the banks or points in the wind a good choice is the Mini Me spinnerbaits by Spotsticker Baits. This is a great bait for these windy spring days and my favorite has been a white profile, white blades and I’ve been adding one of my little 3.5 inch fluke baits as a trailer. On windy days spinnerbaits are a must this spring for wind-blown points and shoreline.
If you like to hit the docks like I do, we’ve been having great success with 2 options right now. The first is my favorite which is the shakeyhead with a 6 inch trick worm in just about any darker color. There are a lot of different worms that will work on the shakeyhead around docks but I like the bigger 6 inch trick worms because it cuts down on the dinks. You can feel the dinks pecking at the bait but the bigger bass have been hammering the bigger worms. The shakeyhead is a finesse type tactic but once you get the feel for it, it’s the Bomb! The best docks for the shakeyhead right now are the ones with natural rock. Just about every dock we’ve been hitting with natural rock has been holding fish. A good choice for your shakyheads are the Spotskicker Screwball Shaky in a 1/4 ounce or 3/16 ounce in a green pumpkin color. Here’s a tip: dip the tail of your worm in a little Spike-it garlic flavored chartreuse worm dip. It seems like the bass have been holding the worm longer with the garlic flavor. Here’s a couple nice fish from last week on the shakyhead.
Another tactic that has been good for numbers around the docks are weightless fluke style baits. We’ve been rigging white weightless flukes and throwing them inside the empty slips or as far back between docks as you can get it. You can’t get too shallow with a weightless fluke. Just cast it, let it sink for a few seconds and just bring it slowly back to the boat in short jerks and then stopping and letting it sink again. This tactic is always good in the spring for these active bass and sometimes a hungry striper.
Guys, there’s a lot of baits that work right now and as usual the spring provides us some great opportunities for a few fish. Even if you just get a bucket of minnows and take the kids for a day on the lake, right now the rewards can make memories that last a lifetime! Good luck this spring!