February 23, 2017
The annual breeding phase of the bass calendar represents some of the best fishing of the year as fish move shallow to propagate their species for yet another year.
The thing is, the spawn isn't a static point in time or a fixed point on the annual compass.
Instead, it can be a variable ongoing process taking weeks to complete as some bass move shallow to lay eggs while others are bit farther behind in the game, even on the same day in relatively the same area.
How does an angler attack such variability on an early-spring visit to the lake? By employing an Edwin Evers one-two punch bass spawn game plan.
When Double-E, the 2016 Bassmaster Classic champ, goes to the lake and finds plenty of fish still in prespawn, he knows right off the bat he wants to cover water.
"Because of that, I'm going to choose a crankbait of some sort, probably in some sort of crawdad or shad color pattern" said Evers, an 11-time winner on the BASS circuits and a two-time victor in Major League Fishing Cup competition.
"In general, I'll be throwing a Megabass Vibration X lipless bait, a Megabass S Crank or the Megabass Flat Slap," he added. "Or I'll even toss the Megabass Cyclone SR-X too.
"I choose one of these crankbaits because the fish are feeding heavily at this time of the year and I want to search until I find them. Because of that, you can catch a lot of fish during the prespawn and some big fish too."
To catch big bass as consistently as he does, Edwin Evers has some go-to baits that work for him in all phases of the spawn. (Lynn Burkhead photo)
What factors will determine which bait Evers throws?
"That will depend on the depth of the water, the type of water, the water temperature, the water clarity, stuff like that," he said. "The bottom line is that I like to throw these moving crankbaits in the prespawn because they help me to find fish."
In terms of the of the line that he'll use, the Oklahoma pro will use Bass Pro Shops fluorocarbon line in 17-pound-test line for the lipless rattlebait, 14-pound-test line for the S Crank and 10-pound-test line for the Flat Slap bait.
One key tip from Evers is this: "I probably wind these baits a little faster than most people do during the prespawn. If I'm not getting bit on a crankbait at this time of the year, then I'm going to speed it up before I start to slow it down."
As prespawn begins to turn into the spawn and Evers finds those first few fish going to the bank, he'll change his game plan from one of covering water with crankbaits to throwing something a whole lot slower in nature.
"When I find fish spawning, I like to throw a Zoom Fluke Stick," said Evers, who has won nearly $3 million dollars so far in his sterling career. "It's basically just a weightless worm and I can throw it anywhere I think a bass could be spawning."
Unlike his tip above where he talks of speeding up his retrieve, Evers really likes to slow his presentation down when he finds bass up in skinny water for the spawn.
"That Fluke Stick can be slowed down considerably and that's often a big key in catching spawning fish," he said. "You want to throw it with no weight so that it takes it's time getting to the bottom and doesn't spook fish as you toss it in.
"It really doesn't matter whether you can see them or not, this is my all-time best bait to use during the spawn."
What size bait and what colors will Double-E be throwing during the spawn?
"Generally, I use the smaller Fluke Stick Jr. during the spawn," said Evers. "Sometimes, I will throw the bigger version of the bait.
"As for the color, it really doesn't matter too much as long as it is green pumpkin, green pumpkin or green pumpkin," he added with his trademark smile and chuckle.
Want to have the kind of success that Edwin Evers does during the spring? Then follow his one-two punch game plan for targeting fish in both the prespawn and the spawn. (Lynn Burkhead photo)
Throwing the Fluke Stick or Fluke Stick Jr., Evers will do so on Bass Pro Shops XPS KVD Signature Series 100-percent fluorocarbon line.
In terms of the line weight he uses, Evers will aim for the lightest line he feels he can get away with given the size of the bass he is targeting, the environmental conditions he is facing and what kind of cover is around him.
The reason for the above idea is because the key to fishing this bait effectively in Evers' mind is its action, or lack thereof.
"I really like this bait to fall on a slack line," said Evers. "That's truly critical during the spawn. You don't want it to be tight and falling toward you. The lighter the line you're using, the more natural the fall is. And the lighter the line, it will also fall a little quicker."
Is there a mistake that people make with such baits during the spring breeding cycle?
"Yeah," laughed Evers. "Not throwing it."
When you find yourself on a lake in the spring targeting bass during the spawn, be sure to put Evers suggestions to work.