Offering nearly 20,000 surface acres for anglers to roam, the Grand Canyon State's Lake Havasu is an excellent choice as the trees begin to show their spring buds and the days get warmer. Although it's known for cranking out 20 to 30 pound stripers on a regular basis, it is also a phenomenal largemouth fishery, and they especially turn on once spring arrives.
March & April
One of several Colorado River impoundments across the Southwest, Lake Havasu is considered by many to be a top largemouth bass destination. In fact, it's not uncommon for anglers to catch largemouth bass in the 4 to 5 pound range on a regular basis; and when spring arrives and egg-filled females start moving towards the shallows to spawn, 6 to 8 pound toads are not unheard of.
Targeting Havasu's bass in the spring means searching the shallows and cattail-lined banks for pre-spawn and nesting bass. This is sight fishing at its finest, and when the bass take up residence on their nests, catching solid numbers of quality bass is a real possibility. During this time of year, it's hard to beat lipless and shallow diving crank baits, spinnerbaits, tube jugs, soft jerkbaits like Senkos and Jerk Minnows, and wacky-rigged worms. As the post spawn season approaches and the bass move to deeper water, topwater lures such as poppers, stickbaits and buzzbaits can be very effective.
In 1992, the Lake Havasu Fisheries Improvement Program began construction and placement of fish habitat structures, or what some call brush bundles, in over 40 coves throughout the lake, with the objective of improving and sustaining largemouth, as well as other game fish populations. After more than 210,000 of man-hours, over 11,000 of these game fish magnets have been created, and they can be good locations to find post spawn bass.
Although Havasu largemouth will still be biting, when May arrives it's time to start gearing up for the striped bass opportunities. They will be in transition at this time, with some being fooled on top, while others will be closer to the bottom. Regardless, finding schools of shad are always your best bet, and if they are near the surface just look for birds feeding on them. Deeper schools of shad require fish finders to locate, but once found you're on your way to a cooler full of fish. Surface action requires the use of top water stick baits like Pencil Poppers, Red Fins and Zig Zags, but if they're deep it's hard to beat live shad and spoons.
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Anglers like their tools close by. And it's even better if it's connected to you so it doesn't go in the drink. T-Reign retractable gear tethers hold onto your pliers, hemostats or landing net. Several size options. Carabiner connects to D-ring, belt loop or strap, or use the stainless steel clip on belt or pack.
Suzuki DF15A/20A EFI
Suzuki's two new four-stroke, two-cylinder portable outboards have a compression reduction system for easier starting. The 20hp tiller model weighs 97 pounds the eletric-start model weighs 106 pounds. Single overhead cam, four-valve engine with Suzuki's Lean Burn Control and bat-tery-less electronic fuel injection. Built for running in skinny water, both motors come with five tilt pin positions and 15- or 20-inch shaft.
Rapala is hoping the new Scatter Rap Series lures and their 'œevasive action' will be as popular as the original 'œwounded minnow' style action that the company is famous for. The new lure has a 'œScatter Lip' that creates an evasive, erratic, aggressive sweep-ing action. Ideal for multispecies gamefish, the Scatter Rap Series is available in 14-16 classic and new color patterns. Baits 5- to 9-feet deep.
MSRP, $18.95 per pair.
The original Gear Grabbar is a unique way to hold lures and tools at the ready in boats. But the new Lure Hangar is a step beyond. This is a 12- by 16 1/2-inch plate,m ade to mount on your gunwhale, that holds 16 or more lures. There's enough room for a selection of jig, plugs, topwaters or whatever other baits you want to hang.
Honda Marine's BF250 outboard is a 24-valve 3.6-liter V6 that uses varia-ble valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC). Programmed fuel injection delivers the precise amount of fuel and air to each cylinder for easy starts and instant throttle re-sponse. 20-, 25- and 30-inch shaft models.
TACKLE TOTE VEST
If you wade when you fish, Fish-N-Hunt Pro Gear designed a Tackle Tote Vest that to keep gear accessible but dry when you're standing in deeper waters. It's adjustable, sturdy, has lots of pockets and a modest pricetag.
FLEX '˜N GO TACKLE SATCHEL
On-the-go anglers will find a lot to like in Plano's new Flex '˜N Go Tack-le Satchel. It features adjustable built-in storage with a deep bin on one side and framework for the pair of swap-pable Plano 3600 StowAway boxes on the other, each Stowaway held with a flexible strap.
www.cabelas.com Jackets MSRP, $249.99-$269;
Cabela's Guidewear raingear now comes in four distinct series. Bass Angler (pictured) jackets and bibs are built with the tournament bass angler in mind. Xtreme parkas and bibs will help anglers fishing Northern lakes and rivers. Tidal jackets and pants offer lightweight, waterproof and breathable protection. River Runner jackets are perfect for wading anglers.
BERKLEY JAR BAIT FOLDER
Anglers who use jar baits know it's a pain to carry more than a few. Berk-ley now has two Jar Bait Folders to keep the baits at hand and make them easy to transport. Model 1170 holds 10 jars. Model 1490 holds 16. Both have various pockets and a D-ring for pliers.
BERKLEY TRILENE XL
Berkley says they've improved a classic. New Trilene XL lines are now 10 percent stronger 20 percent more flexibility then they had been. Knot strength has also improved, said the company. Trilene XL has been around since 1972.
The new AV Micro is a complete underwater camera system that is the same size as a smart phone. On the boat or off the dock, use it to see where fish are hanging out. 3 1/2-inch diagonal display. Built-in rechargea-ble lithium ion batteries.
Smithwick Rogue's has been a stand-ard in bass-anglers' tackle boxes for years. Now they've got a new twist on the famous jerkbait. The
Perfect 10 Rogue has a new lip de-sign, to get deeper, quicker than other jerkbaits.
SIMMS WEATHER GEAR
MSRP, jacket $349, bibs $299.
Simms designed its Contender Gore-Tex jacket and bibs for anglers who need reliability when they are motor-ing on the water at 70 mph in rain and wind. Waterproof and breathable. Cuffs are water tight and adjustable.