Editor’s note: The following article by Mark Menendez appeared on the Fishing Wire Monday, Feb. 13.
As we turn the days of the calendar, each day gets a little bit longer.
The extra time that the sun illuminates our world makes us feel better, insuring warmer days are coming. The ecosystems in Texas waters feel the warmth and come to life as well.
Big bass activity is less affected by cold water than smaller bass. All bass have the need to find food at any water temperature. A big bass always manages them amount of energy needed to get a meal. The smaller meal may utilize lots of energy to capture. A large slow moving meal satisfies the food to energy ratio for higher profits.
Under the surface of the water, a bass has many types of food choices. Shad, bluegill, insects and other foods make up the dietary opportunities.
The filet mignon of all these choices would be a crawfish. The high protein value of this bottom dweller makes it a priority item on the menu. This meal will be turned into energy for the fish and the developing eggs will receive a major boost from the protein of the crayfish.
Crawfish coloration changes from time to time. There are many species of crayfish with different color patterns. Anglers need a black or brown color patterned bait. In dingy water choose patterns with a highlight of a bright color in the pre-spawn time period. Flashes of bright reds and oranges seem to invoke a quick response for bass. Clear water crayfish colorations are very subtle. Green pumpkin and brown combinations will effectively represent the crawfish.
Anglers have many choices to imitate a crawfish.
In colder water temperatures, a jig is perfect imitation. Cold-blooded creatures move slowly in lower water temperatures. Anglers need to slow down all presentations to mimic the natural action of the bottom dwelling crayfish.
A ¼-ounce Strike King Premier Pro Model Jig is a great choice. The lighter jig with a full skirt presents a large profile. Pair the jig with a large sized trailer to slow the fall of the jig in cold water. A Strike King Rodent or KVD 3.5-inch chunk will provide the large profile for the jig. Casting the jig to rock, brush or boat docks is a great bet for big bass.
The technique for proper jig action is to slowly move the jig with a gentle shake of a vertical rod tip. The bite will be extremely subtle in cold water. Utilize Fluorocarbon line. The larger size line will slow the jig’s fall and be easier to detect the strikes while watching the line. Feeding them a steak will result in bigger than average bass.
As water temperatures warm, crayfish activity will increase. In clean water, anglers may want to scale back lure size. Smaller profile jigs will really be productive with increased visibility. The Strike King Bitsy Bug Jig will create the bite-sized meal the bass will eat at any time. This jig comes in a light wire hook version for light line. The Bitsy Bug is also available with a flipping style hook. The Bitsy Flip is great finesse flipping around heavy cover. It will resemble a small crawfish when paired with the Baby Rage Craw. This little bite sized candy bar will really catch all sizes of bass.
The smaller weights of the jig create a slow fall that is tantalizing for the bass. Ten- to 17-pound Seaguar Invisx Fluorocarbon line will allow for a very natural fall of these smaller jigs.
Big Bass want the easiest meal they can find. Whether they are in the mood for a steak or a candy bar, a jig will be the answer for pre-spawn lunkers.