Note: The following article was written by Kentucky Lake Guide Scott Patton.
I have lived in Paris, Tenn. for many years now and I get to guide full time on this 185-mile beautiful fish factory, Kentucky Lake. Whenever I’m not competing in a Bass Master tournament, that is! I have fished all over the country many times and guide on Lake Okeechobee during the winter months. I believe Kentucky Lake is one of the top ten best lakes in the country!
I would like to share with you some of my favorite spring patterns that I use to catch hundreds of bass. These patterns work just about every year for me. Of course due to major weather changes there might be a better pattern going on. But I hope the following tips can help you land more bass this spring! These patterns will work on many lakes across the country, also.
The first part of March is when most anglers will come out of their winter hibernation and start the year. While most anglers will start out with a ton of enthusiasm and confidence, if they don’t catch a few fish after a day’s fishing, many may lose that enthusiasm!
The first thing I consider is what the weather has been during the last couple weeks and what the weather will be like the day I am fishing. This will help me determine where I think the bass will be. One major thing to consider is rainfall. Has heavy rain muddied up certain parts of the lake? If so ask yourself if you should focus on the main lake or in the creeks. When the water is cold I like to look for cleaner water; really muddy and cold water isn’t something bass or bait like. After choosing my location I will decide what lures will help me find fish.
Fishing the Creeks
My first bait will be a crankbait, either a square bill or a mid-depth running crankbait. I will start out with a Lucky Craft 1.5DRS in a Disco, Bull Bream or a TO Craw - these are three of my favorite colors in the spring. I will look for channel banks and chunk rock back in the creeks. Usually the first part of the creek to midway back will be the best locations early in the year.
If I feel the fish may be a little deeper because it’s been colder then I will go with a mid-depth running crank bait. But I don’t want a really big bait. Lucky Craft's Fat CB is a good bait to go with. It will dive three to four feet even though it is a small profile bait.
I’m also using crawfish patterns. The Copper Craw, Golden Craw and Root Beer Green are my top three colors! I prefer a 7' Lews glass or graphite rod with a soft tip on it and a Lews reel spooled with 15 to 17 lb. test Seaguar fluorocarbon.
One other lure you can’t leave out is a vibrating crank bait. The LV500 is my favorite and I still stick with crawfish patterns. I like to fish this bait on the flats or long tapering gravel points. I will either fish the LV500 by letting it bang along the bottom bouncing off the rocks and gravel or I will actually fish it like a jig. What I mean here is casting out the bait, letting it sit then hopping it about a foot or so. Then I'll let the bait fall back to the bottom. I will work the LV all the way back to the boat this way. I have really smashed the bass in the spring doing this.
Fishing the Main Lake
Now let’s focus on main lake patterns for March. The first bait I will throw is a jerk bait. I have fished so many brands and models of jerk baits over the year, but I find myself catching more fish on Lucky Crafts Pointer 100 and the Flash Pointer 100 and 110 models. Since a jerk bait is a clear water bait I will fish the more natural colors. My favorite on Kentucky Lake has to be the pearl threadfin shad and crystal pro blue!
I will use the jerk bait with a pattern called "dead sticking." What I do is make a long cast and then give the bait a couple quick jerks and let it pause. Let it sit for 10 to 15 seconds then just repeat that cadence all the way back to the boat. An angler needs to think about that jerkbait just sitting there motionless. It will entice those big sluggish bass into taking the lure! They will literally try to jerk the rod out of your hands! When I use a jerkbait, I like to outfit myself with a Lews 6'’8" or 6'10" jerkbait rod and a Lews reel with 10 to 15 lb. test Seaguar Flourocarbon.
Another very productive lure is a swim bait. I use ZOOM's 5" swimmer in Ayu or Tennessee shad patterns on a 3/8 or 1/2 ounce Elite Pro swim bait head. Of course A rigs will catch fish this time of year and I will usually fish ZOOM's 4" or 5" swimmer or a swimming super fluke in shad patterns.
I always keep a jig tied on in the spring, too! It's just a great bait to have handy. If I can't get bit in the creeks I will fish a jig in a black and blue or a green pumpkin pattern. I like ZOOM's super chunks as a trailer. I will normally fish it on 15 to 17 lb. test Seaguar Fluorocarbon and a Lews 7'4" jig rod and reel.
These are just a few of my prime March patterns. I always keep an open mind whenever I’m fishing. Pay attention to the current weather and let the fish tell you what they want.
Remember to always wear a life jacket and kill switch!
Note about the author: Scott Patton is a professional fishing guide on Kentucky Lake March through November and on Lake Okeechobee in December through February. You can contact him at 731-227-9499 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.