Besides the obvious difference in casting technique, another key distinction in fishing for Bass with a fly rod versus conventional tackle is the amount of water that can be covered in a day. A fly angler cannot fish as much water and therefore must make an effort to maximize time in the most productive area.
For Pre-Spawn Bass these productive areas can be divided into two categories; Gradient Areas and Staging Areas.
- Gradient Areas - defined as structure or cover that spans a variance in water depth. This is important during the fluctuating water temperatures of early Spring because it allows the Bass to move shallower or deeper as the water temperature changes. Some key gradient areas are:
A) Points- Especially the points that occur where a creek adjoins the main lake.
B) Old Fence Lines- On manmade impoundments, it can be assumed that an old fence line running to the edge of the lake doesn’t stop at the water’s edge. Prior to the lake being built that fence line likely extended to the creek the lake was built on. Look for an on shore fence line with mature trees and brush growing along it and then investigate to see if that line of trees extends out into the lake.
C) Water Gaps- A water gap is the extension placed at the end of a fence that projects into the lake to prevent livestock from walking around the end of the fence during periods of low water.
D) Road Beds- The areas where inundated roads connect with the shore offer a depth gradient and often warm quicker than surrounding areas.
E) Boat Ramps- Private, individual owned boat ramps often see little use and offer the same temperature advantages as road beds.
- Staging Areas - defined as cover or structure occurring at one depth that serves as a stopping point for Bass that are moving toward spawning areas
A) Single trees- A single tree located near a spawning cove or creeks acts like a bus stop. Different Bass will stop and stage on it day after day, year after year. Trees with many lateral branches, like Cedars or Bois d’Arcs, are usually better than a single bare trunk.
B) Submerged bridges and culverts- They offer overhead cover and are located across the creek channels that Bass use as highways to move to spawning areas.
C) Humps or old pond dams- Those located near major spawning areas are best. Use a good map and a depth finder to locate them. Once located, throw out a marker buoy and circle back to tie up or anchor within casting distance.
Up Next- Spawn Time Target Areas.