Follow This Pro’s Tips to Improve Your Next Fishing Trip


Follow This Pro’s Tips to Improve Your Next Fishing Trip

Yamaha Pro Randall Tharp Looks First for Spawning Areas, Regardless of Time of Year


If it’s spring, the first thing Randall Tharp looks for on a lake are spawning areas, just as most bass fishermen do. Tharp, however, looks for spawning areas in summer and fall, something most fishermen don’t do.

“Bass don’t spawn at the same time of year in different regions of the country,” explains the Yamaha Pro, “so knowing which phase of the spawn, fish are in will certainly help narrow my search for them. Even if I know bass are not spawning, finding places where they did spawn gives me a good starting point for that search.”

“Normally, bass will not be that far away from their spawning areas and the more recent the spawn, the closer they will be. Often, bass will hold on the first or second depth change or major cover they encounter as they leave the spawning area.”

In addition to looking for spawning areas, Tharp recommends anglers carefully study several additional lake characteristics, regardless of whether they’re searching for largemouth or smallmouth. These include water clarity, current, and available cover.

“At the same time I’m looking for spawning areas, I also pay attention to the water clarity,” continues the Yamaha Pro, “because this will give me a clue to how deep the bass may be. In extremely clear water, bass will be deeper, while in dingy water they’ll be very shallow. If I’m fishing dingy water, for example,
I will seldom fish deeper than five or six feet.”

“Another fisherman I know used a simple formula that seems to be fairly accurate and provides a basic starting point for depth consideration. He drops a white spinnerbait into the water and at whatever depth he loses sight of the lure, he doubles that depth as his lower limit. For instance, if the spinnerbait disappears at 10 feet, then he’ll only fish as deep as 20 feet.”

One factor that changes this strategy cautions Tharp, is water current. The stronger the current, the more shallow bass will move, even in gin-clear conditions. Current will also help position bass, especially in rivers and after heavy rains when water movement may be stronger than usual.

“In a situation like that, I look for places where bass might move to escape the current, such as on the downstream side of an island or a point. I think places like this not only give the fish a resting area but also allow them to continue feeding on foods the current may wash down in front of them. This is why casting upstream and working your lure downstream with the moving water looks much more natural to the bass. They’re also going to be shallower, too.”

Still another condition Tharp studies wherever he fishes is the presence of cover, be it logs, brush, rocks, or vegetation. A basic rule he follows is the less cover a lake has, the deeper bass will tend to be, whereas just the opposite is true in a lake with abundant cover.

“Of all the different types of cover a lake may have, if any type of vegetation is present, that is what I’m going to concentrate on,” notes the Yamaha Pro. “The water quality in and around vegetation is nearly always better, especially for water clarity and oxygen.

“At the same time, bass using vegetation cover are often shallower, as well. They’re using it for concealment and for ambushing baitfish and other forage that move into vegetation for the same reasons.”

Even with the attention, Tharp gives to the presence of vegetation, current, and water clarity, and his fishing still begins by trying to locate potential bass spawning areas.

The pre-spawn, spawn, and post-spawn periods dictate bass activity for a large part of each year, and even if the spawn has been completed and bass have left their spawning beds, they’re normally not that far away from them. Y

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Original Source: Sportsmans


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