Spring is almost upon us. Last week we discussed the spawning temperatures for a variety of species. Today’s discussion is on the potential spring topwater action for striped bass. Topwater action will be occurring for many species, but chasing some really large fish on the top is exciting.
Striped bass generally feed all winter, but they will feed even more voraciously with the water warming and of course feeding up for the spawning attempt. Your chances of catching a big fish on top is real good. Even though spring has not arrived officially, the topwater bite is about to explode, especially on those warmer days.
Water temperatures in the shallows will warm up much quicker than the deeper water and that will bring in the baitfish. A couple of warm days in a row, and the bait will be back in the shallows. A couple of cold days and the bait moves back out to deeper water. Just be prepared to try several patterns on these fish.
Generally this time of the year the birds will point out active fish feeding in the shallows. If the birds are not working, work your bait on shallow sand flats or points adjacent to deeper water. Big individual fish are roaming these warmer areas feeding up for the spawning attempt. Keep your eyes peeled for surfacing fish and or bait.
Big striped bass feeding in the shallows can be an amazing sight. The splashes from large fish can be tremendous, unlike a school of feeding small fish. Shallow feeding fish are generally spooky, so approach slowly and quietly and cast to them.
This is an exciting time of the year for us anglers. Stay abreast of the lake conditions, weather and fishing reports, and be ready to get on the water on short notice.
I personally will ready some large plugs such as redfins and Rapalas just for the upcoming striped bass action. Chug Bugs, Sassy Shad/storm baits soft plastics work well also.
A soft plastic swimbait retrieved in a steady fashion will draw a bite. Yellow, chrome, clear, white/bone/glow and chartreuse are the favorite colors for topwater striped bass action. You may have to match the bait they are feeding on but don’t be afraid to use large baits when the fish are active. Bigger baits can catch bigger fish.
Live bait drifted with the use of a float/balloon to the surface action will work also. The boat may spook surface feeding fish, so it is best to make a presentation from a distance. Morning action just as the sun rises is usually better for topwater action. They may feed longer in the shallows on overcast days, as most of you know. Striped bass are generally known not to prefer direct sunlight. In fact they tend to go deeper once the sun is bright, so early and late is normally better to find surface feeding fish (usually).
Remember to try a heavier jig or a deep diving suspending crankbait on occasion as the bigger fish may be below the smaller fish feeding on top. Vary the movement of the bait. Slow is still on order on most days, but as it warms the presentation may require more movement.
Lake Whitney striper limits continue to come on jigs fished near bird action north of the Katy Bridge. Whitney crappie limits continue to be caught in the river near Kimball Bend. Possum Kingdom Lake largemouth bass fishing is excellent to 13 pounds plus on soft plastics. PK striped bass to 15 pounds are possible on flukes fished near Costello Island (look for the birds).
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