Spring is here, and after a period of high, dirty water, the rivers are beginning to clear and water temperatures are rising. These kinds of conditions can mean only one thing – good fishing is upon us. The bass have begun their move into the shallows and the crappie are setting up on the docks after their spawn.
For bass anglers, this is a great time of the year to catch healthy, aggressive bass as they move in and out of the shallows for the spawn. Recent tournaments on Neely Henry Lake have been producing winning weights in the 19 to 21 pound range with it taking better than a 2-pound average to get a paycheck; so the bite can be pretty good. Our staff here at Buck’s island have been fishing on Neely Henry and Lake Guntersville and here are some tips to get you pointed in the right direction.
Neely Henry Lake’s largemouth bass population is in the pockets around grass patches, and shallow water applications are the trick of the day. Our team reports white or bluegill colored 1/4 to 3/8-ounce swim jigs and bladed jigs matched with flapping or boot tail type swimbait trailers as the best options for that. You can also catch a few by fishing buzzbaits or frogs around the grass as well, and as some of the true big girls show up around the docks, Flipping a jig or a creature bait to the shallow posts on docks with get you some really good bites. Make sure all of your tackle here is stout, because when you tie into a big, angry fish in shallow water, you don’t want to waste the opportunity.
Our favorite Swim Jigs are those by Davis Baits, Dirty Jigs, Strike King and Bo’s Jigs. For trailers, we love the Strike King Menace Twin Tail Grub, a Rage Craw and a Net Bait Paca Craw threaded on as a trailer. If the Paddle Tail Swimbait is your choice, we like the Rage Swimmer by Strike King, the Shockwave from Missile Baits as trailers. For Chatterbaits, we have the Z-Man Jackhammers or the Z-Man Original Elite Chatterbaits to fit the budget, and we like a Strike King Blade Minnow or Z-Man Razor Shad as a trailer, or you could use one of the swimbaits mentioned above.
We have a selection of Buzzbaits from Strike King, Big Bite Baits and Dirty Jigs to fit the need for a Buzzbait bite. Reel these as slowly as possible but keep them on the surface, and a big bit could occur.
For the frog we like the River2Sea Bully Wa 2 or Ish’s Phat Mat Daddy Frog, and the SPRO Bronzeye Frog. Walk these frogs by twitching them around cover in spawning pockets and wait for the blow up. Make sure you’re using braided line and stout gear for this technique.
Flipping Jigs from Dirty Jigs, Like the Matt Herren or Scott Canterbury Flippin’ jigs are excellent choices, as are Hack Attack Fluorocarbon Flippin’ Jigs and Missile Baits Mini Flip or Ike’s Flip Out Jig are other excellent choices. Try a Missile Baits D Bomb, Baby D Bomb, a Menace Grub a Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver or any other number of creature baits, craws or chunks we have in our Loft to use as trailers.
According to our resident crappie guru, Pat Reeves in parts, the crappie have largely finished spawning and have set up on the docks on Neely Henry. The trolling bite has slowed down a lot, but you can still catch crappie jigging around the brushpiles on the ends of the docks as well.
This is a great time to pick up a Lew’s Mr. Crappie shooting rod combo and shoot docks with a Bobby Garland Head Dockt’R and Crappie Shooter lure, or a Baby Shad on a 1/24-ouce Davis Jighead. Strike King’s Mr Crappie selections are excellent for this technique, as are the Crappie’s Last Bite soft baits we carry, and we’ve recently added several Bass Assassin items to give crappie anglers a strong selection.
For colors, try using a black and chartreuse or white and chartreuse, and it’s really hard to beat Monkey Milk this time of the year too.
Stop by and see us in Buck’s Island’s The Loft tackle store, we have all of those items mentioned and many more to help you win a tournament, enjoy fishing with friends and family, or fill the freezer with crappie filets for a fish fry. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Great Fishing from all of us at Buck’s Island!