The best day to catch a trophy bass

Tom Redington

The bass is fat and loaded with eggs in the preliminary spawn, which makes it prime time for trophy hunting. As for the best pre-spawn day for a big day, our opinions are likely to differ. Most people would target the day a front passes or a long spring warming trend. Me? I caught a lot of my really greatest bass in “dreaded” post-frontal conditions.

Fishing every day, first as a guide on Lake Fork and now as a professional. I could watch the bass bite and flow every spring. The fronts roll through about every five to seven days. It becomes a pretty predictable cycle where the fishing gets good, then the weather changes and things slow down. Again and again, it goes on until a sustained warming trend triggers the spawn.

Warm and stable weather usually results in consistently good fishing. The pattern stays the same for a few days, and once you figure it out, you can reliably catch fish. The day a cold front hits is the favorite day of most anglers. The front really turns on the bass and this is the day to catch big numbers and some good fish.

As the front goes by, conditions turn bad, the bite slows down, and the fair-weather fishermen stay at home. The air temperatures drop quickly with a cold front and the pressure changes, but the water temperatures are initially not affected. The next day the water temperatures drop and north winds patter on the lake.

In my experience, the crashing water temperatures seem to push the biggest bass to feed. Although fish are less aggressive, they will often cluster in the thickest cover available or in the closest deeper water near hot spots found during the frontline. For example, if the bass is roaming a flat plain in front of the front, check for any matted grass, piles of brushes, dots, or creek channels near the front.

As soon as I get a bite on a post-frontal day, I assume there is a school in the area. Although it is usually shallow fishing, I think more of offshore ledge. Time to drop anchor and go to work. The bass at Lake Fork often falls back into bends in the creek canal. While they may all have been in a 200-meter-long apartment in front of the front, after that they will hang around a few specific stumps in a curve. I often had clients pour jigs onto the same stumps for 30 to 45 minutes. The fishing is meticulously slow, but if you bite you better get the net.

So the moral of the story is to go out and catch some fish when the front line is over. But for a fish of your life or your biggest five-bass limit to date, you work meticulously on important points the day after the front.

What about my least favorite days? Everyone knows that the second day just stinks of a front. Two cold nights, bluebird skies and no wind take their toll. We all hate this day. But the fair-weather fishermen return as soon as the temperatures rise again. Those first warm days feel good to us anglers, but I think fishing is just fair. They are what I call “placemakers”. That said, once the next front approaches and the whole process starts over, they prepare things for good fishing.

All of your golf pals sign up sick on the nice days, which is sure to make their bosses raise their eyebrows. If you play hooky on those nasty days after the front line, you could catch a blowhole … and your boss won’t know.
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Tom Redington

Tom Redington of Royse City, Texas, has fished as a pro on the FLW Tour for the past nine seasons. He currently holds three top 10 positions in his career and one win in the FLW competition. In addition to being on the tour, Redington is an outdoor television host and guide at Lake Fork, Texas.