May is one of the best months for catching bass. Why? Simple, the bass are feeding up from the spawn and they are just about everywhere. And of course, there is the herring spawn, the shad spawn, and the bluegill spawn going on as well. So, where do we start and what do we use. So many options are available, and so much fun!
The shad spawn is basically an early morning bite. They love to spawn around marinas, docks, rocks, rip rap, and even shallow grass. A good bait to use for this would be a swimming jig. I prefer a Missile Baits Ike’s Mini Swimming jig in like Bone, White or a shad imitating color. As to size, a 3/16 is my basic set up for keeping it higher in the water column, but I will go to a 5/16 or 7/16 to keep it down in the water column. You can work it in a variety of ways. A pump and go to a slow steady retrieve, let the bass tell you what they want. You can use either braid or fluorocarbon line. The object is to cover a lot of water.
For me, a drop shot is a must have tied on. This is a bait that can be used around laydowns, docks, grass, lily pads and other structure. I have two choices I really like here. A Missile Baits Magic Worm and a Missile Baits Mini Magic Worm. I like to work them both on 10-20 lb Seaguar Smackdown braid with a leader of fluorocarbon, which is generally Seaguar Red Label. Depending on what I am around, I will usually use an 8 or 10 pound leader and a DropZone Rattle Shot weight. I try to use the lightest weight I can get away with and usually a foot below the hook. If the grass is taller, I can always go longer so I can keep my bait just above the grass. Don’t be afraid to get up close to cover, the line is strong enough to help turn them from going into the nasty stuff. Of course, this is not made for the really nasty stuff.
For the grass mats and lily pads, I like to have a Missile Baits D Bomb rigged up on a flipping hook and 65 pound Seaguar Smackdown braid. Depending on how think the grass may be, I will use anything from a 3/8 ounce WOO Tungsten Flipping weight pegged to my hook. I don’t want the weight to go through and the bait to be stuck on top of the grass. If it’s just the lily pads or around structure, I will go with a much lighter weight and switch over to a Baby Destroyer or a Magic Worm, but still use the same 65 pound line so I can get them out, especially if there is a lot of brush down there.
And one way I really find productive is a Wacky Rig. This will vary as sometimes the Magic Worm is the perfect bait, but sometimes it’s the Missile Baits 48 or Mini Magic Work. Usually I will switch over to my spinning rod and use the basic same set up as I do for a drop shot, but instead use an octopus hook or a wacky hook, and sometimes a weedless wacky hook. This can be worked anywhere the dropshot is worked. I do like to use a bright colored line so that I can watch my line as the bait sinks to the bottom.
A jig is always on my deck, as it is a know big bass catcher. Here I like the Missile Baits Ike’s Flip Out or Mini Flip jig. I like to pair it with 3 different baits. A Baby D Bomb, a Chunky D or a Mini D Chunk. And I will switch it up to a D Bomb for a bigger profile with a little action. Here I like to use 20 pound Seaguar Red Label fluorocarbon or a 30 pound Smackdown braid on a at least 7 foot to 7’6” medium heavy rod and I prefer a 7.0:1 gear ratio reel or higher.
While a lot of people have kind of moved away from them, I really love to throw a spinnerbait. Here, I like the Death Shimmer spinnerbait because of it’s unique vibration from the unique bends in it’s arm. I like to pair it with a Missile Baits Spunk Shad, but will also switch over to a Shockwave for a little kick. This bait is great for working the shallows, around cover, and out over points and dropoffs. It is a proven bass catcher, and a big bass catcher too. I generally work it on 12 pound Red Label fluorocarbon and a medium heavy 7 foot rod and a 6.3:1 reel.
A jerkbait can be a great bait at this time also. It can cover a lot of water and great over submerged grass. It is also great on the outside edges of grass, lily pads, laydowns, around spawning beds, the drop offs and points. The SPRO McStick 110 is my go to choice on 10 pound Seaguar Red Label fluorocarbon. I prefer a 7 foot medium action rod so that I can work it just right.
The object is to get to where the bass are. And make sure you have the right equipment to get them out. So get out there and make it happen. It’s a great time to be on the water or on the bank! Have fun, be safe, and live to fish another day!