February 19, 2014 by Scott Martin
Depending on the weather and where the lake is, bass are starting to migrate toward the shallows to spawn. As a result, your job is to find out how far the fish have moved up a creek or bay, both distance and depth-wise.
A lot of times, I'll start at a main-lake point and work my way in until I start getting bites. If you catch them on that first third of the way in, chances are they're still in cold mode and will want a big jig or jerkbait fished really slowly. If they've already moved to the middle area of a cove or creek, they might be holding around docks or other cover and go for a square-bill crankbait or spinnerbait. Then, if they're up in the spawning area and cover, the usual array of baits that work for bedding fish comes into play.
So make sure to find out what stage the fish are in, and use that as a starting point or pattern everywhere else on the lake, all else being equal. You could start at the end and work out, but usually, starting at the main lake and working in is more effective - and you don't waste as much time. Then it's just a matter of following the fish during the next days and weeks and changing your lure selections to match the stage they're in.
---- Ranger pro Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla.