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Fishing With Kenny: Fishing the Spring Weather Fronts

By Cassie Livingston
In Fishing with Kenny
Mar 26th, 2020


One of the consistent things about spring in our area is you can bet the weather will be consistently inconsistent. Believe it or not over the years I have fished in snow, sleet, rain or any combination of the three in the month of April. Just remember, even when these types of low pressure weather systems come through, bass can still be caught and bite extremely well.

The major problem with springtime weather systems is they are usually fast and furious in their movements so your fishing decisions need to be spot on. Springtime cold fronts are not just major changes in our weather patterns, but they can also cause abrupt changes in fish behaviors. Fish that were actively feeding can become sporadic and fickle. A strike zone that may have been several feet may become just a few inches. Fifteen bites a day can change to five from one day to the next.

Springtime fronts usually mean the fish will bite pretty well the day before or even the day a front actually passes through. These fronts consistently bring with them colder north winds, heavy cloud cover and precipitation of some form. All these things are contributing factors to the pre-front active bite, but it is actually the low pressure associated with these fronts that trigger the heavy feeding activity before, during and maybe even immediately after the front has gone through.

The key to fishing the numerous spring based weather fronts is to change your tactics before you change your locations. A few years ago, a tournament in the first week of April found me bundled up in full winter gear. The air temperature started in the high 30’s and never rose above the mid 40’s all day. I caught all my fish, which had eagerly slurped up a slowly twitched Rogue a week before, slow-rolling a spinnerbait around the same heavy shallow cover where the fish had been actively spawning a week earlier. The weather system didn’t cause the fish to abandon their areas, it just required me to adjust my presentations to catch them.

Where many anglers struggle is the day after a major weather system has passed. This can be one of the most difficult situations any angler, tournament or weekend warrior alike, can face. The skies have cleared, a cold north wind is blowing, the area you caught them in the day before seems abandoned of activity and you can’t buy a bite. This is where simple adjustments, even though they appear to be small, can pay big dividends.

For example, if I was catching fish the day before throwing bulkier Texas rigged soft plastics around cypress trees, why not go to a more subtle smaller soft plastic with a lighter slip sinker? Or what if I was throwing a Zoom fluke in the grass, why not switch to a unweighted Senko? Looking at both examples I’m not really changing what I did successfully the day before, I’m simply tweaking my presentations based on the new set of conditions. Most of the time the fish haven’t moved, you just have to figure out a better way to catch them.

With all of this being said, I have fished lakes where the weather systems don’t seem to matter regardless of how severe they are. I have found this to be especially true on all of the Mississippi River oxbows such as Lake Bruin and Lake Providence and on cypress tree dominated lakes in general. Those fish will bite before the storm, after the storm and even during the storms.

Allow me to share a few of my favorite pre-front/post front lure combinations with you. Remember in bass fishing nothing is set in stone and over a period of time you will develop your own “go to” set of lures but for now I will share the ones that have worked for me.

JIG/CREATURE BAIT A jig and trailer combination is well known as a big bass killer throughout the year, especially during the spring, but fish can also become hesitant to strike them regardless of the weather. I like to start my spring fishing with my favorite jig combination but I have found the more fickle the fish become, the more they tend to bite smaller creature baits such as a Zoom Baby Brush Hog or a Sweet Beaver style of soft plastic.

SPINNERBAIT/CHATTERBAIT It is not uncommon to find as many as five spinnerbaits tied onto rods in my boat at any time. I have that much confidence in them, not just as fish locators but fish catchers as well. However, it seems to me that I catch a better quality fish after a weather system on a Chatterbait style of lure than I do a spinnerbait. I don’t have a logical, fact based reason other than they just prefer it over a spinnerbait.

RAT L TRAP/ SQUAREBILL A Rat L Trap style of bait is especially effective regardless of the type of springtime weather change. Most of the time the fish aren’t actively feeding, they are in a negative mood due to the change in weather but they will strike this lure simply out of reflex. I have found the Rat L Trap to be more effective in grass related scenarios. However, the squarebill is always my choice when fishing cypress trees, docksl, seawalls or rocks. The erratic movement of this lure tends to trigger strikes, especially when it deflects off of an object in the water.

WEIGHTED/UNWEIGHTED SENKO Without a doubt the most dynamic fish catcher ever introduced into bass fishing is the Senko style soft plastic stickbait. Most of the time I will have one or both versions on the deck of my boat. I have found they are both interchangeable regardless of the weather but when fishing grassy areas I prefer the weightless version. When fishing for post-front fish I usually will go with the Texas rigged weighted version because it allows me more control over my lure presentation.

ROGUE/FLUKE During the springtime of year you just don’t go fishing without a Rogue. It is essential and deadly. Slowly twitch it on top, slowly twitch and retrieve it under the water, or even use a slow steady retrieve, the Rogue will catch fish. Once the front has moved through a good tactic is to switch to a Zoom Fluke. You can basically work it with the same rod movements and cadences as the Rogue but the Fluke allows you to slowly and more effectively fish the deeper part of the water column.

Well, it looks like we have run out of time and space again for another month. This is the best time of year to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature and her creatures. When dealing with these springtime weather systems, remember they can produce violent weather and become very dangerous so please use extreme caution when out on the water! There isn’t a bass in the water worth losing your life over. Take care, catch one for me and I will see you next month