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Fishing with Kenny | The Spring Trifecta

By Nathan Coker
In Fishing with Kenny
Apr 1st, 2024


If you have followed me over the years, reading my “Fishing with Kenny” articles, you know each time I am on the water, my goal is to try and keep things as simple as possible.  If I am practicing for a tournament or if I am in competition, I can tell by the day’s end, just by the number of rods I am using, how my day has gone.  The more rods I am using or have laying on the front deck of my boat, chances are my day hasn’t been a good one. 

Springtime bass fishing can be some of the best times on the water an angler can have, but it can also be the most frustrating.  Over the years of fishing several different bodies of water, I have narrowed down my lures choices to a few select lures that I have found, through my experiences, that will work in most bodies of water throughout the month of April.

My lures of choice are a Smithwick Rogue, a soft plastic lizard, and a spinnerbait.  With these lures I can cover each level of the water column, effectively down to about eight feet.  I can use these lures for both a horizontal presentation as well as a vertical one.  Each of these lures is effective in and around cover and best of all they can catch the biggest bass in your favorite lake.  

I may be stepping out on a limb here but I believe it is safe to say, at one time more bass were caught in the springtime on a Smithwick Rogue than just about any other lure made.  There is something about the slow, methodical, subtle twitching of the lure on the top of the water that springtime bass just cannot stand!  I can honestly say, in the month of April, I have caught fish on a Rogue on just about every lake I have fished.

If your favorite lake has cypress trees, you are in Rogue heaven.  However, cypress trees do present some issues that can hinder the Rogues effectiveness.  First, you must be an excellent caster with this light minnow plug, because one of its drawbacks is that it is very difficult to throw in the wind.  If I am on a strong Rogue bite, I will usually have one on both a casting outfit and a spinning rod just to combat whatever wind situations I may encounter.  

Bass on cypress tree lakes will spawn in and around cypress trees usually on the root clumps on the side of the trees or on the doughnut around the base of the tree.  It is also a deadly lure when twitched around logs or buck brush.  The key to fishing a Rogue, no matter where you are fishing it, is to fish it S-L-O-W.  My rule of thumb has always been, the slower I can move it the bigger the fish will be that will hit it.  Pay attention because the strikes can be vicious!

My basic set-up for Rogue fishing is a 7-foot crankbait style rod, teamed with a high-speed reel, spooled up with 15- lb. Berkley Big Game line.  I always change the hooks on my Rogues to light wire, #4 EWG trebles.  Setting the hook is not really needed, so when you get a strike, tighten up your line and pull into the fish, the hooks will do the rest for you.

A common myth in bass fishing is that bass hit lizards so well in the spring because they are protecting their newly hatched fry and eggs from the freshwater lizards that feed on them.  In my over fifty years of bass fishing, I have never once seen a lizard in the water nor have I ever seen a real lizard in a bass’ mouth.  I believe springtime bass hit a lizard so well simply because they never see one.

No matter if you are flipping, pitching, casting, Carolina rigging, swimming, or bed fishing, a lizard is easily one of the best, if not the best, soft plastic you can use this time of year.  Other soft plastics have become more popular with the newer generation of fishermen, so the lizard is often times overlooked or even forgotten.  This is a mistake.  

My two favorite ways to fish a lizard are pitching and flipping shallow cover or possible bedding areas with a pegged slip sinker and 25-lb. Berkley Big Game line or swimming it weightless, using an offset 5/0 hook and 40-lb. braided line over grass in shallow water.  I use the same 7’4 med/heavy rod for both techniques.  I always use the bigger 8-inch Zoom lizard in either Watermelon/chartreuse or South African Special, depending on the water clarity.

Anyone in the fishing circles who knows me will tell you I am a spinnerbait fanatic.  If there is ever a better way to catch a bass, I don’t know what it would be.  Over the years I have developed a spinnerbait combination that is a great compliment to the previous lures we discussed.  If I could only take one spinnerbait with me to any body of water, it would be a 3/8 ounce, single Colorado #4.5 gold blade with a perch colored skirt.  Folks, this thing is deadly!

I can slow roll it around cover, I can buzz it just under the surface over submerged grass, I can cover a lot of water or I can cast and retrieve it around specific targets.  This lure is a great tool for breaking down an area very quickly.  Even though the fish may show himself trying to hit the spinnerbait, you can go back later and probably catch him on a Rogue or a lizard.  The trifecta will then have come full circle!

Well, it looks like we have run out of space and time again for another month.  I sure hope we were able to share with you some ideas on how to make your next trip to the water more productive.  Be careful, leave the waterways in better shape than you found them, and make sure you catch one for me! See you next month!