Like deer hunters waiting for the best days of the rut, bass anglers around the country look forward to bass spawning season and a chance to catch the biggest largemouths of the year.
Here are our picks for the South:
Our Pick: Sam Rayburn, TX
Hot Pattern: Look for bedding bass in small, shallow pockets off main coves. Soft-plastics pitched to beds will draw strikes, but bedding bass get a lot of pressure in this lake.
Our Pick: Lake Murray, SC
Hot Pattern: Look for spawners in the back third of small, hard-bottom coves and in pockets off creek arms and the main lake. Pitch a jig-and-craw trailer.
Our Pick: Lay Lake, AL
Hot Pattern: Bedding bass are abundant and easily found in Lay Lake. Concentrate on the first or outer half of pockets off creek arms that are wind protected.
Our Pick: Lake Chickamauga, TN
Hot Pattern: Cast soft-plastic creature baits to beds in spawning pockets for spawners. If the lake level is high, try swimming a jig with a grub trailer through the cattails.
April 29-May 5
Our Pick: Lake Gaston, NC/VA
Hot Pattern: Catching bass in Gaston is all about fishing docks. Pitch a jig tight to the poles and skip a finesse worm, wacky worm, shaky head, or fluke under the docks.
Our Pick: Kentucky Lake, KY
Hot Pattern: The largemouth spawn is on and should continue through the next full moon on the lower end. Slowly fish the area with Texas-rigged soft-plastics.
Our Pick: Potomac River, VA
Hot Pattern: Pre-spawn bass can be caught on crankbaits in 4 to 6 feet of water. They are staging at the mouths of spawning coves or current breaks.
Our Pick: Beaver Lake, AR
Hot Pattern: Fish 1/8-ounce shaky head jigs dressed with green pumpkin finesse worms on pea gravel banks that have wood or laydowns in shallow water. Don't overlook the docks.