Largemouth bass are spawning in Florida. Although the breeding urge won’t hit fish in the northernmost regions of their range for another month or so, we can all go to school on how to best catch them by doing what the pros do. Bassmaster Elite Series anglers have descended upon Northeast Florida’s St. Johns River this week to kick off their new season and this tournament is all about spawning bass.

“It’s no secret a lot of us are about to run 35 minutes and crowd into that famous spawning flat on Lake George. And while we all have great equipment, the guys that will catch ’em the best are the ones that can slow down and stay mentally focused,” says veteran pro Jacob Powroznik.

The Virginia pro offers these tips for anglers interested in improving their sight fishing skills.

1. Know What to Look For
“On lakes with lots of vegetation, you’re looking for holes in the thick grass – and then light spots on the bottom of the lake below those holes in the grass,” says Powroznik. “In Florida, where the water is so dark or tannic colored, like tea-colored, the beds on the bottom look sort of gold or orange.”

2. Invest in Good Sunglasses
“Buy quality sunglasses, and if you can possibly afford it, buy two pairs. I wear one with green mirror lenses for bright sunny days, and when it’s cloudy, I wear a lens color that Costa makes called Sunrise. That particular lens is a game changer for spotting bedding fish on cloudy days or under low light really early in the morning,” says Powroznik.

3. Manuever Better
“Hydraulic Power-Poles are shallow water anchors that you see on the back of every pro’s boat—and they have absolutely revolutionized the way we’re able to fish for bedding bass by allowing us to keep the boat positioned exactly where we want in relation to the bass,” says Powroznik. “And by using a Superstick push pole to move along a shallow area, I can avoid using the trolling motor, which will spook a lot of bass.”

4. Gear Up with Good Stuff
“I use spinning tackle if bass are super finicky and I need to cast lighter lures, but around thick cover, and for the most part, I’ll pitch Texas-rigged plastics on a 7-foot, 6-inch Smoke rod, with 65-pound Hi Seas braid spooled on a really fast 8.1:1 Quantum Smoke reel. You need all the speed you can get in the fraction of a second you have to close the deal when a bedding fish finally commits to eat your lure.”