The big event is still a full five months out, but Iowa guide Kevan Paul is already stoked for yellow bass action. Abundant and voracious, this spunky little fish for which the Yellow Bass Bonanza—Iowa’s biggest fishing tournament—was created, offers tons of fun well before hard-water season.

Paul, who founded the YBB along with partner Chris Scholl likes this smaller, schooling species for its barn-burning bites. It might take a concentrated search, but the fast-paced fun of locating a pile of yellows more than justifies the effort.

“Throughout the open-water season, yellows bite like mad,” Paul said. “Recently, we caught 170 nice eaters in 3 hours.

“Yellow bass are almost predictable because they have to be around large amounts of food at all times. Whether they’re feeding on their young or looking for blood worms in the basin, yellow bass need to eat and they are always hungry.”

Paul looks for yellows over humps or rock/gravel piles in the 5- to 7-foot range, with 6 feet the usual sweet zone. Vegetation is key, so a mid-lake hump in about 6 feet could be the day-maker.

“These areas are spotty because the yellows travel is such tight schools it’s unbelievable,” Paul said. “You can cast on one side of the boat and catch 100, but the other side will get you less than 10 in the same amount of time.”

No self-respecting yellow bass will turn down cut bait or crawlers, but to maximize the lights-out potential of a hot bite, stick with artificials. Spoons work, but Paul notes the time-wasting hassle of dealing with treble hooks.

His top choice: Clam Tungsten Drop Jigs in blue or white. Whatever you offer yellow bass, light spinning gear will handle even the big ones of 10-plus inches.

Good table fare with no daily bag limit, the yellow bass makes a great target for kids, but they’ll keep a seasoned angler smiling, too. Just ask Kevan Paul.