Fishing in the early spring requires finesse and patience, suspending jerk baits like the Rapala Shadow Rap work perfectly. This bait is lightweight, dances side to side and shimmies on the suspense when all of my strikes occurred. If you are targeting cold weather fish from freezing to the spawn. In casting vicinity of the bank from a boat or the bank at 45-degree angled casts near structure will work best.  The Rapala Shadow rap will serve you fine.

This was my first trip out on Rocky Gorge Reservoir in Maryland and on my boat for 2018. Last few years was dedicated to throwing big swimbaits. Decided this day that going back to what I know was first when I found success in fishing a certain technique I would switch over to swimbaits. I judge success on catching 5 fish on one lure in a day, just like a tournament. When I hit that mark I will change things up. That has worked well for me in the past and going back to that direction for 2018.

This day started out cold and didn’t really warm up either. The water temp was 42 when I got on the water and managed to make it up to 45 by midafternoon. The air temp started at 28 and ended up getting to 50, but with the wind blowing, you could hardly tell.

As soon as I got on the water, I really wanted to throw a new swimbait. However, something told me to go for the jerk bait. 3 casts in I caught my first fish and biggest of the day, a 21 in largemouth bass. Unfortunately, for me, my scale wasn’t working so no weight. That is what I need to get me going for the rest of the day and year.

I worked that bait the rest of the day near shore and cast at 45-degree angles specifically looking for structure to locate bass in about 8-15ft of water. The last and most important part of fishing this time of year with these baits is patience. After the cast, I would pull the bait down a few feet and wait about 10 sec. Then I would pop the bait a couple time and wait at least 10sec. I repeated this over and over all day. It directly resulted in my pulling up 4 fish for the day and here are the other three below.

Early spring with super cold water, the biggest thing is to slow way down. So, when you think you are going slow enough, go slower and you should see some results.

If you have any questions, please ask below!

Semper Fish!

Joe, The National Angler