Missouri-based Mercury pro Jeremy Lawyer has enjoyed tournament success everywhere, but he’s an Ozarks killer with big wins on Grand Lake and Lake of the Ozarks on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and Toyota Series. In between tournament days on the Bass Pro Tour, Lawyer shared some information on his approach to prespawn – “Lawyer’s Laws” if you will (they apply to his home region and beyond).
Depending on the species he’s after, Lawyer takes a different mindset when approaching the fish in the spring.
“In the Midwest especially, you have to approach spotted bass and largemouth differently,” he said. “Largemouth are obviously going to be a little shallower and they like to sit on that first lip where shallow water breaks to deeper water early in the year. They want to hold near a tree, rock or on that first break, where spotted bass are much different, even when they’re thinking about spawning.”
The spotted bass is a quirky cousin of the largemouth and Lawyer approaches them in a manner that accounts for those quirks.
“Spotted bass generally like to live their life out deep, but that’s not to say they won’t get shallow,” he said. “They suspend a lot more and that’s what I’m looking for before they spawn and it could be in the tops of trees or under balls of shad. They don’t need anything in particular to position and might roam all day long.”
Lawyer uses various lures for both species during the spring months but counts a jerkbait and swimbait as two of his top producers.
“There are so many varieties of jerkbaits anymore and you can target so many different depth ranges now,” he said. “The SPRO McStick is a staple for me, and I’ll change my line size to get it to dive to different depths or go with a deeper diving bait if I need to. A jerkbait is so good because of how versatile it is and you can work it fast or slow; you just have to dial in the right cadence for the day.”
A small swimbait is another of his must-have baits for prespawn bass; he’ll fish a 3-inch swimbait with a 3/16 or 1/4-ounce Freedom Tackle swimbait head.
“A small swimbait is something I have tied on all the time, and it’s especially in the Midwest this time of year,” he said. “A good baitfish imitator that’s subtle can imitate whatever your forage may be. Just change the size and color and you can match any body of water in the country.”
While he does a good bit of just casting these two lures, his Garmin Panoptix LiveScope is a handy tool for fishing them in the prespawn.
“I’ve got a lot of faith and confidence in it now, but it can also hinder at times,” Lawyer said. “Seeing fish that you can’t get to react to can be frustrating, but experimenting with different baits and colors is my first option. The benefits to using it are being stealthy because bass don’t like for you to be right on top of them and using your LiveScope allows you to see them out there a 100 feet away and catch more fish. It’s definitely changed how I approach bass fishing this time of year.”