April is transition time in the Tennessee Valley, when bass make their push from prespawn staging areas toward spawning grounds. They set up on rocky banks, shallow points and any kind of wood cover near shore in areas adjacent to spawning pockets.
As we saw at the Costa FLW Series Central Division opener presented by Lowrance on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, some of the best baits for catching bass this time of year are old-school springtime classics: spinnerbaits, jigs, shallow-running crankbaits and Texas rigs. Add in vibrating jigs and wobble-head jigs, and you have about all you need.
Here are more details about what worked in the Central Division opener.
1. Tournament winner Jake Morris caught all of his fish on a couple of Stan Sloan’s Zorro Baits Aggravator spinnerbaits with chartreuse and white skirts, Colorado and willow-leaf blades, and white Zoom Fat Albert Grub trailers.
2. Finishing in second place, Steve Floyd relied on a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss, which he Texas-rigged on a 4/0 hook with a 3/8-ounce tungsten weight.
3. A 3/8-ounce Crock-O-Gator jig with a NetBait Paca Craw did the job for third-place pro Shawn Kowal.
4. Jimmy Washam, who took fourth place, caught his fish on a Black Bass Tackle Industries 1/2-ounce prototype spinnerbait, a 7/16-ounce Black Bass Tackle Industries Rock Crawler jig with a ZoomUltraVibe Speed Craw trailer and a Z-Man/Evergreen Jackhammer ChatterBait.
6. Going all-in for the reaction bite, Dan Morehead alternated between a 1/2-ounce white Hildebrandt spinnerbait with a Colorado/willow-leaf blade combo and a 1/2-ounce bladed jig with a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper trailer.
7. Brad Cook mixed it up with a chartreuse flat-sided custom balsa crankbait and a 3/8-ounce War Eagle spinnerbait with red and gold Colorado blades.