If you like to flip a jig, fish a Texas-rigged worm, a spinnerbait, topwater, buzzbaits, lipless crankbaits or crank a Shad Rap, you can do just about anything you want, and you can catch fish - it's rare you get to say that.
There will be bass in all phases of the spawn in April. You'll find fish that have already spawned, fish that are spawning and fish that haven't spawned yet. The majority of the spawn takes place in April, so there's a lot going on. I admit, I'll sneak out for a turkey hunt the first hour or two of daylight in the morning, but after that, I go bass-fishing.
What I think every fisherman should do is fish to his strength. As a tournament fisherman, we always try to catch big fish, but in April, I'm still going to fish the baits I have the most confidence in. I'm going to have a Mop Jig, a topwater bait and a Texas-rigged worm tied on.
If you like to fish stained water, go fish a spinnerbait. If you like to fish clear water, go ahead and tie on a topwater. Whatever you fish, you need to be fishing something that you can cover a lot of water with. The kind of weather day you get will also steer you in the right direction. If the wind's blowing 20, you can fish a spinnerbait. If it's nice and calm, you can fish a topwater or a Texas rig.
One thing I'm going to be throwing this month is a new crankbait that Rapala has come out with just in the last few months. It's called a Scatter Rap, and they debuted it at the outdoor show at the Bassmaster Classic the last weekend in February.
Really and truly, it's the biggest, most amazing change to a crankbait I've seen since I've been bass fishing; I only got my first one a couple of weeks before that show, and I've already caught a bunch of fish on it.
At the Classic outdoor show, I was fishing it in the Haw Trough, and it was amazing. Rapala was hoping for a presale of a quarter-million baits, and they wound up selling 1.1 million. They're back-ordered 800,000.
Here's what the bait looks like: it's flat-sided bait with a lip, but it's got the shad-like body of a No. 7 Shad Rap. It has that Shad Rap kind of wiggle, but the bait darts from side to side, even on a straight retrieve. You can wind it back, and it will track straight, then dart to the left or right as much as two feet, then come back and dart the other way.
It reminds me of a baitfish that's fleeing, a bluegill that's trying to get away, and that kind of erratic movement is what really draws strikes. And with as much fishing pressure as we have on our lakes nowadays, you've got to do something special to draw strikes. When bass see something erratic, they just attack it.
Like any other crankbait, I think you'll be able to catch fish on a Scatter Rap from March through December. I really think it's gonna shine in lakes that have blueback herring. It's gonna be a phenomenal bait for anyone that's fishing the blueback spawn in May; it will be incredible.
I guess we can wait a little while for May to arrive. April will be enough fun for anybody. Maybe this new bait will be on the shelves, and you'll get to try it out.