April might not be the No. 1 month to head out in search of a lunker largemouth bass in South Carolina’s reservoirs; that’s probably how I look at March. But I think April and May are months when it’s just fun to go fishing, even if you’re not a pro.
In March, the weather can sometimes be a little iffy, but by April, it’s usually stable and you can fish for bass, stripers and crappie — anything you want to. Everything just comes to life, and it’s a great time to go fishing.
I like to be versatile, and April is definitely a month when you can catch bass on a lot of different baits. You can still catch ‘em on a crankbait or a jig, and you can catch ‘em on a spinnerbait. But when I think about April, I’m thinking more about soft-plastic baits like a lizard or a Senko.
If you haven’t fished a Senko much, it’s certainly a lure that you can take and go catch fish. If you’ve got a wife or kid or a friend who hasn’t fished much, you can tie on a 5-inch, green pumpkin Senko, take them, and I can about guarantee that they’ll catch a fish, because there are a number of ways you can fish it.
I fish a Senko weightless most of the time, with the weight of the bait and a 3/0 or 4/0 VMC offset hook enough to make it easily castable. If you use bright colors, you can fish it along at the surface like you fish a floating worm. If you’re fishing it around cover, you can stop it and let it fall with that famous Senko flutter. You can Texas-rig it around cover, and you can rig it wacky style if you’re not. You can let it free fall on controlled slack and watch the line, feel for that light bite. The good thing is, fish won’t let it go like they will other lures. It’s something about the salt and the type of plastic; something gets them that I don’t understand.
Most people fish a 5-inch Senko, but I’ll fish the 6- and 7-inch Senko a lot more, because I think you can catch bigger fish on the bigger bait with a 5/0 hook. Another way to fish it is on a swimbait hook like a VMC Drop Dead Hook. I use the 1/16-, 3/32- and 1/8-ounce hooks, small weights. I think it helps the Senko fall a little faster, and it tends to fall a little more horizontally. There are times when you put that little belly weight on and you’ll get more bites.
I fish a Senko of a 7-foot, medium- or medium-heavy Bass Pro Shop CarbonLite rod and Johnny Morris Signature Series reel with a 6.2-to-1 retrieve ratio, spooled with 12- to 17-pound XPS fluorocarbon, depending on the clarity of the water. The heavier line will help get the bait to the bottom a little faster. They key is having the bait fall the speed I want it to fall.
Like a floating worm, you can cover a lot of water, using it as a search bait. You’ve got to fish it a little faster than you think you do, because it wants to sink more like a floating worm. You’ve got to keep the rod tip up higher, then lower it and let it flutter down. You can rig it wacky style to fish around specific targets or if you find that more fish are spawning. You’ve got a lot going on in April; you’ve got prespawn, spawning and post-spawn fish. You can cover all those bases. Green pumpkin is my favorite color, but if you’re going to fish it like a floating worm, you need brighter colors, pinks and whites.
So don’t miss the chance to get out on your favorite lake or pond this month or next and try to take advantage of some of the best and most fun fishing you’ll find anywhere.