May is probably the number one fish catching month of the year. Bass can be found shallow almost all over the country and many patterns work. You can find pre spawn, spawning, and post spawn bass on a majority of the lakes. This makes for the best all around fishing of the year. A lot of lakes will produce different patterns from lower, mid, and upper lake areas due to water temperatures and water colors varying. Normally if rivers feed lakes it will warm up on lower ends first leading to bass spawning there and cooler waters coming in from the rivers lead to a later spawn up river end. Rains can lead to different water colors through out the lake. One thing to look for is clearer water coming in up river and pushing the stained water down lake as this can turn bass on up river.
There can be some good top water action early morning with buzz baits and if you have wind a spinner baits can produce. I like a Pop R this time of year especially if bass are guarding fry. But May is a plastics month as far as I’m concerned as you can do so much with them. You got wacky worms, shaky head and drop shots, my favorite – I only use Zoom Trick worms on them. Then of course between Texas and Carolina rigging I use Zoom lizards. I also like flipping with Zoom’s Brush hog, tubes, speed craws, and Z craws. The water is almost always up. If there are bushes, willows, grass, and lay downs present I’m probably going to start there flipping or pitching. Sometimes fish will be on the outside of cover and other times deep in cover. Early morning till the sun gets up outside seems best, but as the sun gets high get over in the middle. If those elements are not available, docks are the next stop for me again early hours outside, later get under the docks. This is when I get the spinning rod out and do a lot of skipping. Texas rig, shaky head or wacky style. Pay attention to the dock, if you catch a fish, watch your Raymarine E Series unit to see what depth the fish was in and see if that patterns on another dock. Also pay attention to where the dock is located as on a point, back of a cove, even main lake or in a creek as you could be on a pattern.
Stumps are very important this time of the year as bass love to hang by them. A Texas rig or wacky rig is my choice here. I will fish a Bango lure or a Rapala twitch bait over the stumps. Fish it slow as this will produce bigger fish at times. The Bass Pro Shops XPS Z Pop also comes in handy in these situations. I like to fish the Z Pop with a slow cadence keeping it in the strike zone as long as possible. I fish this on a Johnny Morris Carbonlite 6’6”ML rod the extra fast tip gives top water lures great action.
Now if the fish have pulled out a little or you aren’t having any luck I go directly to the Carolina rig or shaky head. The Carolina rig is a great search tool to not only catch bass but tell you the depth they are holding in. I like a ½ oz. Joy.Fish tungsten egg sinker as it gives you a great feel for the bottom. I will switch from an 18 to 36 inch leader depending on what the fish tell me. Shorter around spawn, longer after usually works best. Same with baits brush hog or lizard near spawn, and trick worm or french fry later. Long sloping points and rock piles are good places to start in May as well as stump beds. Many time you can pull up on one of these spots and get a limit in five casts. My Nitro Z20 has two Power Poles on it and they really come in handy when fishing stumps, pads and docks, as you can lock down and cover the area thoroughly.
I have seen bass go from green buck brush to dead buck brush to gum trees day to day but once you figure it out just stick with the specific cover. Why this happens it is beyond me, but I have seen it happen many times and willows are also included in this scenario. Now if you get high winds, I like to fish a double willow leaf spinner bait real fast and it can net you some good catches. Rip rap, windy points, and rocky banks also seem to be the ticket. I like a white ½ or 3/4 oz spinnerbait with a Zoom white curly tail grub trailer and a trailer hook and just buzz it near the surface.
Last but not least a white Horny Toad frog fished as a buzz bait will be a sleeper for you. This is a big fish bait in May that gets over looked, but not by me. Use a 5 or 6/0 hook in the toad and just buzz it, especially around bream beds. There have been many tournaments won doing this the past couple of years. Good luck fishing.
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– Woo’s Corner by Woo Daves