Just south of Corinth, Bay Springs, an extremely clear, fairly deep lake created by the Tenn-Tom Waterway, has ideal habitat for really big spotted bass. I love catching those spots.

During the first half of April, the spotted bass will move to shallow water to spawn, making them easier to catch. At this time of year, I'll be fishing the shallow points and all the pockets.

Because the bass will be in the pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn modes this month, you can find and catch them by several different methods. One of my favorites is to pull them up to the surface with a topwater lure or buzz bait.


Characteristics of April spots

Most of the time, spotted bass will school up, but not during April. Because the fish are spawning, they'll most often be found on secondary points and in pockets along the bank, holding in shallow water and next to any type of cover, like stumps, logs and laydowns. Spotted bass prefer to stay close to wood or rock cover.

The spotted bass tend to spawn a little deeper than largemouths do, especially because the water in this lake is so clear. Often you'll see spotted bass, or you can see the light spots on the bottom where they're fanning the beds. But I've found that staying way away from the bass usually allows me to catch more of them.

Spotted bass will come up from deeper water, even when they're sitting on the bed, than largemouth will. And when they're spawning, these fish seem to get much more aggressive, making them really easy to catch - one of the reasons I like to fish for them this month.


Zara Spook

One of my favorite topwater lures for Bay Springs in April is the Zara Spook. I like its walking and darting from side-to-side movements. My favorite color is clear or a frog pattern. I believe bass in clear lakes like clear lures. On darker, overcast days or if the water gets stained, I'll fish the frog-pattern Spook.

I fish the Spooks on 17-pound-test Trilene Maxx line. I don't use fluorocarbon lines when I'm fishing topwater lures because the fluorocarbon has a tendency to sink. When I'm fishing topwater lures, I want a line that has a little buoyancy to it. I'll generally work the Spook fairly quickly, causing it to dart from the left to the right, and keep it coming quickly back to the boat.


Mann's HardNose Jerkbait

Another extremely effective April tactic for Bay Springs' bass is fishing a soft-plastic jerkbait like a Mann's HardNose either in pearl white or watermelon red. I rig the jerkbait weedless and use a No. 5/0 Gamakatsu hook. You can give a soft-plastic jerkbait many actions, but I like to twitch it fairly fast to start with and let it hop on top of the water or dart just under the surface. Or I'll cast it out, let it sink to the bottom and slowly twitch it back to the boat.

When I'm fishing the jerkbait, I'll use 15-pound-test Berkley Trilene fluorocarbon line.


Buzz baits

If I'm going to fish a buzz bait over the beds of the Bay Springs' bass in April, I like to fish a 1/4-ounce buzz bait with a black skirt and a really loud squeak as the blade on the bait turns. I've always liked black buzz baits, and I've always caught more bass on black buzz baits than on any other color.

You really don't have to do anything fancy when you're fishing the buzz bait. Just cast it out, and retrieve it. I usually try many different kinds of retrieves with my buzz bait. Sometimes I'll barely swim it on top of the water, so that it only makes a slight splash. At other times, I'll really burn a buzz bait across the water.

I suggest retrieving with both methods each day you fish to determine what mood the spotted bass are in, and what type of retrieve they want on that day.


Size of Bay Springs bass

Another reason I'll be at Bay Springs in April is because there are very few lakes where you can catch 5- to 7-pound spotted bass. But don't think this lake is exclusively a spotted-bass lake, because you also can catch largemouths - some as large as 6 to 8 pounds - on this lake using these techniques. These largemouths generally will have already spawned, but they will be in that shallow water guarding their fry.

However, I believe in an April day of fishing, you will catch more spotted bass than largemouths at Bay Springs.

This month, I expect to catch several Bay Springs spotted bass weighing 3 to 5 pounds each when I fish a full day in April.