When April rolls around, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Cliff Crochet focuses on finding newly-hatched largemouth fry — so he can target the male fish guarding the brood swarm.
“Post-spawn fish are historically known for spreading out and going dumb for a couple of weeks. They don’t really relate to anything, and they’re just trying to get their energy back up,” Crochet said. “But the fry guarders are a group of fish still keyed on doing a certain thing.
“So when I target them, I feel like I’m in the game all day long.”
Crochet concentrates on spawning areas, and tries to locate the fry with three of his favorite April lures: a frog, a Senko rigged with a Humdinger Power Spinner and a swim jig.
“You may not see the fry right away, or sometimes you can’t see them with your naked eye because of sunlight and water conditions,” he said. “But especially with that frog, you work it and you see those fry scatter.”
He likes the frog because he can accurately place it — even in heavy cover.
“Most fish are real shallow for the most part. Even if they’re in 3 to 4 feet of water, those males are normally suspended right below the fry,” Crochet said. “That frog is in their faces, and if I can’t see the fry, when I bring that frog through there they give themselves away.
“A lot of times that will get you a bite.”
If the frog doesn’t produce when the fry scatter, Crochet switches to a Power Spinner-rigged Senko and casts to the same spot.
“It brings the Senko to life and, with that spinner on it, it falls better vertically than a traditional Senko does,” he said. “That Senko is dropping straight down on his face.”
His third option is a Humdinger swim jig in either black-and-blue or green pumpkin to cover lots of territory.
“I’m not worried about vibration a whole bunch — I’m just looking to get something in and out, in and out,” Crochet said. “The more fry I find, the more fish I find.
“A lot of times, when you’re dealing with post-spawn fry fish, bream are around there a whole bunch. So a swim jig fits into the bream category really good, too.”