We recently sat down with 2014 FLW Tour Rookie of the Year Jason Lambert, to talk about how he fishes for bedding bass. Jason’s home lakes are Pickwick and Kentucky Lake, where he has been honing his deep offshore ledge fishing skills for years.
Garmin: How do you typically find bedding fish when you can’t see them?
Jason: The problem with bedding fish on the Tennessee River is that most of our lakes have an algae bloom, so you’re not actually sight fishing. You’re still bed fishing but you’re concentrating on fishing the structure, unlike your typical sight fishing at a fishery where the water is clearer. We do have a lot of lakes close by, like Smith Lake, which was our last FLW Tour stop, that are clear enough to sight fish. A lot of our fish down here at Pickwick and Kentucky Lake typically spawn like they do at the Ozark lakes, in Missouri, and I find that they’re a lot harder to catch. It’s not like a Florida fish that you can just pitch in there and catch them. On the Tennessee River, you have to scare them and make them mad. I typically throw something big at them to make them mad, and something really small to catch them.
I’m looking for a stump, the tops of laydowns, or anything for them to spawn on. When you’re fishing on Pickwick you’re basically blind casting to the stump flats and a lot of times you can see the top of the stump, but the water is dirty. You’re still fishing the base of the stump, but you can’t see it. You can visually see your target, the stump, but you can’t see the fish that’s sitting on it, so you just have to fish those targets.
Garmin: How do you coax a bedding fish into biting when it isn’t interested?
Jason: In the clear Florida lakes, it’s doesn’t matter. If those fish are spawning, they’re locked down and you could catch them off a basketball. You could run over top of them with your boat and trolling motor, and turn around and catch it.
Here on the Tennessee River, they’re not like that. You have to throw a big bait to make them mad. I’ll start out with something like a 4” tube that you can physically hit the fish with a few times and get it flaring its gills, but you’ll find that they won’t hardly ever take your bait. At that point I will pick up a smaller profile bait like a 4” senko, a little shaky head or a small drop shot with a 3” finesse or trick worm. I find that you have to catch them with something small and make them mad with something big. You can usually tell after the first couple of casts if you can catch that fish or not by the way they act. If you spook the fish off the bed and it comes back after 30-40 seconds, that fish is going to be really difficult to catch. If you spook them and they come back to the bed almost immediately, most of the time you can catch that fish.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Jason! Good luck on the rest of your season!
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