Jerkbait Fishing Ditches for Early Prespawn Bass

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Major League Fishing pro, Stephen Browning, provides a detailed lesson in jerkbait fishing winter bass relating to deep water ditches that connect to spawning flats. Ditches are to bass what highways are to people — a means of congregating and routing traffic. On otherwise featureless lakes, a ditch is a defined structural corridor that gathers and routes bass between wintering and spawning flats. Looking for fat prespawners? Find a ditch.


Browning defines what ditches look like on 2D sonar and where active bass position so you can make high-percentage casts. Browning uses jerkbaits to mimic baitfish in appearance and action. On this day, mid-40-degree water temps exposed a winter pattern, with bass eating on the pause. Browning discusses the importance of adjusting your cadence to the fish’s mood and using pauses to trigger bites.

His go-to rod setup is built around a short and sensitive medium-heavy casting rod, high-speed reel, and light fluorocarbon fishing line. A casting reel in the 7.5:1 range supports quick line pickup, a must for getting tight on fish on long casts, and the light 10-pound fluorocarbon fostering the best jerkbait action.

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