Spring Fishing Tips

6 Quick Tips for Bass Fishing Flooded Bushes

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“April showers bring May flowers” is an age-old expression, but for Bassmaster Elite Series pro Terry “Big Show” Scroggins, it’s more like “spring rains put big bass in the bushes.” 

“Anytime you get high water in the spring, the flooded shoreline habitat is where you need to be headed,” said the Team Toyota pro and winner of nearly $2 million in tournament cash. “If you could look down into all the shoreline bushes that have water around them in the springtime, there’s a real good chance you’d see bass spawning on the roots of several of them. But even if they’re not in there to spawn, flooded bushes still provide an awesome piece of shallow habitat from which bass can ambush prey.” \

Be there when it’s rising

“I prefer to flip and pitch bushes mostly when the water is rising,” Scroggins said. “It just seems like when the water has been up for a while or when it’s falling, they don’t bite quite as well as when it’s rising. Not saying it can’t still be good when it’s falling, but it just seems best when it’s on the rise.” 

Corner pocket 

“I always start looking for bass in flooded bushes toward the back of the small coves, creeks or pockets,” Scroggins said. “They seem to move to the shallowest bushes first when the water is rising and obviously those are usually located in the back corners of small coves, creeks and pockets. If the water is falling, then you might try the bushes out on the points.” 

Off-colored water is optimal 

It’s natural for anglers to be intimidated when the water of their favorite fishery turns off-colored or even slightly muddy as a result of spring rains, but Scroggins embraces it. 

“I actually prefer that the water have some color to it when I’m fishing shallow,” Scroggins said. “You just have to realize the dirtier it is, the shallower you need to be fishing. If your boat is still floating, you’re not too shallow to catch a bass in dirty water.” 

Tie a Red Phillips Knot 

“I like to use 50-pound braid as my main line,” Scroggins said. “But you don’t want to tie braid to your lure because braid tends to notch itself into the bark of the flooded bushes. So to your braided main line, tie a Red Phillips knot to a 25-pound fluorocarbon or monofilament leader that will slip through the wood easier without biting into the bark. You’ll still have the optimal strength that braided line offers to get ‘em out of heavy cover.” 

Long rod, but not an 8-footer 

“A lot of guys are using the longest rod they can fit into their rod locker to flip and pitch with these days,” Scroggins said. “But I like a 7-foot, 6-inch extra heavy-action model because it offers better casting control than those longer rods, but still plenty of backbone.”

3 simple lure choices

“When choosing a soft plastic bait to pitch into heavy flooded cover, avoid anything with a ton of appendages because they’ll hang up,” Scroggins said. “I like to Texas rig a 5-inch YUM Dinger on a 1/4-ounce weight or pitch a Texas-rigged YUM Bad Mamma on a 5/16-ounce weight. And of course, you can’t forget about the reliable 1/2-ounce black and blue jig.”