March in East Tennessee. It’s textbook prespawn bass fishing and Ott DeFoe’s favorite time of year to fish (watch and understand why!). Ott and buddy Dan Quinn put on a flat-side and lipless crankbait clinic after locating a big push of ultra-shallow prespawn bass seeking warmer water in a protected creek arm. *Additional product links at the bottom.
FEATURED TACKLE & OPTIONS
- FLAT-SIDE – Rapala OG Tiny 4, color – Big Shad & Classic Craw
- LIPLESS – Storm Arashi Vibe, colors – Wakasagi & Classic Craw
- BLADED TREBLE – VMC Bladed Hybrid Treble Short, size 4
- ROD – Bass Pro Shops Crankin’ Stick
- REEL – Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Casting Reel, 6.8:1
- LINE – Bass Pro Shops XPS KVD Signature Series 100% Fluorocarbon, 14-pound (flat side), 17-pound (lipless)
- SUNGLASSES – Costa Del Mar Brine
Despite constructing a respective main channel bite, DeFoe stresses why you can’t overlook rapidly warming creek arms. In particular, shallow and protected mud-bottomed creek arms heat faster than their surroundings on nice days. Warmer water draws in huge shad schools like a magnet, with bass close behind and in a feeding frenzy.
DeFoe and Quinn cover water and match the forage with a mix of subtle shallow-running crankbaits. Both lures allow them to work the baits just off the bottom in the sub-4-foot depths. DeFoe then uses 360 Imaging to show bass spread out across the featureless bottom. A shallow, muddy bottom isn’t the place to be churning the trolling motor (you’ll spook the school). Instead, DeFoe uses his Talon shallow water anchors to pin the boat and fan cast the area before moving.
Lastly, the guys share some pointers like experimenting with different bait colors as the light changes, how to reduce bait running depth with heavier fluorocarbon line, and how adding a bladed treble hook can increase bites and hooking percentages in dirty water. This isn’t a regionally-specific tactic, rather, it works nationwide when you get your timing right. Good luck getting it dialed!