Shallow Strategies for Magnum Spotted Bass

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It’s no secret that California kicks out some the world’s largest spotted bass in all of bass fishing, and most people think these bass can only be caught out deep suspended chasing kokanee around the lake. But big spotted bass can actually be caught fishing shallow as well.

Western pro and big spotted bass guru Cody Meyer looks for magnum spots in less than 20 feet of water when cloudy, rainy, even snowy days find the kokanee moving in tight to the bank. Where the food is, so go the spots. A simple premise in all of bass fishing.

Of course, spotted bass spawning season — generally, February-May in western waters — means shallow moves. But when kokanee spawn in January – March, spots will follow them to the bank for easy pickings — somewhat like largemouth terrorizing bream beds in other waters.

Whenever he’s hunting shallow spots, Meyer looks for steeper points. 

“The fish can move up and down quickly, whereas on a long (tapering) point, they’d have to travel a lot farther.”


Meyer’s best lures for shallow spotted bass

Topwater – A walking bait like the Strike King Sexy Dog resembles a trout or kokanee. Preferring a chrome colored bait, Meyer starts by targeting obvious points with long casts and fast retrieves. Even in cold water, spots like meals that run from them.

Swimbait – Probing the mid- to upper part of the water column can be deadly, but Meyer finds it’s hard to get bit on the giant Western swimmers of largemouth focus. Instead, he throws a Strike King Rage Swimmer or a Strike King Shadalicious on 3/8- to 3/4-ounce swimbait heads, depending on depth.

“I like the Rage Swimmer if they’re not aggressive because I can work the bait slower and the tail still kicks with every movement of the line,” Meyer said. “The Shadalicious tends to work better when the fish are more active and in warmer water.

Crankbait – Digging along the edges of those points with a Strike King 6XD will tempt any spots holding lower in the water column.

Stickbait – When spots suspend on those steep points, Meyer throws a wacky-rigged 5-inch Strike King Ocho and lets the unweighted rig slowly flutter through the water column. It’s a painstaking presentation, but this rig produces whoppers — like the 10.8-pound beast he landed in December 2016

Meyer’s advice for engaging giant spots in shallow water: Patience and stealth.

“They’re not easy to catch; usually, spots are going to be where the water is cleaner so they can hear you and they can see you,” he said. “If you approach them quietly, you’ll catch more; but if you drop down the trolling motor and make a lot of noise, they’ll know you’re there and most likely won’t bite.”