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Bass Fishing Tips for May

author image David Ochs
David Ochs spent 12 years as a radio announcer in Illinois, Missouri and Denver before a 23-year stint as a national broadcast sportswriter for The Associated Press. He's covered nine Olympics. It's likely you’ve heard a radio announcer reading one of his scripts. Since 2006 he has won multiple awards managing resource stewardship communications for the Fairfax County Park Authority in Virginia.
Bass Fishing Tips for May
May brings some of the loveliest days of the year on the water.

Fishing in May can mean anything from spawning beds in the north to deep water summer patterns in the south. Take advantage of some of the year's prettiest days to get out on the water. Check water temperatures for an idea of what the bass are doing. When the water temperature is in the 50s, they're likely in prespawn. In the 60s, they're either spawning or post-spawn. In the 70s, they're shifting toward summer haunts.

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The Spinnerbait

Go with the best. According to the Ultimate Bass Fishing Resource Guide, "there's not a better, more productive lure" in spring than the spinnerbait. The lure works in clear or stained water and from top to bottom in the water column. Always add a trailer hook to nab short-striking fish. Start with a chartreuse and white color combination and experiment from there. When pre-fishing for a tournament, clip the tip of the hook off a spinnerbait and use the lure to find fish without hooking them.


May is post-spawn period in the United States' heartland. According to the website Explore Kentucky Lake, water temperatures are in the 70s. Females are still in the bays where they spawned, but they've moved off beds to deeper water around secondary points, creek channel banks and drop-offs. If the water is higher than normal during the post-spawn, the fish might hold on breaks at the inundated shoreline. Run a buzzbait over those areas or drop some slower-moving worm rigs near them. Male bass will still be near the nests guarding the fry. Lures like floating worms, crankbaits and spinnerbaits will take them.

Summer Patterns

By May, southern bass are in summer patterns. The top tip from the website Florida Bass Fishing is to find a weed line. Look also for current that cools the water. The website recommends topwater lures during low-light conditions and Texas-rigged worms when the sun is up. Head for thick grass and flip heavy lures into the thickest spots in bright sunshine. Windy conditions call for spinnerbaits and rattling crankbaits.

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