by Brett Richardson
Specific weather elements throughout the entire season create truly special bite windows that offer you the opportunity to boat multiple giant bass.
These time frames can provide prime times to be on the water and recognizing the factors that create these scenarios can triple your catch rate through the entire season.
WEATHER ELEMENTS AND GIANT BASS
Decades ago, I analyzed big bass behavior throughout each season within season from ice-out until ice-up on my home waters of New York State and New Jersey. Reactions would differ season within season to not only various water temperatures, seasonal behaviors, and weather stability, but to certain specific weather elements that would occur at various times throughout the year. Each time frame of the season provides the perfect weather element factors to create your prime times to be on the water in search of the largest bass in any systems you hunt for out-size bass..
EARLY SPRING : During the early Spring season, the obvious 3 to 4 day warming trends start to activate fish in main lake basins and trigger movement toward staging zones. During multiple Spring fronts and winds that occur and accompany fickle Spring weather trends, giant females can stall on migration routes and filter fingers and cause vertical stacking at various depths throughout the water column. This occurs at various depth levels throughout any waters you fish.
The key here is the incoming front time frame that changes barometric pressure just before bass start to shut down during this cold water period. My preferred time to be on the water is just after a warming trend as multiple fronts are looming. Just before the initial front arrives is a special time to be out hunting giants.
The more hidden weather elements that trigger giant bass are the short periods in between the Spring frontal passages. These short windows of opportunity as one front arrives and a second incoming front is moving in, is your best chance to boat the largest fish in the system.
Combining these special exact time periods following initial Spring warming trends has produced big time through my years on the water during water temperatures from the low 40’s through the mid 50 degree range. Combining these two factors with a strong South wind pushing water temperatures up a degree or two blowing into Northern sections of the waters you fish and another weather element activation triggers an even more potent prime bite window during high early spring wind conditions. These early season Southerly winds in combination with the fore mentioned factors create a special time to be on the water.
MID-SPRING through Early SUMMER PEAK – This season within season time frame has been special for me through the decades of chasing giant largemouth and Smallmouth bass for big numbers of big fish. With some of the Initial staging and spawning fish mixing with second and third round later spawners and some post-spawn giants, large numbers of quality bass can be taken from mid-April into Mid-June in most parts of the country. Overcast days and nights with heavy storms approaching trigger forage movement and a multiple big bass bite.
Again, the time before and in-between major fronts triggers a spectacular bite window. At this time of the year with water temperatures from the high 50’s to 72 degree range, activity levels have intensified, big fish are active and weather elements combined with the week leading up to the new and full moon phases triggers a big bass bite like no other during these exact scenarios. A combination of locations, weather elements and moon phase create prime times to be on the water. We have had numbers of trips boating from 8 to 12 Northern Strain bass in the 5 to 9 ½ lb range in relatively short periods of time during these intense bite windows on various bodies of water throughout the entire country.
SUMMER PEAK THROUGH LATE SUMMER – Following bass migrations through the Summer Peak through late Summer time frames is one of the most important factors for continuously putting big bass in the boat. As the Summer progresses, I divide the period into 3 seasons within seasons. After recovery of the final spawners, post-spawn bass feed heavily for approximately 2 to 3 weeks as they migrate from shelves, expansive flats and spawning areas.
Depending on the structural content on each body f water you fish, locations vary through the Summer time frame, but all lakes containing deep off shore structures will hold pelagic bass on these structural elements. Many giant bass suspend off these structures and locate on forage pods. Lakes and reservoirs that contain coontail, hydrilla and lily pads, will hold bass in these shallower areas throughout the Summer time frame. We have taken trophy bass from various types of water and from various locations. Inside and outside turns on the edges of heavy coontail or Hydrilla beds will hold big bass all through the warm water season, as big fish locate in these zones to ambush prey in open pockets throughout vegetation. On lakes and reservoirs here in the Southwest, we prefer targeting off shore structure bass the majority of the time and usually take the largest bass in these systems from these zones. As many bass locate at various depths throughout the entire water column, learning exact presentations to trigger fish in each zone and paying astute attention to details on your electronics will keep you in the zone for giant fish.
One thing is for certain. No matter where big bass reside during the hot warm period of the season, weather windows play an important roll in triggering giants from every location on the waters you fish.
At this time of the season, hot stable weather and calmer waters are usually the norm, but the short windows preceding the arrival of fierce thunderstorms moving through after long periods of hot stable weather trigger a Summer bite like no other. As cloud cover moves in, the bite window increases as barometric pressure takes a turn just before the arrival of major storms. During July and August, these weather elements can trigger a multiple giant bass bite that parallels the Fall peak bite on most waters.
The same scenario that applies during the early Summer peak again must be taken into consideration. The combination of multiple fronts is what to look for here. As hot weather storms move through, the short period in between multiple fronts is your best chance to boat multiple giant bass.
The time frame just before the initial front arrives and the periods in between the arrival of the next front continue to offer the best bass bite of summer, especially for giant bass. The fronts and multiple fronts activate primary forage of every species and big bass feed heavily in short spurts. Bite windows may only last 2 hours, but the numbers of big fish triggered by these situations may equal your entire early season numbers.
LATE SUMMER INTO FALL TURNOVER – The latter period of Summer adds another dimension to the hot weather season. There is a two week period during late Summer, just before the start of Fall Turnover, where giant bass sense the coming of seasonal change. This short season within season phenomenon happens every year and the combination of slight change in air temperatures in some geographical locations along with late season falling water levels triggers a bite window both off shore and at the edges of expansive flats near the deepest water adjacent to these particular zones. Pad fields still hold a few big fish and seem to produce a few super size bass as they begin to recognize seasonal change looming. Target the 4 days leading up to the New Moon at this time of year. Dark calm nights offer late night bite windows that are shorter than the rest of Summer, but numerous big fish feed during these short time frames. Slight late summer breezes after hot stable weather combined with mini fronts, an even slight change in barometric pressure and any cloud cover aid in triggering late Summer bass during this two week time frame.
As the start of Fall turnover begins and oxygen begins to deplete in the shallows, big bass begin to leave weed beds, pad fields and shallow cover in favor of deep edges close to basin areas. Forage also will be found deeper, suspending throughout the entire system. Giant Bass follow and locate in a variety of depth zones. Calm Nights with a slight breeze or change in wind direction that interrupts calm weather triggers bite windows during the Fall turnover. Fish are locating all over the water column and in various zones throughout the waters you target. High winds aid in progression of the turnover. Early Fall time frames with multiple windy days speed the process and the Fall Peak time arrives a week or two earlier during years with this factor effecting the time frame of actual turnover. Cloudy days with incoming Fall frontal passages are prime times to be on the water. Early evening and early morning periods during the turnover offer short bite windows to boat multiple big fish. Both Moon phases produce, but with water temps still in the 60 degree range and slightly dropping, I prefer the pre-new moon time frame.
FALL PEAK – As the turnover is complete and water temp are the same from top to bottom, the Fall Peak Bite begins. This is my preferred time to target consolidated groups of huge fish. The weather element that creates the most activity during this period is wind. High winds that interrupt calm stable weather during Fall Peak trigger bite windows second to none. Once consolidated groups of Fall Peak bass are located, big numbers of giant bass on a fall feed can be taken in short periods of time once again. Calm cloudy days with approaching fronts again will trigger superb bite windows during Fall Peak. A combination of pre-frontal conditions accompanied by change in wind direction creates a perfect scenario for chasing Fall Peak Giants. Combinations of various weather elements throughout the entire season create prime times to be on the water. Preparing to be on the water as much as possible during these bite window triggering situations will aid in your numbers of giant bass throughout a full season. Recognizing all the factors that lead to these big bass triggering factors will put the odds in your favor…
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* Freelance Outdoor writer,Veteran Trophy Bass Hunter and Multi-Species fishing specialist Brett Richardson offers a 13 title Giant Bass Series Dvd collection covering season within season tactics to target the largest bass in any system you fish. E-mail him @[email protected] for orders of any Dvd titles.