May is here on The Harris Chain of Lakes and that means that early summertime fishing patterns are starting to get the fish moving here. Bream and bluegill, redears, shell crackers are all in their spawning stages around hard bottom shallow areas in 4 ft. of water or less. If you get near them or downwind usually you can smell them (very fishy). Once you begin to get bites fan-cast the area to determine how big their spawning area is, move back a little and continue catching them. Red worms, night crawlers, crickets, small 1/16 oz. beetle spins or small jigs will work best. The best way is to fish the live baits right on the bottom. Use a small cork or bobber just for a bite indicator.
Once you find these areas you will have some excellent opportunities to catch some largemouth bass in the same areas or nearby. The bass are just coming off their spawning cycle and love fattening up on the panfish before heading to the deeper water for the summer. Best baits for the bass: swim jigs, bladed jigs and also different varieties of soft plastic swim baits. Any natural color like orange-perch, green pumpkin, black-blue, white, or gold is what you should have tied on. The Panfish spawn in areas that the largemouth bass have so it is worth the time and effort to find these areas. Another bait to try is a topwater plug or hollow body frog, both early and late in the day or low light conditions. Walk the dog type baits and poppers can really make for some explosive strikes. Remember to wait a second to feel the fish on the lure before setting the hook. Panfish are great for kids to catch, usually fast action once you find them stacked up, take a kid fishing and make a memory that will last a lifetime!