Harris Chain Fishing Forecast – May 2023

May is here on The Harris Chain of Lakes which means that early summertime fishing patterns are starting to get the fish moving. The panfish bite has been good throughout the chain of lakes. Bream, bluegill, redears, and 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 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 nice bass in the same area. The bass are just coming off their spawning cycle and love fattening up on panfish before heading to deeper water for the summertime. The bass will be in deeper water with eel grass, hydrilla clumps or areas with bottom transition. The best baits for the bass are swim jigs, bladed jigs, and different varieties of large soft plastic swim baits. Any natural color like orange-perch, green pumpkin, black-blue, white, or gold is what you want tied on. The panfish spawn in areas that the largemouth bass have recently spawned, so it is worth the effort of time to find these places. Another bait to try is a topwater plug or soft plastic 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. For more information please contact phillip@coastalanglermagazine.com