Pattern Predictions and Tackle Recommendations for 2020 Bass Opener

by Chris Huskilson

The highly anticipated opening of bass season throughout most of Ontario is upon us this coming weekend. What a whirlwind of a Spring we have had. What better way to put things behind us than spending some quality time outside; and more importantly catching some fish. This year, bass opening also coincides with Father’s Day! It is a perfect time to grab Dad a new rod and reel or a handful of new baits to send him on his way to a perfect fishing weekend. Here are my predictions for bass opener this year and some great tackle recommendations for dear old Dad.

This has been one of the most unique Spring seasons I can recall. It has been unseasonably cold for the most part, with the exception of one very warm week back in May. A week that triggered and allowed for a quite a bit of spawning to take place, mainly Crappie and Walleye. I spend a great deal of time on the water, starting the second the ice is out. First chasing Pike, then Crappie followed by Walleye. There has been nothing normal about how each species has reacted to the colder temperatures that were in place during their spawning cycles. Things happened much later than usual, and the fish have not really shown up in the typical areas I am accustomed to. However, they have all managed and concluded their spawns relatively on schedule for the area. And from the observations I have made while targeting the species that are open for angling, it would appear as though both Largemouth and Smallmouth bass are slightly behind on their spawn cycles given the time of year.
Meaning we are quite likely to see both species with a higher than usual numbers on beds and or guarding fry. All of that said I think we are in for some fishing of epic proportions come opening day. The water temperatures are on the rise and weed growth is finally underway.
It is my personal opinion that some of the Smallmouth will be Post Spawn. Meaning there may be a few males guarding beds and or fry. These fish are typically pretty aggressive and in quite shallow. The bigger females won’t be far away just yet either. They should be utilizing the first major transition adjacent to the spawning grounds and in slightly deeper water. They are tired from the rigours of the spawn. But quite hungry as well. Some tackle recommendations to improve your odds of success are listed below.
  • Zman TRD Ned Rigged and casted to nesting fish. Leave the bait completely still and wait for the bass to pick it up and move. Hook sets are free!
  • Strike King Tour Grade Buzz-Bait fished shallow will generate bites from aggressive males.
  • Strike King KVD J200 jerk-bait fished shallow or along the first transition will generate bites from both males and females!
  • X-Zone Pro Series X Tube fished slow on bottom outside of the spawning areas will generate some big bites from hungry females!
Smallmouth tend to begin their spawn earlier than largemouth. Meaning their green cousins could still be in the late stages of their spawn. I expect to see a lot of males guarding beds and fry. These fish will be shallow and feisty! Females should still be very close by utilizing the first available cover adjacent to the spawning grounds. They won’t likely be at the backs of the bays. More likely on docks, trees or pads midway out to the main lake. They are beat up, skinny, and hungry!!!
  • Googan Baits Lunker Log rigged weed less wacky for those big females sitting off the spawning grounds.

  • Zman Hula Stick Neko rigged to to irritate fish that may be guarding a bed.
  • Spro Bronzeye Frog fished right on the bank for aggressive males or through pads for those hungry females.

  • Strike Kings Burner Spinnerbait is a must. Fan cast your area to generate bites from aggressive fish. Shallow or deep.

Head out and pick something up for Dad, or yourself for that matter. Preparation is key. And as a father myself I can think of no better gift on Father’s Day than some fishing tackle. These recommendations are sure to help you put more bass in the boat for our 2020 opener. The wait is nearly over! Tight lines!

Chris Huskilson


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