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Multiple Choices Available for Finding Bass in May

Posted 5/15/2015

Yamaha Pro Todd Faircloth Usually Starts on Lower Lake Ridges and Humps

The biggest problem veteran tournament angler Todd Faircloth faces during the month of May is simply trying to decide where to start looking for bass. The Yamaha Pro knows he will find fish in some stage of the spawn practically anywhere on a lake this month and he has to decide which ones he wants to catch.

“It’s a nice problem to have,” laughs Faircloth, a four-time winner in Bassmaster® competition, “and it only happens this time of year. In the upper end of most lakes, the fish will already be in the post-spawn, in the middle of the lake it’s late spawning and probably some post spawn, while in the lower end fish are spawning and possibly even in pre-spawn.

“An angler really has the opportunity to fish in his comfort zone with a choice of lures and presentations, but it doesn’t last very long.”

Faircloth prefers to start his May fishing in the lower end of a lake, concentrating on main lake ridges and humps or perhaps in a deeper creek. To him, this section offers the highest percentage for success because he occasionally finds bass in all three stages of the spawn.

“On many lakes, the humps and ridges may be covered with milfoil or hydrilla, so what I’m also looking for are clear spots where there isn’t any vegetation,” explains the Yamaha Pro. “These are kinds of places bass will use for spawning.

“Everything depends on water temperature and water clarity, but no matter what the water temperature may be, I know it will continue to get warmer in May. That means I can usually fish water in the five to eight-foot range, and use soft plastic worms and stickbaits on Carolina or Texas rigs. It’s some of my favorite fishing of the entire year, and it isn’t hard to catch a lot of bass.”

If wind or other weather conditions create unfavorable fishing conditions on the lower end of a lake, Faircloth usually goes in the opposite direction, to the far upper end of the lake. Here, bass can frequently be found on main lake points or by the first deep dropoffs leading out from their spawning flats. These bass, because they’re further into the post-spawn, are often feeding heavily before moving to summer structure.

“It can be a good time to fish a medium-diving crankbait, or possibly a Carolina rig, depending on the mood of the fish,” Faircloth notes, “and if current is present, a plastic imitation shad on a jighead may be an even better lure choice. In current, I look for bass in the calmer eddies where the force of the water is broken and forms a good ambush spot. All I do is cast upstream and let the water wash my lure into those eddies.”

In the middle of the lake, Faircloth expects to find post-spawn bass, but his lure choice here is quite different. The Yamaha Pro likes to fish topwaters, working noisy popper-type lures around specific targets like shallow brush and logs. He changes to faster walking-type lures or a buzz bait when fishing the larger flats. 

“Overall, the mid-section of a lake can offer some of the most exciting fishing because topwater lures work so well and allow you to cover a lot of water,” Faircloth continues. “In May, the majority of mid-lake bass will have completed spawning, but it’s certainly possible to find spawning fish, too, depending on where your lake is located.

“Last May, I finished ninth in a Bassmaster® Elite tournament on Toledo Bend fishing humps and ridges on the lower end of the lake. I don’t believe I caught a single bass deeper than 10 feet, and because the water was extremely clear, I caught them on a jerkbait.

“I didn’t win the tournament, but it certainly was an enjoyable four days of fishing. That’s what I really like about fishing this time of year.” Y