Fishing on the Upper Chesapeake Bay has been tremendous this spring. Many tournaments have produced multiple bags of fish over 20lbs and one tournament even produced (what is probably a record) a 10.42 lb largemouth bass! Once the summer bite gets underway, the water has experienced some warm periods that can drive water temperatures into the 80s. At this time you can look forward to fishing grass beds with chatterbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits or flipping baits. If these techniques are working you can get ready for the topwater frog bite to start because that is next!
There is one other event that starts at this time, which is the groups of carp that begin to spawn in the grassy areas. These carp cause quite a commotion and many folks feel that they scare the bass out of the grass beds, but this is not true! The thrashing does cause a lot of noise and muddies the water, but don’t let that move you from the grass. From my experience I have found that the spawning carp can actually help the bass fishing. How can that be? Realize that having success when bass fishing means being able to follow the food chain and driving the food chain is exactly what these carp do. As the carp spawn a large amount of their eggs actually stick to the grass stalks and canopy. This will draw in all type of baitfish to feed on this abundance of eggs, such as perch, small catfish, crawfish and many other baitfish. In fact, if you are in water clear enough, you can sometimes see schools of small yellow perch following these groups of spawning carp. They feed on the eggs as soon as they are deposited.
The activity of the baitfish feeding on carp eggs in turn draws in the largemouth bass. Large numbers of bass move in as they have a smorgasbord of forage to feed on. This is why the bass fishing can be outstanding at this time.
Understanding the food chain is the first step in understanding the bass. An effective angler also needs to read the tides, understand different types of grass and realize what lures and techniques match to these conditions. It is a puzzle that you are always piecing together, but when it comes together, get ready for some amazing largemouth bass fishing on the Chesapeake Bay!