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Late-spring fishing is prime time for bass. Here's how to take advantage.

Bass fishing tips from a high school champ

Jason Felter, a 2-time state high school fishing champion who recently signed a national letter of intend for the Bethel University fishing team, gives five tips for how to become a better angler.
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Jason Felter, a 2-time state high school fishing champion who recently signed a national letter of intend for the Bethel University fishing team, gives five tips for how to become a better angler.

Every year around this time, something magical happens. It’s as if a little pixie wearing a fishing vest goes around sprinkling magical dust on our favorite bass spots, and BAM! Lakes that once seemed like ghost towns suddenly teem with life.

The weeks after the pixie dust sprinkling (actually caused by ideal water temperatures) are like Christmas for bass anglers. When you go fishing this time of year, you know you are going to see fish. The only question is whether you can get them to bite.

With the recent birth of my daughter, fishing trips have been scarcer. But when grandma came to visit and help watch baby Quinn, I jumped at the chance to take a morning bass safari.

As I arrived at one of my favorite lakes, the water was pancake-flat. I could see fish cruising near the surface, so I tied on a top-water plug.

Largemouth bass are one of six different species available at Crane Falls Lake, and they will aggressively strike surface plugs in the dawn and dusk hours.

Pop, pop, pop, SLURP! Two casts in, my lure disappeared into the jaws of a relatively small but feisty largemouth. It looked as if the bass fairy had already paid these fish a visit.

As the sun crested the tree line, I switched to a plastic worm and started working my way down the bank. If I saw a respectable fish, I’d make a few casts. The bass continued to cooperate, and I soon had a dozen.

You can learn a lot about bass by wearing polarized glasses and watching them hunt. If they turn toward your lure with speed, get ready to set the hook. If they approach your bait but don’t strike, try a few more casts in the vicinity. If they ignore it completely or swim away, try switching lures.

The size of a fish has a lot to do with how they react. Smaller fish aren’t usually picky. If you see one going after your bait and there are bigger fish around, reel in before the little guy gets it. Once older, wiser bass see another fish hooked, the gig is up.

Large fish present the biggest challenge. They don’t get that big by being dumb. Stealth is key. If you can spot a fish before it sees you and lead it with an accurate cast, you’ve got a chance.

Ocamica of New Plymouth shares his favorite lake and offers a tip on strategy.

The fickle nature of a big bass — and the value of knowing their habits — came into play on my best catch of the day. This fish spotted me before I spotted him, and a game of cat-and-mouse ensued. He ignored my go-to tricks, so I retreated out of sight and waited a few minutes.

With a large boulder obscuring me from his view, I tossed my trusty plastic worm back toward his lair. My line suddenly zipped to the left. Fish on!

Moments later, I brought a healthy 17-inch largemouth to the net. A friendly neighboring angler took a picture for me, and I thanked him with one of my lucky plastic worms. As we watched the fish swim back to the depths, it was the perfect ending to an awesome trip. It felt great to be back on the water — just in time for late spring bass magic.

Tight lines!

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