KEN PENROD’S TIDAL BASS CALENDAR & LURE SELECTION.
I use the “Man-Made” calendar to schedule trips. “My Fishing Seasons” are determined by water temperature, at first light, all year long. My seasons for Tidal Bass and the lures I trust and recommend are as follows. One of the most important tools will be the water temperature display on your Lowrance
WINTER: 32-45 DEGREES F.
I will concentrate on areas away the main current where depths and tidal breaks provide a rather lazy comfort zone. My favorite lures include: 3.5” Campground tube; 4” Mizmo grub; Silver Buddy; Zipper grub; slider worm; wacky rigged Magic Stik.
POST-WINTER: 45-50 DEGREES F.
I will concentrate my efforts in the same areas knowing that bass will move to shallower water sooner or later for short periods as the surface warms. My “Winter” lure selection is still in play but I’ll search with liplss crankbaits, Big Mouth Spinnerbaits, crankbaits (especially firetiger); Case Magic Stiks and jigs.
PRE-SPRING; 50-55 DEGREES F.
This is an oft-overlooked period but we will take some of our biggest bass of the year. Post winter behavior is still expected but we will find huge bass in shallow water for short periods. Use those post-winter lures but bring out those lipless crankbaits and Case Magic Swims and cover lots of shallow water, especially where rocks and concrete debris exist. Use that Case Magic Swim on and RAB swim-jig head .
PRE-SPAWN: 50-70 DEGREES F.
Pre-spawn simply means that bass are more committed to shallow cover. They are claiming territory and flaunting. They will retreat from time to time especially when cold fronts and a rising barometer causes “bend-like” discomfort. Food sources have improved as many other inhabitants have spawned and fresh-fry are abundant. All the pre-spring lures are in play but larger bass will eat Carolina rigged Magic Stiks and lizards. Keep those lipless lures wet and a weightless Case Magic Stik or Big Mouth Lure Company’s Big Shaky and Penrod spinnerbait can be your best friend.
POST SPAWN: 70-75 DEGREES F.
Remember that every bass in the river does not spawn at the same time. If, however, you must fish for post-spawn bass, do so on drop-offs away from the spawning sites. I really like crankbaits for this target, especially the Bomber 7-A Firetiger and Rapala DT-6. I’ll wear my Ardent out tossing the Magic Stik too.
SUMMER: 72-90-60 DEGREES F.
If you are not fishing vegetation during the summer season, you are in big trouble on the Potomac River. I really like the spatterdock now and who doesn’t like a top-water bite? I’ll start each day with a buzzbait but will not die with it. Often a more subtle lure like the frog or Ricco can trigger strikes. Big Mouth vibrating jigs and spinnerbaits are a must and those Case Magic Stiks are no-brainers. Shallow-diving crankbaits are deadly some days and try a Big Mouth Swim Jig with a Case Magic Swim trailer.
PRE-FALL: 65-55 DFEGREES F.
Do not give up on vegetation until it’s GONE. Often though, the early hours are nonproductive simply because the photosynthesis process was stalled. Start on drop-offs close to vegetation until the sun jump-starts the brass. Tubes, crankbaits and vibrating jigs are hard to beat.
FALL: 55-40 DEGREES F.
Use anything you like as long as it’s a crankbait. Tubes, Magic Swims, Zipper Grubs and weighted worms are in play.