How to Rob a Bank

Big largemouths stack up where it's steep.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Bass may be sluggish in early spring, but you can find hefty prespawn females staging in specific places where they're ripe for the picking. One of the most predictable of these, in reservoirs across the country, is found wherever a creek channel runs along the bank.

The fish gravitate to steep channel banks to gain easy access to both shallow and deep water. And they'll stay on these structures until they are ready to spawn.

**Bluffs and Bends **
A bluff bank above the shoreline can be a tip-off to a submerged creek channel, as the bluff might have been formed by a creek. In many cases, however, there are no visual clues. So start by studying a contour map, marking areas where the main channel swings close to the bank. Then pinpoint them on the water with your depthfinder.

Give your highest priority to sharp bends that brush the bank for a distance of less than 50 yards. Short channel banks stack bass in small areas, which dramatically increases your chances for bites. Long channel banks, on the other hand, allow bass to spread out. Here, concentrate on rock slides, blowdowns, and the edge where the channel swings away from the bank.

A channel bend that swings close to a rocky point can be especially productive. Be sure to fish the bank and both sides of the point, and never overlook submerged vegetation situated near any channel bank.

On overcast days in water with less than 2 feet of visibility, bounce a jig through any bankside cover, then work it down over the channel ledge. On brighter days or in clearer water, try slowly retrieving a tightly wiggling crankbait, working a suspending jerkbait with long pauses, and slow-rolling a spinnerbait down over the ledge. And be patient. You're not likely to see frenzied action now. What you may well get is your largest bass of the season.