By Dave Wolak


Across much of the country, it’s approaching spawning time. The water temps are right and during that first spring full moon, the ladies will move into the shallows to pair up with the fellas. These shallow bass are notoriously spooky, so it’s more important now than during the rest of the season to be stealthy.

I grew up sneaking around little smallmouth and trout creeks with fly and spinning gear, and I learned early that wearing muted earth tones increased my success. If I had been wearing a modern, vibrant bass tourney jersey back then, every minnow and nymph in the stream would have swam full speed in the opposite direction. That’s why I don’t wear a tourney jersey this time of year, even during tournaments. Yet I still see guys that look like Jeff Gordon in full race attire on the water during the spawn. This makes no sense.

Bright colors are red flags for animals. If you think about it, things like poisonous snakes and bees have bright red and yellow coloring, and even humans instinctively know to stay away from them. Drastically contrasting colors and unfamiliar movements put a bass’s brain on alert. So here are some things to keep in mind when choosing your wardrobe and moving in on bedding bass.

When fish look up, the backdrop they most often see is the sky, so wear whites, light blues, and grays. Next, and equally important, limit overall body and boat movements. Try not to transmit noise through the boat by stomping on deck, slamming compartments, or creating little tympanic commotions by rustling through ice to find a soda. When I’m moving in on a bedded bass I pretend I’m in a deer stand up wind from a trophy buck at all times. Much like taking a shot with a bow, angle is crucial, too. The more glare between you and the bass’s eyes, the more bites you’re likely to score. Quality polarized glasses and keeping your distance from the fish make glare good for you, bad for the bass.