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Last week, we shifted our attention to states in the bottom half of the South as bass started moving into the shallows to begin spawning. Now, as the calendar turns to April, the spawn is really revving up in the entire southern tier of the country. That’s why we aren’t venturing much further north this week—the South as a whole is seeing big bass in shallow water, and right now is the time to catch them.

Historically, early April is the start of the spawn on excellent fisheries like Lake Guntersville in northern Alabama. Further south, this time of year usually sees peak spawning conditions on waters like Lake Seminole in Georgia. So, if you live in this area—northern Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Texas—you better get out on the water ASAP. Big bass are reachable—from shore and boat—and they are extremely aggressive. We talked with pro bass angler Scott Martin about what regions to target during this time as he works his way north to fish the spawn.

The Region: Northernmost Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Texas

The Expert: Scott Martin

Scott Martin with two big largemouth bass at a tournament weigh-in.
Scott Martin with two big largemouth bass at a tournament weigh-in.

We already sat down with world-champion bass angler Scott Martin to discuss the best days of the spawn in the southernmost regions of the country. His early-spawn tips were so helpful that we decided to consult the Bassmaster Series Elite competitor again to get some insight on fishing the spawn a little farther north. Martin discussed specific fisheries that are usually productive this time of year, but he focused on one key factor to dial in the spawn as you venture north—water temperature.

Typical Regional Spawning Conditions for April 1st 

“As you go farther north, bass are more conditioned to colder water. The optimal water temperature at, say, Lake Okeechobee is 68 to 72 degrees. But if you go to Harris Chain, it might be 65 to 68 degrees. At Lake Seminole, bass will move up onto beds at 64 to 65 degrees. And the farther north you go, the more northern strain bass you get, and the less temperamental they are.”

Along with watching water temperature, Martin believes that the moon has a greater effect on the spawning process as you go norht. In the extreme south, bass can bed from November all the way to May, as long as the weather conditions and water temperatures are suitable. But moving into Georgia and Alabama, all the stars have to align—or rather, the moon, weather, and water temperatures. Keep an eye on these conditions to optimize your best days on the water.

Martin also believes that early April is the best day for the spawn from the St. Johns River to Lake Seminole on the Florida/Georgia line. While bass may certainly spawn before then, he predicts this is when you’ll see the hottest spawning activity. Look for water temps in the mid-60s and aim to fish on or around new and full moons.

Top Spawn Baits and Tactics for April 1st

As for bait selection, swim jigs, vibrating jigs, spinnerbaits, and frogs, all work well as search baits in this region. These lures allow you to cover water in search of productive areas with fish spawning in the shallows. Once you start getting a few bites or start seeing beds and/or bass shallow, you should slow down your approach and pick the area apart with a light Texas rig or weightless soft plastic. Creature baits and Senkos work well Texas rigged, while finesse and trick worms are better suited for wacky rigs and weightless presentations.

A floating worm, for instance, is a great finesse presentation when bass are spawning throughout this region. Simply take a trick worm and rig it the same way you would a Texas rig, but leave out the weight. Now, you have a stealthy approach that appeals to large bass without spooking them—one that is productive in both clear and stained conditions. 

A weightless Texas rig is a good way to slow down your approach for spawning bass.
A weightless Texas rig is a good way to slow down your approach for spawning bass. Shaye Baker

As we move into April, anglers in the southeast, especially northern Florida, Alabama, and Georgia, should pay attention to water temperature and moon phase. These factors can trigger the spawn quickly, and you’ll want to be on the water when it happens.

Anglers in these areas can expect bass to move up onto beds around April 1st, with spawning activity staying steady throughout the week and into the following weekend. Taking a tandem, power-finesse approach to the shallows will allow you to cover more water and pick apart productive areas when you find them.