In pre-spawn fishing there are a lot of techniques to try to catch the big fish and everyone has their favorite but one of the most productive ways is to fish a lipless crankbait.

The original is the Rattle Trap but there are many lures by a lot of manufacturers that can catch fish. The thing about this lure is that you can cover a ton of water with it and that is the key to this time of year.

Most of the bass are moving from deep water to shallow and some do it every day so you have to be able to cast a bait a mile and retrieve it through different water columns in order to be productive.

There are a number of retrieves to use while fishing a lipless crankbait but the common thread is that you have to change up speeds and not just throw it out and reel it back in.

I am not saying you can’t catch fish that way but you will get more strikes with an irregular retrieve. My favorite way to fish this lure is to imagine how deep the water is and drop the lure down into deeper water while you bring it back to the boat.

What that means you throw it up on the flat then when you reach the drop or ledge kill it and let it fall down into deeper water then use the rod to rip it back up off the bottom.

These transition areas are the key to finding pre-spawn fish and are often where they are found during this time of year. You can also let the bait fall to the bottom then bounce it back up then let it fall again.

This YOYO retrieve is common among anglers and is very affective when the fish are lethargic and not willing to bite a faster moving bait.

Remember that this time of year is when the females are at their largest so if you want to go trophy hunting now is the time to get started. They have to feed to get ready to spawn and they will bite with the right presentation.

What’s biting, where...

The offshore fleet has been having a blast this past week with bluefin coming back every day they get out and fish for them.

There is a video of a school of bluefish trapped at the surface with huge tuna smacking them right next to the boat.

That video was right outside of Oregon Inlet and the size of the bluefish was what amazed me because each fish was between five and eight pounds each.

If you go a little farther south the yellowfin are biting so if you ever wanted to have some fresh tuna now is the time to get out.

The beaches are still slow but we do have some activity around the point and Buxton. Slot puppy drum are here and there and a few blow toads but that is about it.

The sound is still good for stripers around the bridges and when you get close to the inlet the speckled trout bite is picking up.

Look for deep pockets and troughs and watch your depth finder for schools in deeper water then jig over top of them.

Closer to home we have a good crappie bite going on with some fish moving onto structure to spawn. Slow troll in 10 to 12 feet of water but when you see a bush or brush pile near the bank throw a jig up next to it and let it fall. If you catch one fish there will probably be more so stop and fish it till the bite dies then move on.

Some really big fish over 2 pounds have been caught in the past week so if you like good table fare get out there and show me what you got.

If anyone does get out send me a report to or hit me up on Facebook at Fishing with Mike.