Original Caption: Professional bass angler Dion Hibdon presented a fishing seminar at Fishing Village Marina in Abilene Thursday. Hibdon, right, is shown being interviewed during his seminar on live television by KTAB Television sportscaster David Bacon. Abilene Reporter-News, Jul 1999. Photo by Jerry O'Bryant.

Keeping with the theme of pre-spawn/spawn time fishing, today’s Friday Finale historical photo dates to 1999 and features Dion Hibdon, who was in town (Abilene, TX) to give a seminar and answer questions.  His focus was on the winter-spring bass transition, and an extensive write-up in the outdoor column of the local newspaper covered a bunch of what he spoke about.

I’ve gathered a few of the excerpts below giving Dion’s advice about fishing this time of year:

> “Winter bass tend to hold in relatively deep water, and they are sluggish and will absolutely refuse to move far to chase a lure.  During this time, you want to drop a jig very near the fish, or reel a slow-moving, deep diving crankbait close to the bass’ holding site.”

> “When lake water temperatures warm into the lower 50s, Hibdon said bass will start to move into the shallows to feed and prepare to spawn – and this is the time when an angler has a good chance of catching a truly big bass.

“’Bass at this stage have been feeding on shad in deep water all winter and they are sick and tired of eating the same thing day after day.  A crawfish-colored jig at this time is a deadly lure – and if these water temperatures occur in March during a full moon cycle, there’s no telling how good the fishing may be.’”

> “The biggest bass in the lake will come to the shallows first to spawn, and if you wait until the weather gets warmer, or your friends are bragging about the large numbers of bass they’re catching, then you’ve probably missed the best time for really big fish.”

> “’When water temperatures drop to 65 degrees or less, I’d rather have a temperature gauge than a depth sounder on my boat.’

“Hibdon explained that finding the warmest water on a particular stretch or shoreline, or finding the warmest creek section on a reservoir is extremely important to anglers during spawning seasons.  After a long cold winter bass are eager to find the warmest water in a lake, and some sections of shallow water, with certain bottom materials or exposure to wind and sun, will warm faster than other parts of the lake.”