When May comes around much of the spawning ritual has passed for the southern half of the country, making way for some presentations that catch both spawning and post spawn fish. Often the water levels at reservoirs remains high until the first of June, so there is lots of cover to be had. On rivers there is always bank related fish and May they tend to be aggressive and biting while in the shallows.
My favorite soft plastic bait for May is the 7’’ Fat Max Worm. This bait is thicker than the Original, making it ideal for flipping and pitching into shallow cover with heavy gear. The Original is ideal for falling water when you need to fish points and drops nearby. If the water level is normal or high, the Fat Max is my go-to.
I fish this bait on a 7’6’’ flipping rod with either 16 or 20lb fluorocarbon line depending on the cover and size of the fish. Obviously heavier for the nastiest of cover and bigger fish. Pair this with a 7.1:1 or faster reel to take up slack line and catch up with the fish. I use a 5/16 or 3/8 weight and a 4/0 Wide gap hook. Many times the fish are feeding in small schools in shallow water and when one gets it they run as fast as they can away from the other fish so they can eat it. If this happens to be straight at you, you’ll need that fast reel to catch up to it in order for a good hook set.
My usual routine is to first look for birds such as herons or kingfishers working a particular area. I’ll start where I see them, because that is where the bait and most of the bass will be. A black shad colored Fat Max tricks them into thinking the worm is a baitfish. I pitch and short cast this worm in places where most baits will not go surprising the bass . When they see that little flash of the Fat Max in the Shad Color its a pure reaction and you’ve caught a bass! It is a fun way to fish.
Once the morning feed on shad has passed, I switch gears and sometimes the color of worm and explore deeper into coves and creeks casting to any cover and especially isolated cover. This is not fishing slow, often I cast and work the bait a foot or two and reel back in. Sometimes you discover swimming retrieve is what they want anyway or they bite it on the initial fall. So keep moving and don’t get slowed up for anything unless it’s by the bass!