Finding shad the name of the game for Havasu bass, stripers

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TAG TEAM – Gerry and Nick Mahieu have been plying Havasu’s waters for the past week and are finding steady success by finding shad concentrations and tossing a mix of spinnerbaits, A-rigs and swimbaits from the surface down to about 10 feet for quality largemouth and smallies to 4-plus pounds.
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BY BLAKE WARREN

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – The winter bass bite at Lake Havasu can be quite the grind these days. That is, unless you can locate a concentration of baitfish in a given area, in which case the anglers who have been doing so in recent days are putting together some solid days on the water as the year comes to a close.

WON caught up with Cabo Tuna Jackpot director Gerry Mahieu just before press time to get a few insights into the current bite at Havasu, where Mahieu has spent the last week fishing with his son Nick. Mahieu told WON that the bite was pretty brutal for their first couple days before they were able to somewhat “crack the code.”

“You pretty much gotta have the bait around or most of the time you won’t be getting a sniff,” he said. “Water temps are between 54 and 57 in most spots and the shad are really moving around quite a bit, but if you can find spots with a good amount of bait and birds, you can put together some pretty good days right now.”

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Mahieu said earlier in the week that there was a considerable amount of shad up

Nick Mahieu with a Lake Havasu bronzeback.

near the Casino and Chaulk Bluffs area, but that by the weekend a lot of that bait had moved down toward the south end of the lake near Bill Williams and in the back of the washes. Pinning down one of these key areas can produce some fun winter bassin’ with somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen to 15 fish on average — a nice mix of chunky largemouth and smallies to 4-plus pounds.

“It’s just straight shad stuff,” Mahieu said of their most effective lure selections. “We’ve been getting ‘em mostly on spinnerbaits, A-rigs and swimbaits from the surface down to about 10 feet. There are lots of stripers mixing in with the bass right now too, you just can’t seem to get away from ‘em.”

Most of the linesides showing in the current bite are running 2 to 5 pounds, though other anglers targeting the bigger jailbirds with bigger swimbaits and glide baits are connecting with occasional larger models into the double digits. Guys bypassing the green bass and pursuing the stripers are finding good and steady numbers running and gunning and looking for bird activity as the linesides are definitely schooled up and keyed on the shad.