Bass season opens thisSaturday and with it comes the start of tournament fishing season as well. Local club events will be on Hammond and Cowanesque starting Sunday and a variety of club and open tournaments will be in the area all summer long.

Our local clubs, Tioga County Bass Anglers and CV Bass League, offer different formats of tournament fishing for you to enjoy with your fishing friends.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or someone just getting into the sport, I really recommend getting involved with these organizations. It’s a great way to meet other enthusiastic fishermen and a great way to learn more about how and where to catch bass on our local lakes and on some of the Finger Lakes.

Locally, we can expect a fun and exhilarating start to the season. Cold wet weather prolonged the spring spawn and fish are just getting into their post-spawn routines. It’s a good time of the year to experiment with new tactics and new baits.

You will find many of these fish are still hanging shallow and feeding heavily, while others have moved offshore into their summer haunts. Lately, we’ve done well pitching creature baits and worms into shallow weed beds, but we’re also catching fish on offshore structure using deep diving crankbaits.

On the Corps Lakes, start your day hitting shallow timber and emerging weed beds. I like to use a Texas rigged beaver or creature bait with a 3/0 hook and ¼ ounce tungsten bullet weight. Good colors include green pumpkin, watermelon, black/blue, black/red and similar shades. These areas can be good places to fish chatterbaits, squarebill crankbaits, and spinnerbaits too, and they offer the ability to cover more water faster.

The offshore structures can be trickier to find. To help, start by going to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s website and finding the “Habitat Improvement” section. Here you’ll find a comprehensive list of structure maps for all of the lakes in Pennsylvania that have had projects done. Hammond, Cowanesque, Beechwood, and Nessmuk all have maps available.

Deeper diving crankbaits are useful tools for locating deeper fish and finding the structure. Strike King 3XD, 5XD and 6XD baits are among our favorites. For colors, try to match the local forage. On the Corps lakes, a shad or alewife pattern will be best. On the smaller lakes, a bluegill or perch pattern is often better.

Good luck out there.

Don Kelly is the owner of the Tackle Shack in Delmar Township. He can be reached at 570-724-5138.