Fishing The Spawn 101

Fishing The Spawn 101


Depending on where you are in the country, it’s time to start looking shallow for spawners. For some of you in the south, the bass have been bedding for a while now. While those to the north still have a few weeks left to wait it out. But the majority of the country is nearing the full-blown-spawn window. So what better time to talk spawning tips? Let’s get to it. 


What is the bass spawn - 


To make sure we’re all on even footing from the jump, the bass spawn refers to the window of time when bass move shallow to make beds, lay their eggs and further the species. Fanning its tale back and forth, a bass clears a spot on the bottom, or makes a bed. Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass do this primarily in water less than 8-feet deep, though all three species are known to bed deeper at times, especially smallmouth in ultra-clear water situations. 


Once the females lay their eggs, they back off a bit and the males move onto the beds to fertilize the eggs and then protect them from predators, until they can hatch. This is the bass spawn in a nutshell. And it’s one of the most exciting times of the year to fish because so many bass are shallow, many even visible to the naked eye of an angler. 


Fishing for bedding bass -


The male bass, or “buck bass”, is usually very defensive of the bed. It’s willing to attack or at least try to run off anything that enters into the usually 1- to 2-foot diameter bed. The female will often swim around in a wider circle, staying within a dozen feet or so of the bed but appearing completely disinterested in any baits tossed into the area. 


If the male is removed from the bed, the female will sometimes “lock on”, meaning that she will move onto the bed to defend it in place of the absent male. This is when the female is much more likely to bite a bait that’s placed in the bed. 


What baits to use - 


White baits have been used by bass fishermen for decades to pluck spawning bass off their beds. Since the fish are typically acting defensively when attacking a bait (as opposed to hitting a bait for the sole purpose of feeding), matching the hatch and choosing a realistic color isn’t really necessary. Using a white bait allows an angler to see where the bait is on the bed and to see when the bass eats the bait.


There are times though when it’s better to just back off of a located bedding bass and “blind cast” to the bed with a more realistic color choice. In these instances, you’re not actively looking at the bait in the bed, so you can swap up to a more natural green pumpkin and wait until you feel the bass bite or pick up the bait. 


Swing and a miss - 


Don’t be surprised if you have a fish short-strike a bait when you’re bed fishing. The bass is again not typically reacting to the bait because it is in a feeding mood, but instead the bass is trying to remove what it believes to be a threat to its eggs.


Since this is the case, the bass will often pick the lure up without getting the whole bait in its mouth, and simply tote it out of the bed and blow it right back out. This can lead to a frustrating exchange where you miss the bass several times. But this is also part of the thrill of the chase. Bedding bass present one of the most interactive fishing opportunities that you’ll experience all year, often having to talk the bass into biting and eventually eating the bait completely through a course of time. 


A few more tips - 


Using scent or dye on the tips of a soft plastic or a jig trailer can help get a bedding bass to commit to your bait. You can also use big baits like glide baits and harnessed swimbaits, or even large Texas rigged soft plastics to create a more threatening presentation. This sometimes triggers fish to strike more. 


And pay attention to where exactly your bait is in the bed when the fish reacts the best to it. There’s typically a quarter-sized spot where the female actually deposited its eggs that the bass are particularly protective of. If you find this by chance, you can make repetitive casts to it and agitate the fish into biting much quicker. 

 

Try these great baits for fishing during the bass spawn -

Strike King Rodent - Green Pumpkin Seed 

The Goat - Pearl

Fat Gap, 4/0 Bleeding EWG

Tungsten Pro Pack - Texas Rig / Flipping - 1/4 ounce 

Boom Boom Line Thru Swimbait

 

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