Locating Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted Bass During the Spawn
Each spring bass have one goal, and that is to spawn. The early part of the year is dominated by this urge to spawn and the pre-spawn, spawn, and post-spawn periods are three of the best times of the year to go bass fishing. They also offer one of the best chances to land a monster bass and take a picture of your new personal best.
Knowing how to locate bass during the spawn comes down to finding likely spawning areas and understanding the different bass species and their tendencies. The time of year for the spawn cycle varies considerably based on region. Bass in Florida spawn as early as late fall and in the upper Midwest or Northeast, finding spawning bass in July is not unheard of. Even with these differences, the bass spawn is mostly the same anywhere you are fishing. When the water hovers around 60 degrees in the spring, chances are bass of all species are close to spawning.
Smallmouth and spotted bass tend to spawn in colder water than largemouth bass and have different preferences to where they spawn. Even though smallmouth and spotted bass spawn in colder water, that doesn’t mean it will be earlier in the year. These two subspecies are more likely to spawn in open water that warms slower than where largemouth spawn. Largemouth prefer to make beds around shallow cover and in more protected areas like creeks, pockets, coves, and other backwaters.
Locating Spawning Areas
Largemouth bass like to spawn in places that are partially protected such as near logs or rocks. If they can build their spawning bed use this cover to protect their backs, it makes it easier to guard their nest. All of the bass species will use this approach, but it is often seen with largemouth.
As mentioned, smallmouth and spotted bass tend to spawn a little deeper, so their beds are not always as visible. While largemouth in shallow water will clear out an area on the bottom that often appears as a white or light colored circle, smallmouth and spotted bass beds often appear as dark spots in slightly deeper water.
Catching Spawning Bass
All of the bass species have one goal, and that is to protect their young. This allows a wide range of bass fishing lures to have a chance this time of year. The male guarding the nest will often be very aggressive in protecting the bed, so it is sometimes relatively easy to get one to bite. That is not always the case, and sometimes it takes repeated casts and a stealthy approach to catch spawning bass.
Some of the best lures to use are soft plastic crawfish, jigs, and a drop-shot rig. Each of these appears as a threat to the bass and can be fished slowly around their beds.