The Spawn Is On: What To Look For

The Spawn Is On: What To Look For


By Shaye Baker:

Spring is in the air, for the fortunate majority of us at least. Some reading this are no doubt still struggling with snow, and our hearts go out to you. But throughout the southeast and much of the bass fishing world, the flowers are blooming and the bass are headed to the bank to make their beds and start their annual spawning process.

Bass reproduce by laying eggs on a clean spot of hard bottom, called a bed. Bass make beds by fanning their tail over a spot continually until all the debris is gone. This gives the female bass a place to deposit her eggs, so that the male can then fertilize them. And they do all of this in relatively shallow water during the spring.

So this is the time of year when bass hit the banks and hit them hard. And it’s one of the most exciting and interactive times to fish for them throughout the whole year. But how do you know when and where the bass should be spawning in your area? That’s what we want to help you with today.

When to start looking for bedding bass -

There are more than a dozen natural indicators that can help clue you in depending on where you live in the country. The bass start to spawn when the water temperatures rise above the 60- degree mark. The moon phases also play a big role in the spawning process in certain parts of the country, Florida in particular. The bass will move up and spawn better on a full or new moon.

Again, the spawn coincides with the spring. What else happens in the spring? The flowers and the trees start to bud and bloom and the air is filled with a yellow dust storm. Pollen is one of the best indicators that it’s time for the bass to start to spawn. If you see a layer of yellow misery start to pile up on your car or scum up the surface of the water, your sinuses will be upset about it but your bass fishing spidy sense should hit high alert. The bedding process is imminent at this point.

In addition to flowers, trees and pollen, you’ll start to notice a couple spring time bugs buzzing and floating around when the bass are close to bedding. Bees will become more prevalent and butterflies will begin to flutter their wings. So between the pollen, flowers, trees, bugs, moon phases and warmer nights, there should be plenty to point you to the water. Once you get out there though, what do you look for then?

How to locate bedding bass -

Bass like to bed in very predictable areas. Breaking it down broadly, you want to look for shallow water near deeper water, so a shallow pocket off the main lake for instance. The bass can move up from the depths to quickly make their beds in the nearby shallow water of the pocket. But when you get in one of these areas, there are several more things to look for.

Firstly, they need to bed in an area where they can be certain that enough sunlight will hit the bed to incubate the eggs once they lay them. So bass will typically spawn shallower in muddy fisheries, but may spawn out a little deeper if the water is really clear.

Bass also like to spawn on a hard bottom. Now in rocky fisheries, this tidbit of knowledge doesn’t help all that much since the whole bottom is hard. But on muddy or mucky bottom fisheries, or waterways with submerged vegetation blanketing the bottom, knowing this is particularly important. Certain types of vegetation only grow in areas with hard bottoms, like arrow head plants for instance. So these visual indicators above the water can help you know the bottom composition below.

You’ll also see bright white spots on fisheries with hard sandy bottoms. As the bass fan their beds, they clear out all the silt, vegetation and other debris which leaves a very obvious white spot among the otherwise dark bottom. This creates beds that you can easily see in clearer water.

Looking for isolated cover is another great way to locate potential bedding spots inside of bigger areas. These may be little clumps of reeds, dock posts, isolated stumps or even a big boulders. Bass like to get their backs up against some type of isolated cover so that they can better protect their beds and the eggs they lay on them.

If you pay attention to the world around you, it will let you know when the bass are bedding. The warmer nights will lead to warmer water temps, and as spring gets full sprung, start to head out on the water and scan the shallows. This is easy to do when fishing from the bank. And if you’re in a boat, look for pockets, sloughs and flats with hard bottoms and scattered isolated cover. Then you’ll be sure to stumble on a bedding bass or two in no time.

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