The Bass Spawn
When do bass spawn and how do you catch spawning bass? This video answers those questions and more!
This is Gene Jensen with BassResource.com. I'm going to try to do a little video about the spawn and kind of give you an overview of what the entire spawn is all about.
Let's start with the water temperature, 53 degrees. I don't know what it is about 53 degrees, I call it the magic number. It seems like around 53 degrees is when the bass start to get out of their winter funk. They've been lethargic all winter, they haven't eaten much, and it's when the bass start to move up and feed for the spawn. We call that the pre-spawn, about 53 degrees to 60 degrees just to keep it simple.
What happens is, they are in their deep winter holes. They're hanging out and it gets to be 53 degrees and they start to move up. What they'll do is they'll work their way along the creek channel. The places I'll look for, when the water temperature is between 50 and 55, is I'll look for a creek channel that's running up against a, I may draw this is a little later on but anyway, a creek channel that runs up against a bank. Or up against a main point that leads back into a spawning flat.
When I'm fishing, when I'm looking for a spawning flat, the first place I'd look for spawning to happen is north-western facing pockets. Pockets on the northwest side of the lake.
I go all the way up to the head waters of the lake because it tends to be more shallow up there, that water tends to warm up faster. Then as the spawn progresses up there, I'll move further down,
because I really like to fish the pre-spawn. I don't so much like to fish bed fish. I do it but I don't prefer it. I like to catch those big fat females that are staging to spawn.
Okay, so I locate my spawning flats. I back out of the spawning flats on a map, I'll look at and I'll say, 'Okay, here's a point that leads back into that spawning flat. Is there a creek channel that runs up against it, because a creek channel is the highway for the fish. Is there a creek channel that runs up against it?'
I find one that does that and when the water temperature is between 50 degrees and 55 degrees, actually all the way up into 60 degrees that's where I'll start. I'll work those channels or those points with a jig with a Carolina rig, but I don't like to, a crankbait or whatever, and then I'll work my way back into the spawning flat.
Okay, so say it gets to be about 60 degrees and the males are moving up into the spawning flat to bed and you go into the spawning flat and all you see is one fish fanning the the bed to get it cleaned up. Back out to 8 to 15 feet and take your crankbait, or spinnerbait or Rat-L-Trap or something and parallel the bank between 8 and 15 feet deep. That's where your females will be hanging out and cruising.
They were doing that yesterday on this lake. Right now the water temperature is 63 degrees. And all I did was I found that spawning flat and I followed those contour lines and I got my boat into ten feet of water and I fan cast it out in front of the boat and I caught some pretty good fish.
Then, once the water temperature gets to about 63 degrees like it did at the end of the day yesterday. It's actually 62 right now but it got 63. The females moved up into these shallow flats and up into the spawning flat, and they started actively spawning. It's a little early in the year to do it, but the water temperature's right and the first little wave moved in. There's not very many of them doing it.
So, we've covered pre-spawn, we're right in the middle of the spawn now. If you want to bed fish, or if you're covering a flat or a bedding area that you know fish are at, the best things are reaction baits, topwater, spinnerbaits, things like that. Cover the whole area thoroughly.
Crankbaits. Kim Van Dam won last years Bass Masters Classic by targeting bedding fish in muddy water. The way he did that is he would fan cast a little square-billed crankbait, until he bumped a stump, then he'd put his Power-Poles down and cast to that stump dozens and dozens of times until he got bit, because there were bass spawning on every stump in that little area that he was fishing. It may take hundreds of casts and you'll find little places that are holding fish. Another way is a spinnerbait.
I love to fish a top water during the spawn because they are in a protective mood and they'll absolutely annihilate a top water frog. Something like a SPRO frog or a Bobby's Perfect Frog.
Okay, so they're done spawning. For a few days after the spawn, the females are in kind of a funk and they don't really eat much, but after that they start to feed up. Now, what I'll do in a post spawn area is I'll target those males that are guarding fry and the way I do that is with a weightless trick worm.
I'll go in to the shallows and I'll start jerking a weightless trick worm around. And you'll catch a lot of male bass that way. In some lakes about that time is when the shad spawn starts so you go in there with the shallows looking for those shad. And let me get this fish in the boat boat. And you fish a shad spawn with a Rat-L-Trap or a spinnerbait.
Pre-spawn baby, that's a nice fat female. What I was doing was just paralleling the bank with a crankbait. I was paralleling the bank with a crankbait, that's all I did. She followed it up and smacked it.
There you go, nice big fish. Big female, about six pounds. Too much fun.
The first time I ever fished this little RC2, this Rick Clunn, I guess Luck-E-Strike crankbait. Nice little crankbait.
But anyway, so we're going to post spawn and I'm throwing a weightless trick worm around the shallows getting them to bite, or I'm looking for the shad to spawn if I'm in a lake with a bunch of docks or seawalls and things like that. I'm throwing a Rat-L-Trap and I'm throwing a spinnerbait. And the females, that's what they'll go feed on, is they'll go feed on the shad.
Some lakes, the lakes that have blue back herring you'll go out in the main lake points and you'll fish for the post-spawn females and males that are coming out to feed on the blue back herring that are spawning on those shallow points.
That's the spawn in a nutshell. Not much to it. You just watch the water temperature, follow the water temperature. Your ideal spawning water temperature 63 degrees they start to move up at 53 and I start throwing top water at about 55, 56 degrees up in the flats.
Like I always say visit BassResource.com for the answers to all your questions about bass fishing and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Have a great day.