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Bottom Composition For Spawn

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I'm getting ready to start fishing this spring a new body of water where I've recently moved. It's a 20,000 some acre tidal bay that's got a lot of SAV making a comeback and that's bringing the healthy bass fishery back as well. From what I've read the tide is not lunar but only wind driven. My question is mostly concerned with spawning habitat in a place like this. What areas would you look for, more specifically what kinds of bottom composition? In a tidal bay my guess is there's a lot of mucky bottoms. With fluctuating water levels a place that wasn't too shallow and would dry up would be important. Just curious what you all would look for as far as prime spawning habitat in a place like that?

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During the spawn, largemouth bass instinctively seek a firm bottom, usually of sandy soil

where the eggs will get good circulation. Eggs deposited on a soft mucky bottom are susceptible to silting-over and suffocation.
On weedy bedding flats, the sand substrate is usually not visible to the angler.

Decaying vegetation from previous years deposits a layer of detritus or black humus over the sand.

However, since vegetation grows best in sandy soil, the presence of certain plants is your best indicator

of a sand bottom. The other indicator of course are the sand-colored nests swept clean by buck bass.

 

Roger

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In waters void of suitable bottom compositon bass will build nest on stumps, logs, pieces of concrete, pieces if wood, or what ever is available.

In one tidal marsh here in southwest Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries biologist with the help of local anglers took 5 gallon buckets of pea gravel & built nest, the bass actually used these spots.

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You are most likely referring to Back Bay if I am reading your post correctly.  If that is the case, then look up Charlie Brueggeman (vbfishguide is his user handle on forums, his YouTube channel and his site).  Also consider giving the DGIF rep a call - his name is Chad Boyce.  His number is 1-757-465-6812.  He can probably give you an update on your information, since they are out on Back Bay almost monthly.

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Yep Hannover it's Back Bay here in Virginia Beach. I've watched some of Charlie's vids, good idea to give Boyce a call. Rolo, are there particular types of grasses that clue you in to suitable bottom composition better than others?

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The search for bedding grounds should begin with a search for water with good wind protection.

Although Currituck Sound is itself an estuary, you want to be looking in the back of the back of backwaters (bay -> cove -> pocket).

 

Three aquatic plants that strongly favor sandy soil are Bulrushes (tules), Watershield (looks like small waterlilies) and Pennywort (dollarweed).

Like bass, plant life is also very adaptable and often found in soil that's less than ideal. Nevertheless, everything is relative

and when you've found the best stands of vegetation, you've also found the best available bottom content.

 

Watershield rarely grows in water deeper than 6 feet, bulrushes usually end around 4 ft and pennywort peters out in water over 2 ft deep.

Depending on water clarity, largemouth bass normally spawn in 1 to 4 ft of water, so running the 2.5 ft contour line offers an effective search.

 

Roger

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There are only a few places aquatic plants can't root; rock and clay. Sand, gravel are small pieces of rock and clay is tiny pieces of rock that soil can mix with. If bass have a choice they spawn where rock, gravel, sand or clay are available in wind protect areas. If there isn't any prefered bottom materials, then bass make do with whatever may work, except mud or muck that creates silt to kills the eggs.

Depth of light is important, beds are in water that light can penetrate to keep the water warm.

The beds will be at least a foot deeper than the lowest tidal movement.

Out west we have extremely clear water and beds can be 15' or deeper, rarely less than 3'. Beds in a foot of water the small male is subject to birds eating it, like herons.

Tom

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I would look for sand bottom, especially white sand bottom.

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I have seen bass beds in some odd places....it's not all that strange to see them bedding next to something un-natural, like a railrod tie, tire, etc....but once in while they will build it ON something goofy. One memorable one was a male guarding a nest he made on the underside of a submerged lawnmower deck.

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Areas where spawning sites are limited anglers often add structure in spawning bays, the most common being 12" concrete stepping stones. Keep an eye out for light areas on darker bottoms.

Tom

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