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OCdockskipper

A Couple of Spawning Observations

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The bass on my home lake are in the middle of the spawn.  It is always written that all of the bass in a lake do not spawn at the same time & yesterday was a good example of that.  I saw dozens of schools of week old fry near many docks, while in other places there were males at various stages on nests (locked on, just starting, etc.).  I even caught a few of what I believe were fat females in a little deeper water, getting ready to meet some new boyfriends.  It was a clear, sunny day, making it easy to see a lot of what was happening.

 

Since I went to the Classic last week, my boat hadn't been moved from its spot on my dock for over 10 days.  I didn't realize it when I went out yesterday morning at zero dark thirty that a male bass had taken advantage of this and had built a nest just inches off the rear of my boat in about 2 feet of water.  I saw him when I returned to the house for a mid-morning bathroom break and went ahead & caught him off the nest to see if I could.  When I returned at the end of the day, he was back on the bed, apparently no worse for wear.  Of course, when I docked my boat, he took off.  As I spent about 30 minutes cleaning up the boat & putting the cover on, he was nowhere to be seen.  With that chore finished, I took some of my tackle up to the house and when I returned just minutes later, he was back on the bed.  It was a great example of how strong the spawning instinct is.  This fish was not only be caught off the bed, but had noise and rumbling nearly on top of the bed for a half hour, yet the moment things calm down, he was back setting up shop.  As the sun was setting & I could barely see him, I noticed a female (I assume) was cruising just beyond the bed, as if she was checking his credentials.

 

I am starting to wonder if the male bass in my lake are lacking romanticism.  Just about any TV show you watch about bedding bass or post spawn bass show the males with bloody or beat up tails from aggressively clearing off the debris on the lake bottom.  All of the bedding fish I catch have no such damage.  It is as if they are slackers, doing the minimum needed to create a nest and then just telling the females "what you see is what you get".  Maybe the bass in our area have been caught up in the Southern California culture and are more interested in hitting the gym and getting a good tan than being a gentleman fish and going all out to court the females.  I keep imagining them looking in their bass mirrors and in their best Billy Crystal/Fernando Lamas voice saying "You look marvelous..."

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Having observed SoCal bass for over 60 years it's uncommon to catch males with damaged tails from bed making. One reason could the water quality is usually good because it's used for drinking water in several local reservoirs. The bass tend to spawn in sand/gravel areas with little sediment or rocks, it's easy for them to clean a bed site. The lakes with a lot of sediment and off color water tend to have more bass with damaged tails. Females with damaged tails are more common and the males tend to bite the females and the girls tend to roll on thier sides rubbing the bottom during the eggs laying process which may account for body damage. 

Tom

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