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bassmajor

Does the female always stay close to the bed?

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I am new to this great sport but have been reading ALOT over the winter. In most articles about the spawn I have read that the female typically stays within a close proximity (sp) to the bed. A few months ago I watched In Fisherman TV and Doug Stange was fishing beds in Texas (maybe some of you have seen that episode). The local guide he was with said something I hadn't heard before. He said, "Only the males are here in this spawning area right now but the females move in every once in a while", implying that the females spent most of the time away from the spawning area.

So which is typical behavior? Are the females nearby most of the time or do I have to "hit it on the right day" to have a shot a female? Does increased fishing pressure push the females out of the area leaving the males alone on the spawning grounds?  Do the females leave after so many days after they spawn out?  Sorry for so many questions but I haven't been able to find the answers to them anywhere.

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Conventional knowledge indicates that the male bass builds the nest, fans it out and guards it (zealously). Generally, a good male that is aggressive and active will attract more than one female to his nest and spawn with each of them. Along with that, an active female will spawn a number of times and, in most cases, in a number of different males' nests. She moves down the shoreline making it with different males. The male sits in one spot and waits for more females to come by. I think that is sort of a hedge (on the part of the female) against an infertile male spoiling the hatch of a good fertile female. So she spread her eggs around and he spreads his fertility around. That ensures a higher success rate for that spawn.

That is important knowledge for fishermen, because most people think that once the female leaves the bed, only the male is left. It is true that the female only guards the nest for a short time before moving away, but other females will come to that nest. The other thing to keep in mind is that this isn't a long, drawn-out process. Once the water reaches the upper 60 degrees, which is ideal, it only takes about three or four days for the eggs to hatch. I think the male will spend about six weeks on the beds as the females rotate through, but the whole spawning season happens over three full moons, bringing a new wave of spawning with get full moon period. Ken Cook, a former Oklahoma fisheries biologist who went on to win the 1991 BASS Masters Classic.

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Great post Catt! and info from Ken :)

x2 though i have to admit, with a title like this one....the urge for sarcastic comments is way too  tempting. LOL

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Good question and Catt nailed it.

The only thing I would add is water temperatures; the colder the water the longer it takes eggs to hatch. The water temperatures are also measured at the depth the bass use to spawn, not the surface temp. Example; at 58 to 60 degrees LMB eggs require up to 14 days to hatch, at 65 to 67 degrees about 3 to 4 days. This is significant because the male must guard the nest from egg eating predators like crawdads, minnows, bluegill, other sunfish, carp and salamanders, 24 hours day and night. Males take a beating during this period because they don't have time to eat. Females will eat between egg laying, then move off to deeper water to recuperate. When the water gets over 67 degrees, the eggs hatch even faster, the problem becomes the bluegill and other sunfish move into the same nesting areas in schools to spawn, so the bass nests gets over run and few eggs survive.

Deeper water is usually cooler and if the water clarity is good, bass can spawn as deep as sun light penetration will allow the eggs to hatch; 8 to 25 feet in some lakes, normally bass prefer 1 to 4 feet.

WRB

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Conventional knowledge indicates that the male bass builds the nest, fans it out and guards it (zealously). Generally, a good male that is aggressive and active will attract more than one female to his nest and spawn with each of them. Along with that, an active female will spawn a number of times and, in most cases, in a number of different males' nests. She moves down the shoreline making it with different males. The male sits in one spot and waits for more females to come by. I think that is sort of a hedge (on the part of the female) against an infertile male spoiling the hatch of a good fertile female. So she spread her eggs around and he spreads his fertility around. That ensures a higher success rate for that spawn.

That is important knowledge for fishermen, because most people think that once the female leaves the bed, only the male is left. It is true that the female only guards the nest for a short time before moving away, but other females will come to that nest. The other thing to keep in mind is that this isn't a long, drawn-out process. Once the water reaches the upper 60 degrees, which is ideal, it only takes about three or four days for the eggs to hatch. I think the male will spend about six weeks on the beds as the females rotate through, but the whole spawning season happens over three full moons, bringing a new wave of spawning with get full moon period. Ken Cook, a former Oklahoma fisheries biologist who went on to win the 1991 BASS Masters Classic.

Exactly, bass are not monogamous !

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Does the female always stay close to the bed?

They should also make regular trips to the kitchen and laundry room.

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honestly, i think it depends on the fish.  i have seen some females that will hang around a particular nest for several days, long after they have dropped their eggs there.  i have seen other "spawn and gone" females that do their business and quickly move off.  i have also seen a few times one male with several females relating to his bed and spawning with him.  one will spawn with him for a while and when she leaves, another will move in and start up immediately, "taking turns" so to speak.  .  and very rarely, both will spawn with him at the same time - a bass orgy.    i bet in these rare cases, the little male feels like the biggest stud in the lake. ;D

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