Prespawn Fishing Tips
Learn how bass move to different areas during the prespawn season in this original video!
Hey guys. This is Gene Jensen, with BassResource.com. Let’s talk about pre-spawn. We’re going to try to talk about pre-spawn. There’s that period of time early in the spring when the bass are beginning to feed up, or move up to spawn. There’s no trigger to it; they just move up in groups. It is the way that nature preserves the species; they don’t want to move them all up together because if something happens weather-wise, it kills off the entire spawn. You lose an entire generation of bass. They move up at different times. Usually during the pre-spawn all the way up into the spawn, there’s fishing in every phase of the spawn. You have some that are after the first spawn. They go out they post-spawn, so on and so forth. Then you always have up until the end of the spawn, you have fish that are out a little bit deeper.
The things I look for when I’m fishing pre-spawn is I start, and I start looking at a map, and I locate where those spawning bays are: Hard bottom, shallow water, protected from the north and the west winds. I’m looking for a bay that is facing . . . coming from the main lake, facing it northwest, or at least has at least a protection from that north and that west wind. Then I go backwards, I say, “How cold is it? How early in the spawn is it?” Let’s see. Early in the spawn, it would be as close to the deep water as you can get, moving up on that first point that goes into that spawning bay, or that creek channel, that spawning pocket. I’m looking for places where the bass are going to stop as they’re going back up into that spawning area, be it a brush pile, a long, or a point. One of the first places you always look is steep banks, very steep, or steep banks as in 45-degree banks is usually what everybody talks about.
I’m going to start fishing with jerk bait or a jig, dragging it on the bottom. The bass are either going to be suspended, just taking a break and slowly moving up and waiting for the weather to get right. They’re either going to be suspended off the bottom, that’s when I’ll throw jerk bait, or they’re going to be on the bottom, and that’s when I’m going to drag a jig. As the pre-spawn progresses, they move further and further back up the arm. They stop at these little secondary points, these little things that stick out a little bit further or something long, a little off, like an isolated piece of cover or anything else, and then they move up to spawn.
What can stop that is a cold front; that’s where I’m sitting right now. Our bass moved up, the water temperature got up to about 60 degrees, and our bass moved up to get ready to spawn. We had a cold front come through and it knocked it back down to 55-58 . . . 55 degrees this morning, 58 right now. It dropped these bass back out into the first piece of cover, or the first structure that is in the lake, or that is close to them. They dropped back into these scattered stumps and things like that. All I’m doing is running around beating them up, beating up against these stumps. Let me stop and concentrate. I’m so excited about catching fish.
Pre-spawn, they move up out of their deep holes and they stop on their way back towards those spawning flats. They stop at little outcroppings or isolated cover, anything that looks a little bit different. I’ll work that all the way back with a jig or a jerkbait. As the water temperature rises, I’ll start throwing more soft plastics, like a Carolina rig. There’s a big old stump . . . or a little shaky-head. The first fish to move up on those spawning flats are going to be the males. If I go up on these spawning flats, say the temperature is 55 degrees, water temperature-wise, I’m catching nothing but males; I’m going to back up into that first break line. You’ve got your spawning flat, and then you’ve got a little break sometimes, or the first deep water, which sometimes is the creek channel. I’ll back up and I’ll fish the creek channel real hard with a jig or something that’s on the bottom and hopefully be able to pick off some of those big females. Another place I look is the very last bend in the creek channel, which is where I’m at right now; very last bend in this creek channel before we get into this huge spawning flat that’s on the backside of this creek.
This is a major creek; this is the backend of a major creek, it’s not a pocket. I came back about 1½ miles, 2 miles back up in here. I love towards the end of the pre-spawn when the water temperature gets into the mid-50s I love to go back into that last bend in the creek channel before you get to the back flats, if there’s flats, or get to spawning areas. I love it because that’s where the fish will stack up. Another place I look for as I’m heading back up the creek channel is I keep my eye on my electronics. I’m looking for a deep hole, something that is quite a bit deeper than the rest of the channel, an old waterfall or something like that that just fell 2-3-4 feet deeper than the rest of the creek. That’ll be a place they stack up on.
Let me explain what has happened the last couple of days. We had a huge rain the night before last and it muddied up a lot of stuff. It really made the visibility in the water difficult. These fish . . . not only was there a cold front that caused the fish to move out, it caused them to hold tight to cover. Back of this creek has got stumps and laydowns, and all kinds of stuff just under the surface. These fish just pulled out and they got their nose up against it. A bass like to be able to see something to feel comfortable, especially when it gets muddy like this. If he can see that the corner post of a boat dock or a stick; if he can get his nose it, he feels comfortable. The muddier the water, the closer you have to get your lure to that piece of cover, be it a stick, a log, or a rock. The closer you have to get to it in order for them to bite; their strike zone gets a lot smaller. what I’m doing is I’m fan casting a spinnerbait, and I’m bouncing it off of these stumps and these trees that are laying back here in hopes that I can trigger a strike from these bass. Normally on this lake, I’d be throwing a white spinnerbait with silver blades. Because you’ve got a little bit more stain on the water I’m throwing a chartreuse spinnerbait with gold blades.
The biggest thing during the pre-spawn is location. Colder the water is, the closer I’m going to be to the main lake; the warmer the water is as it gets up towards 55 and 60, I’m going to move all the way back to the backs of the creeks. Going to try to follow those bass back to their spawning flats. Then once it gets into the spawn, that’s a whole new video. I’m going to do that in about a week or two. It’s a fun time; it’s a time that you can catch big females. A lot of times, you know what I’ll do; is if early in the morning while they’re spawning, I’m going to be looking for those pre-spawn females. I’m going to be looking for the big ones that are hanging out just off of that first drop out of the spawning flat. Then as the sun gets up and I can sight fish a little bit better, I’ll move off and see if I can’t catch a big one off of bed. I don’t always do that. I haven’t sight fished in probably 4 years; just gotten away from it for no reason at all, just the fact that I enjoy fishing for these pre-spawn females more than I do for the spawners. Little bit more of a challenge.
I hope you learned something from this. I hope I kept my mind straight on this video; catching those fish and trying to talk at the same time. Like I always say, visit BassResource.com for the answers to all of your questions about bass fishing. Have a great day.