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Recognizing and understanding post
spawn staging patters is an important element to a successful
Spring/Summer fishing trip. During
post spawn anglers need to realize they are actually targeting two
groups of bass that are in very different staging patterns.
Just like everything else, bass are hardwired to perform
certain jobs or functions before, during, and after the spawn.
Knowing what these “jobs” are and identifying them allows
anglers to predict where the bass will be during this period.
Besides the obvious, male bass play
a key role during the spawning process. The male creates the spawning
bed, courts the female, and will stay with the eggs until they hatch.
As the fry hatch out, and for a few weeks following, the male
stays close to protect the young from predators.
Spotting the fry is fairly easy.
The fry will typically form large pods and resemble tiny
tadpoles swimming in the water. Fry
also tend to stay very close to their hatching area.
As the fry continue to grow they will start migrating toward
the main lake. At this
point the male bass will start to migrate toward deeper water as well
and “stage-up” along the way.
Taking the above information into
consideration, it’s understandable why male bass are predictably in
shallow water post spawn. They
are simply protecting their young.
This is good news to the bass angler because it makes them
extremely aggressive by nature and easy to catch.
On the flip side female bass are
programmed differently. They lay their eggs, hang around the bed for a
couple of days, and then they’ll start to migrate toward deeper
water. For example, if an angler finds a spawning area in the back of
a cove, and depending on how long ago the spawn took place, usually
the female will stage-up in certain areas on her way out.
In this situation anglers need to target secondary points
and/or docks that are positioned toward the main lake. These types of
habitat serve as a place for female bass to rest-up after the spawn.
They’ll feed heavily to build energy before moving out into
deeper water in search of their summer homes and patterns.
The males will eventually move into
deeper water as well, just not as quickly as the females. Due to their
role as protector to the newly hatched, the males are about two weeks
behind the females. Their
migration pattern to the main lake is, of course, similar to the
females. Anglers need to target secondary points, lay downs, docks and
other structure that the males will use as they rest-up and feed on
their way out to their summer homes.
Even though it’s the same time of
year, different methods are needed to catch bass in their different
staging patterns. Anglers
wanting to target post spawn males in the back of coves should try
using a variety of baits in colors that closely resemble a predator
fish. I’ve found using
baits that resemble a bluegill work great. Bluegills are major fry
predators and male bass are instinctually aggressive toward these
fish. As a rule of thumb I like to use a Wave Worms Tiki-Stick or a
Mr. Blitz spinnerbait in shades of green and brown.
I normally use these lures on a Kistler 7ft Heavy Helium rod
with 15lb Maxima Fluorocarbon line.
targeting staging females anglers need to use baits that stay high in
the water column and move fairly slowly. I suggest the same Wave Worms
Tiki-Stick fished weightless, color of the bait will depend on water
clarity. I also prefer a
3/8oz green, or black and blue, Mr. Blitz Grass jig trailed with a
Wave Worm Tiki-CrawDude in matching colors.
I prefer to cast the jig rather than pitch it. I use a Kistler
7ft 6in. Helium Extra Heavy rod with 15lb Maxima Ultragreen line.
Remember, target the structure because females usually hang
suspend around these areas.
early morning or late evening I’ve also had success with large top
water baits such as a Spook or a Pop-R.
Understanding bass instincts and
how they behave and pattern post spawn is crucial to knowing how and
where to catch them. Always
remember that the males will stay in the bedding areas until the eggs
hatch…and beyond. The
females will almost immediately move off the beds and stage-up on
their way toward deeper water. When
the fry are big enough to survive on their own, the males will follow
the same pattern and route toward the main lake as the females did a
few weeks earlier.
After a little practice anglers will be able to identify what
stage the bass are in and then dial-in on where the fish are patterned
and select the appropriate baits and retrieval methods. Good luck!
A special “Thanks” to all of my
sponsors: Jasper Engines and Transmissions, Yamaha Motors, Ranger
Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Svanda GM Motor Group, Wave Ind., Maxima
Line, Kistler Rods, Minn Kota, Plano, Mr. Blitz and Nameoki Village
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