Across much of the country, the bass are coming off the beds and looking for something to eat. Many of them will make their way offshore in the coming weeks but during the immediate post-spawn period, you’ll often see fish stay shallow a few more weeks before making that big push offshore towards cooler and deeper water.
During this time frame, you’ll have a good opportunity to catch big post-spawn bass in shallow water. While there are dozens of baits you could use to do this, we’re going to talk today about a few in particular that will give you a good variety of ways to catch them. So let’s get to it.
A glide bait is perhaps one of the most exciting baits to throw during the immediate post spawn. This is one of the best times of year to get several bites on a glide bait but these baits are just fun to throw regardless of whether you get a bunch of bites on them or not, because you’re able to interact with the bait as you fish it.
Fishing this bait just beneath the surface, you’re able to watch a glide bait as you generate different actions with twitches of the rod tip and pauses in the reeling cadence. This is a great bait to use around shallow cover like docks, brush, stumps and grass lines where big post-spawn bass set up shop to ambush prey. These fish are typically worn out from the spawn and looking to grab a big meal with as little effort as possible, which makes a glide bait the perfect menu item as it lumbers along just overhead.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the glide bait, you’ll find the wacky rig. But both are great baits this time of year. The glide bait brings a lot of drawing power to the table, able to draw the attention of a fish from a good distance away. But a wacky rig is a much more finesse and target-specific tool. Still though, it’s capable of catching big ones.
You’ll want to use a wacky rig in a lot of the same places as you will a glide bait. But with a wacky rig, you’re able to get under docks, bushes and even further back into cover to draw strikes where other baits can’t reach. This is also a great tool when fish are guarding fry during the immediate post spawn.
As the bass fry hatch out, they’ll school up and hang around a lot of the aforementioned cover. Male bass will often hang around to guard the fry from the female bass and other predators. Letting a wacky rig fall slowly through the middle of a ball of fry is a great way to draw a strike from a fry-guarding bass or a big female that’s still hanging around looking for an opportunity to make a swipe through the ball of fry.
Hollow body frog
A hollow body frog is another great bait for the immediate post spawn, giving you a good mix of power fishing and finesse. Like a glide bait, a hollow body frog has a lot of drawing power. But also like a wacky rig, it can be skipped back into places where a lot of other baits can’t go and it can be worked really subtly if the fish are behaving a little finicky that day.
A hollow body frog gives you a good bait that you can cover a little more water with as well. If you’re not careful though, you can fish it too fast, so be wary of that. But it’s definitely easier to cover more water effectively with a frog than it is with a wacky rig or even a glide bait really. And it’s especially effective on fisheries with lots of emergent vegetation like water willow, hydrilla and lily pads.
Another great bait for the immediate post spawn, a buzzbait is perhaps the best bait out there to cover shallow water during this time frame. The shad spawn is a big part of the period right after bass spawn and a buzzbait is a great lure to use to both find and capitalize on a shad spawn. By covering lots of water early in the morning with a buzzbait, you can often stumble onto a shad spawn and then load the boat quickly with a buzzbait.
But above and beyond the shad spawn, a buzzbait is just a great bait to cover water with, which suits it well for the post spawn as fish begin to wolf pack along the shoreline. After they come off bed, some bass will group up in small schools called wolf packs and roam the shallow shorelines in search of bream, bluegill and other prey. These schools will often be few and far between though, so having a bait you can cover a lot of water with is key and that’s where the buzzbait fits perfectly into the lineup.
With these four baits on deck, you’re ready to head out and search the shallows for big post-spawn bass. These bass are looking to feed up as they recover from the spawn and a glide bait, wacky rig, hollow body frog and buzzbait all work exceptionally well during this time period.
Remember, cover is key for some of these bass that choose to sit still and wait out a passing meal and all these baits can work well in those situations. But don’t be afraid to put the trolling motor on high either and cover water with a buzzbait, looking for shad spawns early and wolf-packing bass during the day. There are still a lot of big bass shallow for a few weeks after the spawn and one of these four baits will give you a good shot at catching a few.