While the spawn is mostly over in the Deep South, anglers in the northern two-thirds of the United States are still encountering the often finicky behavior of bass that are just about to reproduce.
There is a time period in the early prespawn that bass will chew the paint off a jerkbait or whatever you choose to put in front of them. And then, there is about a week immediately before they lock on to their spawning beds that they won’t hardly touch anything you throw at them, they act freaked out and terribly spooky.
I experienced the “pre-spawn spookiness” last week, and wouldn’t you know it, this happened as I was trying to film two TV shows for Angling Edge. I’m telling ya’, two weeks ago, the strike zone was anywhere within 10-feet of a bass’ nose. Then we go out to shoot the TV shows and the strike zone had shrunk to 10 inches.
The first thing I do when this happens is reach for spinning tackle rigged with light line and extremely light lures. Baitcasting equipment is pretty much not an option.
Spinning tackle is the answer for a lot of reasons. First, it allows you to easily cast light line such as 6-pound fluorocarbon. Secondly, I was using feather-like 1/16-ounce jighead and tube and hair jigs on these spooky fish, and you can’t cast a
feather with baitcasting equipment. I was making long cast with a 6′ 10″ Quantum Smoke rod, and a Quantum spinning reel built with a performance tuned drag system. Because when you hook a 4-pound bass on 6-pound line, if your drag heats up and sticks, your line will break.
I was dropping my lures right in front of their nose with as little splash as possible. You’re aiming to keep everything as stealth as possible. I mean if you lift the rod to cast and throw a shadow the wrong direction, these crazy pre-spawners won’t give you the time of day.
The good news is my extremely subtle approach worked. They ate my tubes and finesse jigs. We caught bass up to 4 3/4 pounds and made what I think is going to be a very informative TV show.
The same can work for you no matter how freaky these pre-spawners are acting. If you see bass cruising shallow and they dart away from the splash of more standard-sized lures thrown at them with baitcasting equipment, then back off. Take a suppressed approach. For me that starts with spinning rods and reels.