The warm up of spring always brings about one of the favorite times of the year for many fishermen, the spawn. The bass move from their wintertime haunts up to the shallows to nest. This migration brings about a big feeding frenzy for bass before they hit the nests, then once again a week or two after they are done. This period can be tough initially after the bass get done with their spawn, but once they recover, they are ready to feed.
Since not all bass spawn at the same time in a body of water, I’m usually going to start looking for the bass in the areas that look like spawning grounds. These vary in different parts of the country and in different types of lakes or rivers but share common characteristics of some type of hard bottom and calmer waters.
When the females are done on the nest they will move out of the area, but the males will stay around and guard the beds and fry. These are pretty easy fish to catch since they are naturally aggressive in the protection frame of mind. Just fish around any cover where you may see clouds of fry swimming, the males will be right under them.
For the larger females, I will first start fishing around the nearest cover or structure to the nesting area. These may be creek channels, vegetation, docks, whatever is nearby. A couple of my favorite baits for these fish are Zara Spooks and Strike King King Shad. These are great for getting those big females. Expect these bass to be suspended around any cover, not very active but you can get them to bite.
Many times the post spawn comes at the same time as the spawning time for the shad. This is can be some phenomenal fishing. Keep an eye out for shad causing commotion up near the shore to signal their spawning activity. It is now time to get out the spinnerbait. You know the shad are spawning if you are reeling in the spinnerbait and the shad are crashing into the blades of the bait. When this happens, it is on. Your topwaters and crankbaits can also be awesome now.
After I feel like the bigger females have made a move towards their summertime areas, it is time to begin fishing the points and ledges. The exception to this is when there are flooded willows or bushes in the water. This may be my favorite situation to fish, when the lake has flooded bushes, those fish will stay there all summer.
Without the bushes, I love to pick up a 10-inch worm and a Strike King Touchdown Jig and then head out to some structure. These may be main lake points, channel ledges, road beds, shell beds or whatever the lake has to offer. Not every place will have the bass stacked up, but this is the time of year when you can get on one spot and catch a boat load.
Keep in mind that there may be fish in all stages of the spawn at one time, and by fishing some of the transition areas, you may catch both prespawn and post-spawn bass in the same area. Once those bass are done on the nests, start heading toward the summer stuff, with the exceptions of flooded vegetation and dirty water. Both of those situations will keep the bass shallow. This is not a great time to catch huge weights of fish, but it is a great time to catch huge numbers of quality bass.