Recouping post-spawn bass have specific tendencies when it comes to feeding. To catch these fish, you need to cater to their moods but also to their curiosity. This is where certain tactics become deadly post-spawn bass catchers. Wired2Fish's McKeon Roberts shares 10 tips for catching post-spawn bass in shoreline reeds with paddle tail swimbaits rigged on bladed swimbait hooks.
- SWIMBAIT - 13 Fishing Pleasure Shad, 5-inch OG Sour
- HOOK - VMC Heavy Duty Weighted Willow Swimbait Hook, 5/0, 1/4-ounce
- ROD - 13 Fishing Omen Black 3 Casting Rod, 7'4" Heavy
- REEL - 13 Fishing Concept Z Slide Casting Reel, 8.3:1
- LINE (braided line) - Sufix 131 G-Core Braided Line, 40-pound
- LINE (leader material) - Sufix Advance Fluorocarbon, 17-pound
- Use natural moving baits retrieved at slow speeds. Early post-spawn bass freshly off the spawn are depleted of energy, making them less appt to chase moving baits and ignore anything that doesn't appear to be an easy meal. A small to mid-sized paddle tail swimbait rigged on a subtle bladed swimbait hook has the right combination of natural and flash to turn on the "eat switch."
- Add some flash. As mentioned above, the subtle willow blade adds just the right amount of attraction for neutral bass. Extra flash and vibration also help bass find the lure in dirty water.
- Focus efforts on edges. Emergent grass edges like bulrushes and cattails are great locations that are often adjacent to spawning areas. Such areas let fish rest and provide protection from avian predators. Pockets in emergent grass also excellent ambush locations.
- Focus your casts around pockets, holes, and points. Inconsistencies in the grass make prime ambush spots and more likely to have a bass sitting in wait.
- Rod position. It's important to steer and weave the bait through lanes in the reeds but you need to avoid getting "tight-lined" by the bass. Maintain some rod angle so you can make powerful sweeping hooksets.
- Use a slow to moderate retrieve speed. Being that post-spawn bass sit tight to cover you need to hover your bait in the strike zone as long as possible. Make parallel casts and keep your retrieve slow and steady. Roberts reels just fast enough to engage the blade and paddle tail.
- Give the bass a second before setting the hook. When you get a bite, wait just a moment before setting the hook. Doing so ensures the bass have gotten that bait deep and the hook can penetrate. Some hesitation is also helpful for decerning weeds from lethargic strikes.
- Use a high-speed casting reel. Your retrieve speed is slow but once you hook a fish they'll make a run for the thickest cover available. A fast gear ratio casting reel allows for fast line pickup and taking immediate control of the fish.
- Use a heavy power rod. A heavy action rod is essential for pulling fish up and out of cover.
- Power and Stealth. Post-spawn bass will pick your presentation apart and anything that is "off" will simply be left alone. A near-invisible fluorocarbon leader helps keep the business end of your setup looking natural.
MCKEON'S BOAT SETUP
- BOAT - Lund 1650 Rebel XL Tiller, Gunmetal
- MOTOR - Mercury FourStroke 60hp Tiller
- FISH FINDERS (3) - Humminbird HELIX 10 MEGA SI+ GPS G4N
TROLLING MOTORS & ANCHORS
- Minn Kota 8' Talon Shallow Water Anchor
- Minn Kota Ultrex 80/MSI/IP Trolling Motor w/i-Pilot Link Bluetooth - 24v-80LB - 52"
- Minn Kota Traxxis 80lb Trolling Motor
- MOUNTS - T-H Marine KVD Kong Electronics Mount