Find fish in a different phase

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This is kind of saying the same thing in a different way, but I want to expound on the idea a bit more because there’s a lot more to it than what was contained in that one tournament experience. To find fish in a different phase, you want to look for different water.

If the area has gotten a lot of rain throughout the spring, run way up a river or creek where the cold and muddy water will have delayed the bass spawn a bit and you can focus on flipping cover blindly for spawners or maybe even catch a few fish that are still prespawn, even though the bass spawn is wrapping up down the lake and the shad spawn is in full swing.

Or, if the shad spawn is happening up a river or creek like this, you can then usually run down the lake after the morning bite and catch fish that are already starting to get into the post spawn, offshore mood. Target those first few fish in the shallow brush with drop shots, shakey heads and crankbaits.

The bluegill spawn also isn’t usually far behind the shad spawn, so you may be able to fish the shad spawn early up a river in colder water and then run down the lake where the water is 7 or 8 degrees warmer and the bluegills are already starting to spawn in pockets, where you can target bass with a big topwater all day.

Though I almost never recommend running away from fish to find fish, the shad spawn is certainly the biggest exception to that rule. Once that bite dies in the morning, it’s almost completely pointless in my experience and from talking to other anglers who have even more experience in this realm. You’re better off to run away. Try to find the last few bass spawning. Pick up a buzzbait and cover water. Start exploring the offshore spots. It’s a funky and tough time of the year, so you’re probably still not going to get many bites. But not many is still better than not any and camping where the shad spawn was after it dies down is like fishing for ghosts.