The Ultimate Guide To Catching Spawning Bass – The Reel Shot

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The Ultimate Guide To Catching Spawning Bass

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Pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn can be some of the best windows to capitalize on the hottest bass bites of the year. This can be especially true for northern anglers who have been anxiously awaiting the ice to leave their favorite lakes and water temperatures to rise. Deploy these tactics on what to look for, what baits to use and how to use those baits for your greatest chances of success during bass spawning phases!

First and foremost it’s important to understand where bass are going to spawn. Depending on your body of water, there actually might be several spawning areas relying on multiple conditions. Any rivers or tributaries that lead into a main body of water are usually where the first spawn takes place. These spawning patterns then make their way to the creeks, backwaters and eventually out into the main lake. After you have exhausted your efforts on the skinny pieces of water found in the rivers, creeks and backwaters, its time to think more clearly…literally.

Clear Water, Full Hearts, Can’t Loose?

Finding the clearest parts of any main lake is a great tactic to finding bass in the spawning stages. Clear water makes sight fishing more manageable so you don’t have to rely quite so much on your electronics. For this, make sure the sun is at your back. This not only helps you see, but to block the fish’s line of sight to you. Having a quality pair of polarized sunglasses is a must to pick-out subtleties such as a bass’s tail, fin, or silhouette.
A downfall to clear water is that it usually takes the longest to warm up and attract the fish. Pay close attention to the weather patterns in your area - especially the wind. A steady south wind can actually warm up the north side of the lake if it is exposed to it faster then the south side of the lake. Shallower water is an obvious starting place for warmer water and spawning fish, however, it’s important to remember big fish sometime feel the safest in deep water. Finding shallow water near a deep drop off might be one of the best places to focus on for not only quantity, but quality as well!

Topwater

When fishing clear, shallow water, top-water baits are a great go-to, especially if you are fishing a pressured lake filled with anglers flinging cranks all day. Not only do these topwater baits help break the surface, but they also are very noticeable to shallow water bass that are quick to eradicate any threats in their area. Top water baits such as the:

Lucky Craft Sammy 100

The Lucky Craft Sammy 100 features a special weighted tail that makes it's extremely easy to "walk the dog" with. Its slim, tapered design allows for bombing casts and the Sammy 100 also features an internal rattle! A few quick, short rod twitches followed by pausing is a dynamite technique when fishing near spawn beds in late April and early May!

Jackall Binksy

The Jackall Binksy might have a funny name, but there is nothing funny about how this thing catches fish. With a cupped mouth it spits water and vibrates along the surface drawing fishing in to investigate. If that wasn't enough, Jackall went one step further and added a rear blade and prop for more vibration and extra flash!

Storm Chug Bug

The cupped mouth of the Chug Bug creates a “spitting and popping” noise and when worked correctly. With quick 12” pulls and the proper cadence, the Chug Bug mimics feeding shad perfectly!

River2Sea Lane Changer

This topwater prop bait should only be used when the bite slows down and you are looking for one last resort. The slender design of the bait makes it easy to deploy unnoticed. Cast it past your main target and work it slowly with short bursts to spin the props.

Finesse

The finesse approach is a great one to target spawning bass. Due to water clarity and conditions, you are able sneak finesse baits close, or right into spawning beds giving bass no choice but to eat! For these types of approaches, light spinning gear, subtle presentations and natural colors like watermelon and green pumpkin are best!

Lake Fork Ring Fry

The Lake Fork Ring Fry provides the subtle, yet irresistible action of a soft-stick bait. The large ribs helps this bait produce a breathing action on the fall and requires minimal rod movement to be effective. Rig it wacky, neko, Texas or even weedless when working around bass beds!

Doomsday Laggin Dragon

The Laggin Dragon looks amazing from the moment it hits the water. This bait is great to pair with a light shaky head (1/32oz –1/8oz) to work near spawning areas. The Laggin Dragon moves side to side almost effortlessly so work it slow and be patient! 

Yamamoto Senko

The Yamamoto Senko is perhaps the most well known and effective soft-stick bait on the market, and for good reason. Available in just about any color you can think of, the Senko has fooled more bass into biting then most can count. The precise formulation of plastic used to make a Yamamoto Senko results in a perfect fall rate and amazing finesses action as it works its way through weeds and brush or along rocky or soft lake bottoms!

Craws

Fishing a craw during the spawning season deserves to be in a technique category all of its own. Perhaps one of the most popular and effective techniques, crawfish are found in the vast majority of lakes and are known to be natural predators of bass spawn. You can get aggressive with craws and work them right next to or even on top of beds for what might be a guaranteed bite. A quality craw bait will feature large, prominent claws that move naturally with rod twitches and even sit upright in the attack position.

Keitech Crazy Flapper

Keitech put itself on the map with it Swing Fat Impact, but it also makes one of the best craw baits on the market. The Crazy Flapper is constructed from super-soft plastic and is filled with appendages that move naturally in the water.

Yum Craw Bug

The Yum CrawBug is a time-test craw bait and comes in a wide array of fish-catching colors. Loaded with Yum scent and free flowing appendages, the Crawbug is a smaller profile bait that big bass attack without a second thought!

Biwaa Armored Craw

The Biwaa Armored Craw is a newcomer to the soft-craw market, but it’s quickly earning merit. Thanks to the incredibly detailed body moldings, larger claws and aerodynamic design, the Biwaa Armored Craw is deadly bass bait. It’s also snag resistant and provides a great base for rigging so you can fish this bait in tight spaces with maximum effectiveness. 

Swim Jigs

A swim jig is also a great option during the bass spawning seasons. Typically, spawn beds are found in shallow, weedy areas where smaller panfish such as bluegills and perch love to spend most of their time. Finding the right swim jig to replicate these native fish drives protective bass wild! 

Work your swim jig at a slow and steady retrieve alongside, or right over the top of beds to trigger a reaction strike. Swim jigs are also a great option for under docks and around fallen brush and other ambush locations near spawning areas!

D&L Tackle Advantage Jig

The D&L Tackle Advantage Jig is a go-to for many anglers due to its knack for removing itself from tricky situations. Designed specifically to fish heavy cover, the Advantage Jig features a premium weed guard and streamlined head with recessed eye to move through weeds naturally. A great option for early spring beds, the Advantage Jig should always be tied on and ready to go!

Strike King Tour Grade Skipping Jig

The Strike King Tour Grade Skipping Jig is extremely versatile thanks to the many great features Strike King has so kindly incorporated. First and foremost, the unique shape of its head allows for it to be "skipped" under docks and low hanging cover so you can get your bait where the fish are. It features just the right shape to give the angler complete control casting it, as well as retrieving it for a natural presentation. Not to mention the Strike King TG Skipping Jig also sports a premium skirt and stout weed guard. No matter where the bass are spawning on your lake or river, the Strike King Tour Grade Skipping Jig will get them to bite! 

War Eagle Heavy Finesse Jig

The War Eagle Heavy Finesse Jigs are truly unique providing the subtlties of a finesse jig with the beef and strength of a heavy cover jig. Use this jig to work through beds, around brush and even over gravel bottoms to drive spawning bass wild! Best of all, they come two per pack!

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