By Marc Rogers
Post Spawn Bass Fishing
The cold months of winter are only a memory while the spawn is just ending. Catching bass during this transition from spawn to post-spawn is one of the most difficult times for many anglers to catch fish. The female bass have moved off to deeper water while the males are just finishing up guarding the nests.
While the males were aggressive guarding the nests and some were caught on lizards and crawfish lures the females were somewhat less aggressive in the deeper water between spawn and summer patterns.
A very good starting point for catching post-spawn bass is to find areas where the fish will travel from spawning areas to the post-spawn areas. Submerged timberlines are great areas where fish travel from spawn to post-spawn areas. Midwest Fishing Tackle Staff Member Aaron Hunter says “I watch for timber lines, ditches and roadbeds that will provide cover for the larger females while making their move from spawning areas to the post-spawning areas.” Aaron says he learned this technique from a guide while fishing the first time on Lake Fork in Texas.
In lakes void of timber the angler should concentrate on submerged ditches that offer a couple of feet depth change from the surrounding areas. I agree with Aaron because just this last year while fishing Patoka Lake in Southern Indiana I found the bass to be almost non-existent for the first day of fishing. However, on the second day I located an old creek channel that was about 8 feet deeper than the flat it ran through and was able to catch bass consistently.
The creek channel in Patoka Lake was about 1 mile long and meandered through a flat so I used marker buoys to mark the channel about every 50 yards and fished the drop of the old channel. A ¾ ounce jigs was the lure to produce the most fish this day in late May. This lure was heavy enough to allow me to stay in contact with the bottom of the lake and feel the drop in the creek channel.
Aaron says he prefers to use spinner baits in these areas so “I can slow roll it through the timber and hop it along the ditch line.” He reports he allows the spinner bait to free fall from the top of the drops into the deeper water while still maintaining feel of the lure. “You must be able to feel the blades spinning or you are not keeping the line tight enough.” Locating a good shad population in there areas is the key to success. While the females will use these areas to travel most will not stay there long if an abundance of food is not present. They are in need of food after the spawning process.
With shad present in the areas a white or chartreuse spinner bait is ideal. The white lure will be similar to the shad while the chartreuse will be a closer match of bluegill. The angler should let the blade color be decided by the water-color and light conditions.
Aaron is a regular on a few tournament circuits including the Joe Bass Team Trail and Anglers in Action where his father Alton is his partner. The two of them will target the more aggressive males while first trying to fill a limit during a tournament. After they have caught their limit they will move out to the areas Aaron calls “highways” where the females travel to deeper water after laying their eggs in the nest.
The father/son team has found a tournament can’t be won on a limit of legal male bass. The winners must have at least one good kicker fish that is usually a large female. Aaron says “I don’t feel comfortable going to the scales without at least two good females in my live well at the end of the day.”