The post-spawn period in bass fishing is a unique one. It’s a time where we tend to see considerable behavioral changes in bass due to their draining and stressful spawn. This is however a season with favorable water temperatures as we near the warm summer. Here are some tips as well as some of the best baits to nail the post-spawn.
Identifying when the post-spawn is can be a difficult task as bass will spawn in slightly altered periods according to conditions and other various factors. There are a few key things to look out for that may indicate that it is in fact post-spawn. Here are a few signs that you’re in the post-spawn:
Bass fry present
This is a key indicator that the spawn has passed and post-spawn is here. Tiny bass in and around shallows should always be looked for.
Bass will move off their spawn beds post-spawn. During the spawn, it’s pretty straightforward to locate beds, and there’ll often be males protecting the beds, as well as females preparing for their spawn. If beds are empty, this a telling sign that the spawn might be over.
When catching bass during the pre-spawn and the spawn, there’s a good chance that they’ll be plump or fatter than normal. This is because they’re either full of eggs (females), or they’ll just full of food as they prepare for the draining spawn.
If you’re catching lean or thin bass, there’s good chance they’re finished with their spawn and they’re in a post-spawn 'funk'.
Post-Spawn Bass Fishing Can Be Tough
This unique period can be a testing time to catch bass for any bass angler. Bass enter a post-spawn ‘funk’ and tend to feed differently. The spawn is a draining period for all bass and they need a small break from their usual behavior. Here are some reasons why post-spawn bass fishing can be tough:
As mentioned, the spawn is a tiring period for both males and females. They may not feed as aggressively as usual after their spawn, making it harder to get them to eat your bait.
Fishing pressure during the spawn
Spring brings many bass anglers to their favorite bass lakes to target large females during their spawn. This is often the best time to catch the biggest bass and many are aware of this. Fishing pressure can take its toll on post-spawn bass and you might be targeting released fish - always a much tougher objective.
Tips for Post-Spawn Bass Fishing
With bass not acting themselves, it’s wise to change the way you present your baits and overall approach. The chances are the fish you’re targeting are going to be more pressured and stressed - not acting their usual selves. If this is the case, here are some tips that might increase your chances of getting a bite:
Using a smaller, less intimidating presentation will be more appealing to a pressured bass that isn’t feeding as aggressively. This is one of the key fundamentals of finesse fishing. A smaller, lighter, and slower presentation will greatly increase your chances of getting a bite from a drained and pressured bass.
Whenever the fishing feels tough and we’re struggling to get a bite, finesse is always a good option. Weightless, smaller, and more natural presentations with lighter and thinner line applications will often get the job done when a bite doesn’t seem possible. The post-spawn ‘funk’ can bring about this difficulty, and we may have to turn to finesse.
Look for cover near spawn beds
Bass may have moved off their beds, but the chances are they wouldn’t have moved too far. Bass will hug cover in the post-spawn, as they’ll feel more comfortable here. Keep an eye out for vegetation or other shore-based cover near spawn beds.
Look for fry
Although it seems silly, baby bass are a great source of food for bass. They’re well aware that the post-spawn is the best time to feed off young bass and they may follow schools of fry. Keep an eye out for fry during the post-spawn.
5 Best Baits for Post-Spawn Bass Fishing
Let’s dive into some of the most prolific baits for the post-spawn bass fishing season. There are fair variety of lures, with each being better suited for specific situations.
Some of the best post-spawn bass lures are wacky rigs, shaky heads, spooks, spinnerbaits, and weightless Texas rigs.
1. Wacky Rig
One of the best all-season techniques out there is wacky rig fishing. This application shines when fishing isolated cover and more shallow waters.
The subtle shimmy on a wacky rig senko is hard to resist even for a bass that is resting after their spawn and it’s one of the best ways to get a pressured bass to eat. Personally, if the bite gets tough, I’ll throw a 5 inch green pumpkin senko on a Gamakatsu Wicked Wacky Hook. This gives me more freedom to throw in and around vegetation thanks to the weed guard.
In terms of fishing it, throw your bait at isolated cover and let it fall on a semi-slack line. This ensures it falls in your desired zone. Often, you’ll get hit on the initial fall, but if not, let it hit the bottom and give it two twitches. Reel in and throw at your next target.
2. Shaky Head Rig
Once again, another technique that’ll work all season, but the shaky head really is another top option if you’re struggling to get those post-spawn bass to bite. It’s another finesse technique that has the subtlety and delicate action that you want in order to entice pressured bass to eat.
Another beautiful thing about the shaky head is that it’s weedless, meaning it can be thrown around various forms of cover. Similar profile and application to a Texas rig, but just more finesse. The jig head weight can also be varied for covering various depths in the system you’re fishing.
When it comes to fishing it, you should again throw the bait at isolated cover and let it sink to the bottom on a semi-slack line. Once it hits the bottom, give your rod small twitches while keeping your semi-slack line.
3. Topwater: Spook
One can get considerable success throwing a topwater during post-spawn. The reason for this is that fry will often base themselves higher in the water column, along with other baitfish that may be feeding on the surface.
One thing to remember is that post-spawn comes with favorable water temperatures. With this comes more aggressive feeding from bass as well as other species within the system. Events such as mayfly hatches occur more regularly thanks to the heat, and this draws species like Bluegill and other small baitfish to the surface.
Bass will pick up on this and look to feed nearer the surface, making it an acceptable time to throw a topwater. It's a known fact that spooks are excellent imitators of baitfish and can elicit an aggressive reaction from bass of all sizes.
Warmer conditions go hand in hand with a topwater bite, so make sure you have a casting rod ready with a spook tied on.
During a bass’s post-spawn there’ll be several other baitfish having their spawn. A great example for which species would be shad. Bass will zone in these baitfish during this period and they will form the bulk of their diet - even after their draining spawn.
Spinnerbaits are excellent imitators of shad, making them a great bait to throw during the post spawn period. They’re incredibly versatile, and can be thrown in and around all forms of cover. Spinnerbaits are simply the best baits for the shad spawn.
Shad will spawn near banks and shore-based cover which are perfect places to work a spinnerbait. One should look for riprap banks, docks, grass beds, and various other forms of shore-based cover.
In terms of color selection, white is going to be the best option. A willow blade is also generally the best option.
5. Weightless Texas Rig
The weightless rig remains one of the simplest but most prolific techniques to target bass sitting in shallower waters around isolated cover. It’s incredibly versatile when it comes to bait selection, and its more natural, lifelike action will get the most finicky bass to eat.
The Texas-rig application is so powerful because it’s weedless. This means we can fish heavier cover and not have to think about getting snagged all the time. Bass will often hug heavy cover in this period, so it's important to have this option.
You can throw virtually any soft plastic on this application and get the best action out of your bait. An incredibly easy technique to setup, but it's arguably one of the most effective when it comes to fishing shallower water.
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