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Spring Bass Spawn Fishing Tips

Spring Bass Spawn Fishing Tips

22nd Mar 2023

It’s just about that time of year that you need to dust off the caster and break out the spring fishing tackle.

For most anglers (except the die-hard ice anglers) the spring season is the first opportunity in the year to put a bend in the rod.

And spring spawn time offers some of the hottest fishing all year long. In most areas of the country, once the water starts to get between 55℉ and 65℉, bass start to move shallow, make beds, and spawn.

And a spawning largemouth has a fury like no other. This is one of the few times of year in which power fishing - fishing to elicit a reaction strike - rather than finesse fishing, is more effective.

During the spawn, bass will aggressively attack anything they perceive as a threat, which makes them relatively easy targets for most fishermen.

Put these tips into practice this spring.

Go Shallow; Find the Beds

During the spawn time, the majority of bass are shallow, along the shoreline, in beds they’ve fanned out to raise their spawn. You can see these beds (they’re called “redds”) in shallow water by scanning with polarized glasses - they look like a bunch of craters on the lakebed near the shore.

Don’t get too close when casting, as you can scare the fish off, but once you find them, cast your baits to them. Pretty much any presentation will work here, as the bass will instinctively react with aggression when you violate the sanctity of their nests.

Baits that work well fishing over beds include:

  • Weightless worms
  • Texas and Carolina rigged worms
  • Soft plastic lizards
  • Swimbaits
  • Jigs tipped with soft plastics
  • Suspending plugs
  • Sinking plugs, like Rat-L-Traps
  • Topwater plugs and wakebaits
  • Spinnerbaits and spoons

Almost any presentation will work to trigger an aggressive strike from a bedding bass.

Trolling the shallows can also be a highly effective technique for spawning bass as trolling allows you to cover a large area quickly and effectively. Trolling can also help you find beds in slightly deeper water.

For this, you’ll need a rod holder like a Scotty fishing rod holder. Troll either a plug, a swimbait, or a spoon along the shoreline, and when you get a strike, quit trolling and jig or cast in that area. If there are bass bedded there, you’ll probably catch more than one of them.

Find the Cover

While the vast majority of spawn anglers target the shoreline hoping to score reaction strikes from aggressive, bedded bass, you shouldn’t neglect cover.

In fact, targeting cover is a surefire technique because fish will be more heavily pressured on their beds.

Look for:

  • Downed or partially submerged trees
  • Submerged stumps
  • Docks
  • Pilings
  • Rock piles
  • Weed beds
  • Clusters of grass
  • Rocky drop-offs
  • Wrecks

All of these types of structure will hold bass during the spawn time and they might even be schooled up, giving you a chance to score more than one.

The same baits mentioned in the last section can be thrown at spawn-time bass hunkered down around structure and can be fished aggressively, too.

Be Aggressive, but Don’t Be Afraid to Pause

As mentioned, spawn-time bass are usually extremely aggressive. Finesse presentations aren’t necessary here, for the most part.

You can rip and burn diving plugs, crankbaits, and Rat-L-Trap style lures, and fish soft swimbaits aggressively past structure. This is one of the few times of year where an aggressive presentation may actually elicit strikes.

With that said, there are a few scenarios in which you will still want to pause when fishing in the spring.

If fishing jigs, let them pause on the bottom between hops, instead of burning them back to the boat. That up-and-down presentation makes bass wild.

You’ll also want to pause weightless or lightly weighted soft plastics, enabling them to dart and sink, as that erratic movement is also enticing to bass.

Finally, if fishing neutral buoyancy or floating plugs, give them a good pause every now and then, allowing them to sit idle or rise through the water column. This motion is also very attractive to bass and can draw a strike.

Break Out the Topwater

                 Scotty fishing rod holder

Spawn-time is one of the best times of year to target warmwater fish, specifically bass, with topwater baits.

Poppers, wakebaits, and floating stickbaits are all highly effectively when fished in the shallows over beds.

Cast, wait a few seconds to begin the retrieve, then twitch and pause. Be patient on the pause. If you can outwait the bass, you’ll usually do well.

Another good thing about this technique is that any other fish in the area may take a swipe at your topwater bait. In early spring, bluegill and crappies are suckers for topwater, as are pickerel and even pike.

Use Big Plastics

During the spawn, one of the most effective techniques you can use is to throw big soft plastics. Weightless worms, plastic lizards, big swimbaits, and huge creature baits all perform well.

The reason for this is presumably that bass think anything that gets near their beds is a potential threat and they will instinctively try to kill it.

So, the bigger the threat, the more aggressive the reaction. Even big 8” and 10” soft plastics are great choices at this time of year.

Flash ‘Em

Reflective baits, such as spinnerbaits, spoons, and even plugs with silver and gold finishes, are excellent options in the early spring when bass are spawning.

Because the majority of strikes on shiny lures are reaction strikes, spawn time is one of the best times of year to fish them.

Fish spoons and spinnerbaits just as you would plugs or plastics. Cast them up against the shoreline where you find bass beds, and fish them back to the boat. Steady retrieves, stop-and-go cadence, twitches, and yo-yo techniques all work with metals.

                  Scotty fishing rod holder

Gear You’ll Want to Have in the Boat

Before leaving the dock make sure you have a few of these essentials.

  • A landing net

If you’re spawn fishing with a buddy, you’re likely to both get hookups at the same time. In fact, if you’re fishing an Alabama rig or a plug with multiple trebles, you could even hook a double header. Having a landing net will help diminish the risk of losing one of them.

  • Pliers

You’ll need pliers for the same reason. If you’re practicing catch and release (a requirement in many areas at spawn time) you’ll want to get fish back in the water as soon as possible, and sometimes the aggressive strikes result in pretty gnarly hookups. Pliers are a must, and they can also be used to straight bent trebles.

  • A hook hone

Catch enough fish in one day (and during the spawn, that’s likely) and your hooks will start to wear out on you. Bring along a hone or keep a pocket sharpening stone on hand.

  • A Scotty fishing rod holder

Having a rod holder like a Scotty fishing rod holder will keep your rod off the deck when you need to free your hands, which will help keep you from stepping on it and breaking it. Also, a rod holder is a must if you plan to troll along the shoreline or troll to find schooled up fish.

These are pretty much all the basic techniques and tips you’ll need to boat fish during the spring spawn. The only missing ingredient now is the water. Get out there and be safe.