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Fishing the spawn can be productive

May 14, 2008 at 11:51 AM
Click here to read more tips, tactics and tales from Larry Dozard at his fishing-filled Web site, Larry's Fishing

How often have we heard anglers say they could not wait for this once-a-year spawn? I see that an article earlier on April 3 by Jay Yelas cleared up the controversy about catching spawning bass.

There is no doubt that pre-spawn fish are often easier to catch as they move into shallow waters for their reproduction ritual.

However, fish that are actively spawning can be very difficult to catch. This is due to the fact fish are temporarily not interested in feeding. Even after the spawn as they recover in a post-spawn move they can remain difficult to catch for a couple days. But the on the bright side spawning fish are vulnerable due to their instinct to protect and guard their nest.

For a little more on bass, the males will fan out and protect a nest even before a female comes to lay eggs. Once a female bass picks a male and goes to the nest, they no longer care about things going on around them, making these fish very difficult to catch.
Once the female deposits her eggs, the male will fertilize them and she moves back out to cover or to a break in deeper water while the male remains to guard the eggs. I have read articles that imply large females may move back into nest again to drop more eggs.
A key to making these fish easier to catch is being able to see them, known as “sight fishing.” To make this possible the water needs to be clear, you must use polarized sunglasses and have the presence of sunlight.

Much of our bass fishing relies on imitating prey or food, but during the spawn you just need to irritate the bass. We find a plastic tube or lizard works just fine and use one you can easily see in the water. This helps when you flip out past and drag into the beds at which time you can see it as the bass grabs it to move it out of the bed. I have had good success with rigging a lizard on a short drop-shot and once in the bed it can be twitched to be even more irritating. You will find that each bass reacts differently, some will quickly strike the intruder, while others react slower. Bass may not be real concerned with you but it is still best to approach quietly and stay back a ways.

As for panfish, bluegill can be very aggressive when protecting their beds. They can be caught by suspending a small jig, wax worm or part of a crawler under a bobber. Try to stay back a ways, use a small bobber and cast past beds to avoid making too much of a splash.

Crappie can also be aggressive during pre-spawn as they move into shallow bays in groups when casting jigs to likely areas can produce some nice fish. Again, even these fish are not easy to catch during the time they are actively spawning.

There are a few nice big female fish caught during this spawn cycle, but most are the smaller males. When we are catching males on or near beds, we will look for the females to most likely be out from them near the first break. With my focus on the moon and fish, I feel many females are making their move to spawn during the dark of the moon and moving off before they are seen.

As angler we are lucky that the actual spawn is short and fortunate that all species of fish do not spawn at same time.

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Yep the good ol spawner. Damn crappy tasting fish as I found out sadly. Always toss’em back!

Posted by dora the explorer on 01/13 at 12:10 AM

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