Post-spawning bass are hungry and ready to replenish their energy reserves. Oftentimes it is during this period that the water starts to warm up which helps to increase their metabolism and energy levels. It is also a period where these fish are spent from the spawn and is responsible for the wide variability seen in fish behavior in those few weeks following the main portion of the spawn.
It is for those reasons that many fishermen feel that post spawn bass fishing to be very difficult.
In this article, we will take a look at several post spawn bass fishing tips and strategies that we like to employ in the during this period to catch more fish.
When is Post-Spawn Season?
Before offering some tips on fishing for bass during post-spawn it is important to discuss when exactly is post spawn. The answer: it varies.
There is no clear date when spawning season begins and when it ends. We can estimate it pretty accurately with previous years information, monitoring the water temperature, and spotting bedding bass. You can expect spawning to occur once the water temperatures reach around the 55 degrees mark.
Spawning usually lasts a little over a week to two weeks time, and it is not uniform throughout the lake, especially larger reservoirs. This leads to a lot of variability in fish behavior and can cause a lot of frustration for bass anglers.
There is no set timetable for the post-spawn period, but it lasts several weeks after the spawning period has ended and usually runs into May until fish recover and water temperatures begin to rise to summer levels.
7 Post-Spawn Bass Fishing Tips
Locate the Spawning Areas. This is an especially important aspect of being successful soon after the spawning period. Bass will not spawn all at the same time, and even after they come off of the bed, the fish tend to stick around that general area for a few days to several weeks. Spotting spawning areas or having places where bass have spawned in the past are great starting places, especially early in the season and you can be confident there will still be bass hanging around these areas and looking for food. ( A good pair of polarized fishing sunglasses can make all the difference in finding beds)
Finding the spawning areas also set you up well for the next several tips. When bass, especially females leave the nest, they typically seek deeper waters, but their home range is not very large, and they will be nearby.
Look for cover. Bass coming right off of the beds typically do not hang out in open water, and they will actively seek cover. This could be in the form of weed beds, sunken logs, boulders, and even docks. A depth finder is extremely helpful in this scenario, but you can also use a deep running and weedless setup such as a Carolina rig to actively search for bottom structures.
When you find them, slow down to a crawl and pull that plastic through slowly with some erratic movements, which the Carolina rig is good for. Of course, there are other baits and techniques that work well, just be sure to find some cover.
While female bass tend to move to deeper water immediately after the spawning period, don’t try and go too deep. The fish will hardly ever be deeper than 12 feet, and generally, they can be found around rocky points and ledges coming out into the lake. If you know there is some cover in these areas they are prime spots for post-spawn bass.
Locate baitfish. It’s not just the bass that are spawning at this time. Other baitfish such as shad are also going through this phase as well. With many baitfish congregated in one place it is sure to bring in the big predators.
Both shad and bluegill spawning and their eventual fry are perfect spots for heavy feeding and aggressive bass. If you can find these areas, you have a good chance of running into some excellent post spawn feeding.
Plastic swimbaits and spinnerbaits are excellent lure options in these scenarios and are most effective when in colors matching the baitfish. This includes silvers, chartreuse, blue, and watermelon colored baits.
Pay Attention To The Details. The best anglers take detailed notes on where they got bites, what they got bites on and the overall presentation of their lures. This is important because at times, post-spawn bass are tough to get a handle on exactly what they are doing. As you will see in our next two tips, there are a lot of lures and a lot of fishing techniques that can work for post spawn bass and narrowing down the options for specific areas will turn into more time landing fish and less time searching.
Be Erratic. This is another great technique immediately after the brunt of the spawning is over and works well throughout the rest of summer as well. Bass coming off of the bed are hungry, but they are still pretty spent energy wise from spawning. Baits that provide a lot of motion just as jerkbaits, crankbaits, topwater poppers, tubes and Carolina rigs can all elicit strikes from these bass.
This erratic movement is often enough to induce strikes from fish that might not be heavily feeding at the moment, and it’s also more than enough to bring in actively feeding fish in the area.
Vary Your Retrieval Speed. Not only is being erratic important, but your retrieval speed can also make a big difference. You might be fishing with the best post spawn bass fishing lure, but if you use the incorrect retrieval speed you won’t catch fish.
When working an area be sure to try out several different retrieval speeds when you find bedding areas and structures in deeper water. Sometimes it might take slowing down your retrieval to a crawl for bass just coming off the bed while a couple of channels away more aggressive feeding bass are keying in on fast-moving spinnerbait.
Be Flexible, Be Adaptable. Post-spawn bass fishing can be finicky. The bass can range from savage at one moment to extremely docile and complacent in the next hour.
It’s important as an angler to be ready to switch up lures and techniques throughout the day. If you land one ripping a spinnerbait along a weed bed, don’t expect that to be the ticket all day. Your next three might be finessing a jig across the bottom of the lake of a point. It can be frustrating at times, but it is also rewarding when you can key in on what they are looking for at specific areas. Some fish might just be coming off the bed while others might have already had a week or more to recover.
All of this leads to the diversity in fish behavior and is why it’s important that you show up on the water with a pretty diverse selection of lures, more so than other periods of the year where bass behavior is a little more predictable.
The post-spawn season can be frustrating for inexperienced and experienced anglers alike. It can also be an opportunity to put your fishing skills to the test and end up as an extremely rewarding experience.
We hope that this article has provided you with a better idea of post-spawn bass behavior and introduced some strategies and techniques that will increase your success on the water this spring and into summer.
What do you think about bass fishing during post spawn? Feel free to share your post spawn bass fishing tips in the comments below.