Post Spawn Blues
You've heard this phrase many times right as the spawn is finishing up and the period we call post spawn is starting. But why, what makes this time of year notoriously tough? We'll answer that shortly and also why I think by looking for key factors and being open minded it's not as tough as you think.
For me personally I love the post spawn, it's probably my favorite time of the year to fish. I can look back at a lot of my tournament success and see several of my highest finishes where during this time period. I think for me that's because it fits me style of fishing and I'm really able to allow my strengths to flow this time of year.
One of my challenges in fishing is being to versitile, meaning I'm not super strong at any one thing. But, I do a lot of things well and if I have to do a 180 which often happens I am confortable with that. Power jerkbaits, frogs, swimjigs, power fluke style baits, flipping heavy jigs deep, wacky worms etc. I think though the common denomitor is what's not common, I'm all over the board. But what ties these all together is location, it's all about being around fish.
Locating fish can seem really tough this time of year for two reasons; one you still have fish in 3 stages of spawn so some are just off the bank moving up, some are on the bank or high hard spots spawning and some are on the bank or slightly off that are done spawning. Two you have a pretty big range of moods going on. One group of fish is preparing to spawn but their bite window is small. One group is in the midst of spawning so it becaomes more about defending the bed than eating. And the last group is so worn out from spawning they can at times be lethargic, a good example of that time of fish is pictured with this blog. Plus the majority of males are preoccupied with defending their new babies from predators. But the key to being in the right location is to get on those highways, those lanes that fish use to move from where they live, to where they spawn and back.
All of my fishing decisions regarding locations revolve around three things, reproduction, food and comfort. The first thing I look for on a body of water is where do fish spawn. The second thing is where do I believe fish will be the bulk of the year that gives them comfort or as we would call shelter; where they live. And lastly where will they eat or how will they get that food. So in essence I will start where I think they've spawned or are spawning, look for cover options around that and target those areas back to where I belive they would live the majority of the year.
On some lakes, like my home lake of Lake Fork in Texas, bass tend to not stick around very long. The majority high tail it back to their summer ledges, humps and points quick. But the norm throughout the country is to have a decent window in which you are looking for these areas that combine cover with structure relatively shallow and then look for food, either the shad spawn, bream spawn or just an abundance of minnows in a location. I never discount areas where I see a lot of minnows around cover as there will always be some type of fishing eating them and in turn the bass will eat those fish. Also and very important, I am going to look for hard cover that bass fry will congregate around knowing the male will be close by watching and guarding them. This time of year much you need to watch for birds. I don't necessarily mean a group of gulls flying above the water or dive bombing. I'm talking one blue herron standing on the bank. If he's there, bait is there and right now odds are bass are there.
Once you've identified areas you plan to fish, bait selection becomes the hard part and here's my suggestion; fish what you like to fish. I love to throw a topwater and this time of the year you can throw them all day rain or shine and catch fish. I love to crank and the beauty of that is I can fish a bait that will cover the water column I feel the fish are using. But Texas rigs and carolina rigs work well too, the key is fish those high percentage spots thoroughly but quickly and you will run into an area where everything is coming together, bass, bait and cover. Use the conditions to guide your selection. If it's windy and sunny, I'm picking up a spinnerbait or a jerkbait. Cloudy and rainy I will get ultra shallow with a topwater or go the opposite and drag something deeper. If it's sunny and still I will use a weightless set up and fish shade zones. Be free to experiment and expect to change as conditions change pretty quick during this time.
Hey, please comment below or drop me a comment in my email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or suggestions. I would love to hear from you! You can even reach me via text at 903-975-4909.