By F. David Alberson
Castaic Pro Staff share their inside tips, tricks, and advice.
The spawn cycle is one of the first things that Bass fishermen talk about whenever they share information. Some people will say that it begins either with a specified water temperature like 57 or more degrees. Others may point out the moon cycle or bring up the weather or any number of other things. They are all valid points, and one thing is for sure, the spawn happens. Understanding the cycle and what phase it is in can make the difference between getting skunked or catching a lot of fish. In this article, I want to give you a chance to catch more fish during the post-spawn.
As the spring season goes along, you can start to discern that the spawn is over when the larger females are no longer the bulk of fish being seen and caught. Instead, the males begin to show up more, and they are slimmer and a bit smaller. Another indicator will be warmer days over 78 degrees and warmer nights staying above 60 degrees. It also becomes common to see more fish caught with worn lower fins that in some cases are nearly half gone, due to the effort expended preparing beds prior to spawn.
During this time, the smaller male bass are guarding their broods from attacking Bluegill and Perch schools, and even other hungry Bass. They will be aggressive and lose weight during this time, so you can put more pounds in the boat by imitating these attackers using a realistic Castaic Baby Jerky J 3.5″ swimbait on a Kitana Hooks 1/4oz Stagger Jig Head with 8lb to 12lb fluorocarbon on some light tackle. This is a good way to catch numbers while moving up and down creek banks and on bedding flats, or while sight fishing.
Alternatively, you can use a Castaic Finesse CBT3 stickbait on a Kitana Hooks Ned Rig for those days when they are even more picky. Keeping these ready to go will help you definitely get more bites during the post-spawn, which can be tough.
For those deeper beds which are sometimes found in clearer water, rig your swimbait on a heavier 1/2oz Stagger Jig Head, then work it back towards you, varying your retrieve from slow to fast. If the spawn has been over for a few weeks, and especially in muddy water, opt for a larger swimbait on heavier tackle such as the Super Jerky J, which comes in an 8.25″ size that I suggest you pair with the 1/2oz or 3/4oz.
You still want to keep your fall rate under control when you are focusing on beds, so don’t oversize your weight. The speed of the bait’s descent is important and should be fairly slow because you want to keep the bait realistic and in a threatening posture as long as possible. This will simulate Bluegill and Perch who are trying to eat Bass fry, and draw out more aggression from the male Bass protecting them. Post spawn discussions are mainly about males, but you can catch the big females too! They can tend to hang around and stay high in the water column nearby their beds, gravitating to cover, so make sure you bring that bait past those spots too.
The point is, you want to appear like a threat to the fry. You will attract Bass, but they are probably trying to kill or injure your bait. Use this to your advantage and you’ll have a great fishing trip. With variations in the times that fish spawn during the year, there will be a time period where you will still find some females spawning. These are the “kickers” that you need to win bets, cash in on tournaments, and make your friends jealous! Get out there, make sure you have a plan, rig your tackle accordingly, and have fun, but most of all, Be Safe!