Written by Andrew Schadegg (Follow @andrewschadeggfishing)
Spring fishing has been really fun. Bass have been aggressive, moving up into the shallows and destroying those fast moving reaction baits. Now the bass are all finished with their spawn. They’re probably done guarding their fry and they’ve pulled out of those spawning bays, back to their deeper water areas.
This is the time of year that the days get long, the water temperatures get high and the fish seem lethargic. It’s hard to find a bite. They didn’t disappear, so how do you establish a pattern that will work on these postspawn bass? The good news is, they can be caught. Let’s breakdown a few ways to find them.
Move Up When the Sun is Gone
The biggest reason that bass go deep is to search out cooler water and more oxygen. When the sun is high, bass find shade and stick really close to cover. They avoid expending energy whenever possible, which means they also don’t want to work hard for their food. When the sun is behind the clouds or during low-light periods of the day (morning and evening), they roam more and many times are more actively feeding. This just means they’re willing to go farther to chase down a meal than they would be when the sun is beating down.
When you have those windows of time when you’re in low-light conditions, cover water and work those reaction baits. Get up shallow and throw buzzbaits, walking baits, squarebills, spinnerbaits, swim jigs and chatterbaits. Anything that you can work quickly and force those more active fish to attack when the timing is right.
Slow Down When the Sun is High
Like we mentioned above, in order to avoid expending energy in the warmer months, bass slow down and don’t want to chase a meal. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be caught, it just means you have to slow down in order to catch them.
If you’re planning to stay out all day, get those baitcasters rigged up with your moving baits for the morning, but be prepared with your light line spinning rigs. Something subtle and slow. A drop shot, Ned Rig, Neko Rig, split shot or Carolina Rig are perfect for going out deep. Find those schools that are sticking tight to the bottom or suspended just above and work these finesse techniques. It might not be fast and furious, but it can be consistent fish-catching.
Find Shade When the Sun is Out
We’ve already learned that fish that go deep when it’s hot are looking for cooler temps and oxygen. Are there any that stay shallow all day long? Yup. They’re in the shade. Under docks, weed canopies, overhanging trees, cliff walls or anything that casts a shadow.
This is where your pitching, flipping and punching skills will come in handy. If you’re fishing the heavy weeds or the slop that other baits can’t get through, go heavy with some 65 pound plus braid, a 1-ounce or heavier weight and a stout flipping hook. Pair this with something like a beaver-style bait and a heavy flipping stick and you have a recipe for pulling big bass out of the heavy junk in the summer time. Fishing a shaded dock without a bunch of weeds? Go for a lighter pitching setup, with 12-15 pound test and maybe a creature-style bait. Even working a hollow-body frog over the top or through these areas can be productive as well. The key is shade. Find it and you’ll find bass.
These are just a few generic postspawn patterns to get you started. You can still catch tons of fish in the warm months, you just have to know where to look for them.