Post Spawn Bass Fishing: Tips and Tactics for Success

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Post spawn bass fishing feature image

There’s nothing more exciting than tossing a lure into the water and being able to catch a massive post-spawn bass. After the spawning season, there are a few ways you can catch these fish, and it will depend on your location, the time of year, and water temperatures.

Understanding Post Spawn Bass Patterns

Bass use up a lot of energy during the spawning season. Both male and female fish are extremely active, their aggression levels go up, and they spend a lot of time defending their nest from predators or other bass. 

Once the eggs are laid and the fry hatch out, the male will remain in the area defending his nest and offspring for a short time, while the females will leave the area shortly after laying her eggs to rest and recover in deep water.

After the actual spawning behavior is over, post spawn bass will still need to eat. Post-spawn bass fishing can get you some quick and strong bites, and allow you to catch some large females that have just released their eggs. Especially if you are fishing in deep water during the post spawn period.

Where to Find Bass Post Spawning

Both male and female bass will remain near the nesting grounds for a short time after spawning. The females will be the first to leave the shallow water of the spawning areas after the eggs have been laid and will usually look for deeper water, or heavily covered areas around docks or piers to rest and recover from the process.

Males will remain in and around the nesting grounds for a week or two until the fry are actively feeding on their own. If you are searching for males specifically in the post spawn period, you can find them in the nesting areas from active spawning, or nearby in brush piles, ditches near flats, and ledges where they will be feeding.

Why Bass Stay Shallow During the Post Spawn Period

Bass with frog lure in its mouth
Bass will hit surface lures in post spawn periods

Large female bass can lay thousands of eggs in a single spawning season. This act can take a lot of energy out of the female and be a very tiring and stressful time for her. Once she has laid her eggs, the female will leave the nesting area and move towards deep water.

Once she is in this deeper and cooler water, she will recover her energy by feeding and staying hidden in thick cover. If you are looking to catch a large female bass after the spawning period, toss your bait or lure in deeper water and let the lure sit and sink into the water column a good distance. Females will be ravenously hungry during this time and may very eagerly take anything you get in their strike zone allowing you to catch bass without much effort.

As a complete opposite from the females, male bass will remain in the nesting area until the eggs hatch and the bass fry are free swimming. While they will not provide much parental care to the fry, male bass will guard the nest area from other fish until the bass fry are able to feed and swim well.

Once the male has done his parental duties, he will start to move away from the nesting area as bluegill move in to start their spawning routine in the same area. Males will search for food in different shallow areas outside of the breeding ground and will be much more active in the early mornings than they will throughout the day.

Best Lures and Techniques for Post Spawn Bass Fishing

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Keep an eye on water temps for the best results when post spawn bass fishing

Heading out onto the water when the water temperature is around 68 degrees Fahrenheit is a great start. You’ll continue to have pretty good luck into the mid 70 degree Fahrenheit range as well, so don’t feel like you need to limit your fishing trips simply due to water temps changing.

During the post spawn period of days and weeks, fish are extremely hungry and very actively searching for food, mostly shad and other small fish. You can toss a variety of different lures into the water and work them in your preferred technique and still get great results during this time of the egg laying season.

When I head out onto the water for some post spawn bass fishing, I will stick to the shallow areas with good heavy cover like lily pads. You can look for cover such as brush piles, overhanging branches, and thick weed beds or reeds too. Most males will be in this heavy cover area, but big trophy sized females aren’t uncommon either.

Fish will still be pretty timid and easy to spook during this time, so take advantage of your fish finders and sonar. Instead of moving into the area on the boat, long casting is a much better option that won’t scatter the bass you are fishing for. 

Start with a jig with a large silhouette. The fish are hungry and want to get big meals without spending too much energy chasing it around, so if you can deliver it right in front of their faces they simply won’t be able to resist. Some of my favorite baits are topwater frogs, buzzbaits, swim jigs, and walking baits.

Best Soft Plastics and Rigs for Post Spawn Bass Fishing

Straight Worms  

The classic standby for a lot of anglers, the soft plastic worm is always a good option especially with post spawn bass. Get your hands on a thicker soft plastic worm such as the Yamamoto Senko, or go for a longer and narrow floating worm like the Zoom Trick worm. 

For the Senko, look for a naturally colored presentation with a 2/0 hook. When fishing, cast it into heavily weeded areas or under structures such as docks and walkways to get the best results. If this soft plastic isn’t getting much attention, switch out for the Zoom in black to create a nice silhouette.

If you know some real monster fish are lurking and you want to entice them, put a massive 6 inch worm on your line with a wide 4/0 hook and rig it weedless. Go for brighter colors like watermelon, peach, or red and give it some solid twitches around the pylons of the boat dock to bring those big hungry females out of hiding.

Minnow-style baits

If worms aren’t getting the results you were hoping for, you can’t go wrong with a minnow. I like using the larger minnows from Zoom such as their Super Fluke. Find a girthy one with natural colors such as bluegill and use a twitching technique along the top of the water. Hungry bass will dart up and strike before heading back down to their cover areas.

The best smaller minnow I have used is the Powerbait Minnow from Berkley. Usually the 3 or 3.5 inch are the best option. Nose hook them with a #2 and do the same twitching motion as you would with the larger Super Fluke. These smaller minnows do great just outside of cover areas and can get you a solid strike when nothing else does.

Craws

Craws are a larger bait that many bass will absolutely love. Craws are great for fishing around rock piles, thick brush, overhanging branches, and sunken logs. My favorite, and the one I have had the best luck with, is the Strike King Range. Pick up a decent sized one in a natural color, or go for a green pumpkin color combination.

Frogs/Toads

Most anglers love using frogs and have some good fish stories from using them. Zoom has some really good topwater frogs in their line including the Zoom Horny Toad and the Zoom Hollow Belly. Both of these options are great for buzzing across the surface of the water near grass patches or sunken vegetation. For morning and evening fishing, using a frog or toad is a really good way to get timid bass to strike.

Other Types of Baits

Bass fishing hot weather man holding bass in sun 3

Swimbaits

Swimbaits are a very popular option when fishing for a wide variety of fish, not just bass. They are also effective throughout the year and aren’t just for post spawn fishing. Look for the Strike King or Keitech brands of swimbaits and focus on getting a Caffeine shad or Impact shad.

These baits are the best choice, in my opinion, to use in lilypad jungles and among heavy vegetation on the shoreline. Use a wide gap hook and give the shad a belly weight to keep them oriented naturally. For both cloudy days and stained water, swimbaits are a true powerhouse.

Buzzbaits and Spinnerbaits

Both of these options are great for extremely large lakes where you may not know the exact location of bass. They are great for covering a lot of water in a short amount of time, and can help you find pockets of bass without spending hours in search mode.

Buzzbaits are good for shoreline fishing, but can also be good for dropping in and around deeper flats. Go for a natural baitfish color and fish them any way you are most comfortable. It’s hard to go wrong with a quick moving buzzbait during the post spawn season.

Spinnerbaits are my go-to for covering large amounts of shallow water. They’re great for enticing large bass to strike as well, and can definitely get results when other options simply don’t. Baitfish colored spinnerbaits are a perfect choice for clear water, or if bass are still excitable from the breeding season.

Topwater Hard Baits

Big bass love topwater hard lures any time of the year, whether it’s near spawn or later in the summer and fall. There are so many hard baits to choose from it may seem overwhelming, especially if you are new to bass fishing or new to topwater lures in general.

I personally love using the Ripple Cicada for realistic topwater looks and noise, but the Jitterbug is also able to hold its own when it comes to post spawn bass strikes. Try to get a topwater hard lure that has a realistic imitation regardless of what creature you are going for. Hand painted or professionally designed colors and patterns are definitely worth the money.

Poppers/Chuggers

If bass are being stubborn and ignoring most of what you or other anglers have offered, it’s time to break out the popper. These lures work best when fished in an alternating fast to slow movement. Give them a decent pop but let them sink for two or three seconds before popping them again.

This motion is hard for bass to ignore and will bring the big females up from the deeper water. The best colors to go for in my experience are black or brown for stained water, and brighter colors of white, cream, or chrome when casting into clear water.

Chuggers are similar to poppers in that you’ll get similar movements, but a bit more versatility in how they can be fished. The Chug Bug is one of my favorites and can be fished throughout the year, not just during post spawn months. Chuggers are great for popping, but also give a realistic walking motion during the retrieve that bass love to strike.

Walking The Dog Lures

This category of lures is less about their shape, and more about their retrieval motions. The left to right zig-zag pattern they take when being reeled in mimics an injured or fleeing baitfish. Bass simply can’t resist this, and you may even land other species too.

Some of my personal favorite walking lures are the Zara Spook, the Gunfish, and the Rover. All three of these walking lures are extremely popular, and for good reason. A walking lure can absolutely give you the motions you are looking for, as well as being found in a variety of colors and sizes to help you catch the exact bass you are hoping for.

Prop-baits

Prop or stick baits are perfect for casting into structures and extremely heavy cover around shorelines and banks. One of the biggest benefits I have found with using a prop bait such as the Kelly J from Lucky Craft is that you don’t have to be exact in your movements. A few mistakes are just fine, which makes this a great bait for beginners to try as well.

Cast your bait up close to cover such as boat docks, piers, walkways, floating gazebos, and natural cover such as sunken logs, overhanging branches, broken trees, and weed beds. Your retrieve should be slow and intentional, with quick twitches to make this bait splash the water surface a bit.

Plopper-style Baits

While they are usually hungry and willing to strike, bass can sometimes be a bit stubborn to come out from hiding during the post spawn recovery period. Ploppers are a great way to deal with this problem. They are noisy, and I mean really noisy. Not only can they get the fish to pay attention, but they can even get sated bass to give some test nibbles.

When fishing, cast your plopper into the shallow water near a shoreline and give it a good vertical jerk. You’ll get the noise happening and bass will start taking notice. The best colors I have had on my ploppers are solid black and natural baitfish patterns.

Shallow crankbaits

Crankbaits are great for locating bass in larger ponds as they can cover a lot of water in a short amount of time. Cast them over stump fields, shallow ledges, or near manmade structures to get the best results (more tips here on fishing crankbaits). 

Strike King has some excellent crankbaits which work exceptionally well with bass, and they come in a huge range of colors too. With a crankbait, you want to match the color with the water clarity you are fishing in. For heavily stained water, go with a bold color, but in lightly stained or clear water you can opt for a natural sunfish pattern instead.

Other Tips for Landing Trophy Post Spawn Bass

While bass are hungry and eager to strike during the post spawn season, they can also be very timid. Try to limit the noise you make in the boat, and when possible, cast long instead of trolling into the area where fish are holed up. 

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AUTHOR
Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water.