Is It Post Spawn Yet?
Post-spawn means raising the kids for small
buck bass who will be guarding fry on the OUTER EDGE of shoreline
cover. In weed-prone lakes, the bucks usually station themselves
and their fry on the outside edge of emergent reeds, phragmites,
cattails or tules...or other submerged vegetation rimming the
shoreline. If the original nest where the eggs were hatched is
not being covered by weeds yet, buck bass will keep their fry
right there, but usually, the buck and fry will move out (but not
too far away) from the original nest as weed growth pushes
further and further out from shore. They will be in the nearest
open pocket on the OUTER EDGE of the vegetation.
To the extent the original nest was deep in woody cover, the
buck will often relocate the fry to the outer edge of the woody
cover. Whereas INSIDE the woody cover was originally preferred to
protect the eggs and BLACK FRY when they were less mobile, now as
the fry gain the parent's coloration (green or brown top, white
belly), the fry mass becomes more mobile and more difficult to
keep track of (aren't kids the same everywhere!). At this point,
the deep cover now becomes a disadvantage to the buck's ability
to protect them, and an advantage to ambushers intent on eating
them. Hence, the buck will instinctively move the fry out
slightly into more open water (but still on the edge of cover)
where predators can be detected earlier.
To the extent that the nest was built on a very shallow flat
to begin with, the buck will often relocate the fry away from the
shoreline rim onto the INNER EDGE of the first weed bed offshore.
It is not a far move in terms of distance, this is still usually
pretty shallow...only a few feet to the bottom, plus the weed
growth comes a few feet off bottom (maybe even topping out),
making the effective depth that the bass and fry suspend at
typically 3 feet deep or less.
But enough about the buck and fry.
Leave them alone. marvel at the wonder of it all, but don't try
to catch them. Why do you think the buck's guarding them anyway?
Because they're doomed without him, and even under his
protection, many of them will be lost anyway. Now if you catch
him, take him or release him badly injured, the fry stand no
chance. Even if you think you'll release him quickly and easily,
it doesn't always work out that way. Besides, there are better
prospects directly offshore where you can go chase the bigger
You see, most of the females do not perform any duties towards
rearing the young, and they will usually stage at the first break
to deeper water, often on the INSIDE EDGE of weed beds emerging
on the bottom contour typically in (or sloping into) the twelve
foot depths. This can be a considerable ways out from the bucks
and fry, depending on the particular lake, of course! Some have
the 12 foot break fairly close to shore...other lakes do not.
Anyways, it is a good depth to start at (inside edge of weedbeds
at 12 feet), and you can hunt further and further inshore if you
do not find them there.
A good way to flush out where these
post-spawn bass are aggregating is to use crankbaits finessed
through the underwater grass beds. In general, the first few
weeks following when you see the bucks and fry up close to the
surface (not hovering low down on the nest) will be the right
time to try the tactics mentioned below. Grass beds will be
emerging from mid-lake depths and post spawn bass will be using
these grass beds to stage...some say to recuperate from the
spawn...and to begin to feed heavily.
Thin lines are the way to go for
crankbaits in mid-lake waters. For example,12 lb. test Berkley
Big Game... one of the best all-around bass fishing monofilaments
in Bassdozer's opinion. The sensitivity of the light line can
allow you to detect when the crankbait would start to get caught
up in the weeds. When the bait starts making contact with the
stalks, just slow up on the retrieve to make the crankbait slowly
"wallow through" the thick spots making contact with
the grass without snagging too badly. This grass can only be a
few feet high...or even only a few inches...no higher than a
well-manicured lawn. You'll either need to know where it is...or
know how to use your electronics to "see" it. But even
only at a few inches high, it should be infested with bottom life
like craws and assorted small bottom fish...which is what draws
in the post-spawn females.
Also a sensitive cranking rod is desirable.
This will allow you to detect the feeble bites which you may
often get from bass in these grass beds during the early
post-spawn. At times, the bass will half-heartedly mouth the
crankbait, and sometimes when this happens, you may even need to
continue to retrieve for at least 5' to 6' before attempting to
set the hook. Even still, if a bass misses or lets go of the
crankbait, then you should put the crankbait rod right down on
the deck, pick up your soft plastic rod and toss a
lightly-weighted soft plastic back at the location of the bass as
a "follow up" to the crankbait. The sooner you do this,
the better. By the way, make sure your crankbait rod doesn't get
hung up and dragged overboard as the boat continues to move...or
if a bass hits it while the rod just lays there!
Having a second rod always rigged
with a weighted, snagless soft plastic lure such as a worm or
tubebait will also allow you to catch additional
"bonus" bass out of holes in the grass you just cannot
crank without snagging...to only use the crankbait rod, you would
have to pass by such "honey holes". Just rig something
nice and weedless (like a Texas-rigged craw) and slip it through
So, why don't you try crankin' the mid-lake
grass beds directly offshore from the spawning
locations on your favorite lake? For the next few weeks, you can
have confidence at this time of year that spawned-out females
will be moving off the shallow nesting grounds and aggregating to
feed in these mid-depth locations! And click here for another
article with a few more details on Finessing the Grass...with
Hope this helps you land a good one! Leave those bucks alone,
they're protecting the future of our great sport.