July 13th, 2013
Post Spawn “Greens”, HOW – TOby Doug Vahrenberg June 15, 2014
One of my favorite times of the year is catching Large mouth right after the annual mating ritual. This is a time when many anglers struggle but if you understand the annual mating ritual and process it will help you understand how to catch more bass. Once the act of spawning is completed the Female leaves the nest to recuperate while the Male remains to guard the nest. The Male protects the eggs and eventually the fry until they reach approximately 1” in size or normally a couple weeks.
If you ever get the opportunity to visit a clear water fishery you can learn that the male hates Shad, Bream or any other fish that comes close to the nest and will attack or remove them from the premises. Bream or Bluegill species are one of the most hated invaders of the nest, because the bream are preparing for their annual mating ritual next and feeding up to have enough energy reserves to survive the spawning process. Understanding this will help you in lure selection to mimic the bream or bluegill species and use that knowledge as a technique to help catch more bass.
Once the Fry hatches, the male is on guard and the female begins to feed to restore energy. She becomes attracted to the invading bream and feeds on them to restore her energy lost during the spawn. The dark colored fry begin to move around and like to inhabit areas with shade to blend in the dark environment. If your fishery has wood or standing timber; look for the shady side of timber or around laydowns. If the water is clear enough you will see the fry. You can be assured that somewhere close is the bass keeping a watchful eye over their thousands and thousands of new babies. This is where I use my Humminbird ONIX with Bow 360 Imaging to look all around for me and find these targets to present my bait too. It’s amazing the number of stumps, logs and other targets that the fry will use for cover that are often unseen do to water clarity or depth. Knowing where these targets are will help increase the odds of catching more fish and especially in the challenging post-spawn conditions.
One of the prime areas to target the females that are recovering from the Spawn is near channel breaks as it offers deep water close by and I think offers an area that the females feel comfort as they recover. Once they recover they slide back up water column or near the bank to feed on the waves of bream coming in to spawn. The Lucky Craft LC Series Square Bill fits the perfect depth, size and color to mimic the bream. I like the Red Eye for clear to stained waters and from stained to muddy water will switch to the TO Gill to target these fish.
Using your electronics sure makes it easier to find the most productive areas and where the fish are located in this post-spawn feeding; and increases your odds of success and helps manages your time on the water more efficiently.
Not only having the right bait and right electronics to help make it easier to locate the areas these post-spawn females live; using the correct rod, reel and fishing line will increase your success. For this technique I use a Dobyns Champion 705 CB GLASS cranking rod. This rod allows the bait to move as it was designed to produce the best action. To stiff a rod, will kill the action of the crank bait and will often reduce the number of bites you will get. To limber of a rod will make it harder to fight the fish, when one of these Big Girls eats your bait and thrashes and pulls to get away. Matching the right rod to the technique helps make it easier for you to find success and puts less strain on you; allowing you the ability to make more and more casts per day. I use Daiwa Reels and currently have been using the Lexa and Tatula Type R in 6.3:1 retrieval speed. These reels I feel are some of the best value as they provide me the right combination of casting distance and plenty of drag; to handle the fish all at an affordable price point. The most critical link is the line but it’s more than just what attaches to the bait. For this technique I use Sunline Super FC Sniper Fluorocarbon line in 16 or 20 pound test or Shooter Defier Armilo Nylon Line in 19 or 22 pound test. Normally I have a rod rigged with each and choose the line for the action and depth I want from the crank bait. Fluorocarbon sinks and will allow the bait to dig a little deeper than nylon line. Nylon lines float on the water surface and help keep the bait higher in the water column; which allows me to adjust the depth higher or lower based on the type of line I choose to utilize. The heavier the cover and shallower I want to crank the larger the diameter or pound test line I will use. One last tip is to adjust retrieval speed to match what the bass desires…sometimes I burn it, sometimes it’s a slow retrieve and many times I like to make the retrieve erratic to mimic the natural action of the bream.
Next time you are on the water and the spawning cycle has just finished, give this technique a try to help you catch more bass. It’s a lot of fun and can produce some above average fish. Understanding the seasonal patterns and how the fish relate to structure, cover and feeding habits will help you learn how to put the odds in your favor for more success.
About AuthorMore info about author
Doug Vahrenberg is a pro angler from West Central Missouri. He has been very instrumental in taking Humminbird Side Imaging to the extremes and has been a leader in promoting the technology. He’s been labelled the “Side Imaging Guru” by his peers for his knowledge and understanding of the uses Humminbird can produce. When he isn’t competing in tournaments, you’ll often find Doug sharing his sharing his extensive knowledge in seminars at sportsmen shows and on YouTube. Doug is sponsored by: Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, MinnKota Motors & Chargers, Talon Shallow Water Anchors, Humminbird Electronics, Transducer Shield and Saver, Lucky Craft Lures, Sunline, Dobyns Rods, Daiwa Reels, LakeMaster Charts, Dave’s Custom Baits, Omega Custom Tackle, Browning Eyewear, Angler Innovations USA, Fish Guardian, Elite Tungsten Co., Massey Ferguson Farm Equipment.More by Doug Vahrenberg