Updated: Apr 29, 2020
We will soon be coming into the post spawn period on many lakes, and depending on who you talk to, this can be one of the most difficult times of the year to consistently catch them or one of the most predictable times of the year.
There is no doubt that bass during this post spawn phase can be lethargic while they recuperate from the stresses of spawning, making them less susceptible to fast moving baits and aggressive presentations. That being said, in order to recuperate, they need to eat, so being able to locate them and then presenting the right bait, is key.
In terms of where bass will be during post spawn, this is one of the most predictable times of the year when determining where they will be—and that is half the battle.
As bass finish their spawning rituals, they will not travel that far from where they spawned in order to recuperate. It is after they recuperate that they go into their established summer patterns. In the meantime, they will be close to the areas they finished their reproductive activities. Great examples are isolated grass or tule clumps on the outside of spawning flats. If it’s not a grass lake, then bushes or standing timber will hold bass If that isn’t present it can be the first point on the outside of a spawning cove. Any place, structure or cover, that is just outside of a spawning area will attract recovering bass.
Once you determine where the bass will be then it is time to pick the right presentation keeping in mind that bass prefer not to expend too much energy this time of year. Your presentation should be somewhat subdued allowing the bass to view your bait as “easy” prey. Below are the top five baits (in no particular order) that I like to use during this time of the year.
1) Frog: Who doesn’t like fishing a frog? The visual strike on a topwater bait like a frog draws us all to it. You can cast it just about anywhere and not get hung up… it is an efficient bait that is a joy to fish when they are biting it. The key this time of year is to slow down and be more methodical with your presentation. Twitch it more gently than you normally would, resulting in moving it less and pause it more often and longer. This will keep it in the strike zone longer and give a bass more of a chance at a perceived easy meal.
2) Super Spook: Yes, another topwater bait! Why are topwater baits so good this time of year? A couple of reasons: first, a bait or baitfish that is pressed against the surface of the water is an easier meal to catch for a bass. The surface of the water provides a barrier so there can be no escaping in that direction. Simply put, it narrows down the number of escape routes the prey has.
The second reason for using topwater this time of year is that typically the bass are still shallow relative to where they locate in summer, so a topwater bait is still a good choice.
If you are not familiar with a Super Spook, it has a side-to-side zigzag action that portrays a confused or injured baitfish. The Super Spook is another bait that can be worked slowly and paused, and that along with its unique action, shouts easy meal to the bass.
3) Senko: The Senko is a plastic worm that looks like a pen, literally. The shape of the worm is pen-shaped and comes in various sizes from 4 to 7 inches. My favorite size this time of year is the 5-inch. I will fish it wacky rigged, which is just impaling the Senko through the middle with no weight.
The way I fish this is by casting it to where I think the fish is set up and just let it sink on a slack line. When you do this the Senko will have a very subtle shimmy as it sinks slowly. I let it fall all the way to the bottom on its own, and once it reaches the bottom, if it has not been bit, I will reel in and cast to the next spot and repeat the process.
The key to fishing this bait is to make sure you are letting it fall on slack line so it will be completely natural. Fishing it this way, you have to keep your eye on the line where it enters the water because many times you will see your line move or slightly jump when you get bit. Often times you will not feel it.
4) Creature Bait: Another great bait to have in your arsenal when pursuing post spawn fish, is the creature bait. This can be a very versatile bait in the way that you present it. It can be flipped, drug on a football or wobble type head and even punched through matted vegetation. In most instances I believe it represents a crawfish, which can be key as by this time of year crawfish are most active and will remain so through summer.
My favorite creature bait is either the Missle Baits D-Bomb or the Missle Baits D-Stroyer. I am not sponsored by Missle Baits, but I prefer the consistency of the bait and the actions they have. I have caught many bass as well as some giants on these two baits during the post spawn period. I particularly like fishing these baits around vegetation or a hard bottom where crawfish will create burrows and live.
5) Glide Bait: Glide baits are relatively new compared to the other baits I mentioned. They came onto the bass fishing scene roughly around the mid 2000’s and they are named for their smooth side-to-side gliding motion when retrieved. There are many types and sizes of glide baits but I what I like to throw during the post spawn period is one in the mid-size range, which would be roughly around 6 to 7 inches, and a slow sink model.
Glide baits are best known for being fished in clear water. However, I rely more on bringing the bait close to an intended target versus drawing fish from distances, so I don’t necessarily only apply this technique in only clear water situations. I am trying to place this bait in very specific areas and bring it as close as possible to the fish. Because I am fishing this bait in dingier water color, I do not have to worry about the bass getting too good a look at this big bait. I don’t catch the numbers that I do on other baits this time of year but the ones that I do tend to be much bigger.
There you have it, my top five post-spawn bass baits. There are certainly many more baits and techniques that can be used to catch bass during the post spawn, but these five baits have proven their worth to me time and again. If you are having trouble catching bass during this challenging time of year give these a try and see if they help you.