Waterways Fishing Series: Pre-Spawn Bass

Today, we are going to be talking about targeting Largemouth Bass during the spawn. The spawning season generally occurs in the spring when the water temperature is between 63 and 69 degrees. This time of year can often produce some of the heaviest and biggest fish of the season. 

So, what exactly does pre-spawn mean?

The fish metabolism begins to increase as the water temperature begins to rise. As we start to have warmer water, the female Largemouth Bass increase their appetite to get more prominent for the spawn. On average, a female Largemouth Bass will increase its size by 9 percent. Therefore, your chances of catching a big fish during this period are much higher. As the fish grow, they push towards the banks to stage and eventually create beds to spawn on.

Where should I be casting?

During the spring, most fish will be making their way toward the bank to spawn eventually. Therefore, you will want to focus on the banks and structures close to the banks. I am looking for shelves and laydowns on my graph that might hold fish near the bank. If they are not there, I look towards docks as they might be moving closer to spawn.

What baits should I be throwing?

Various baits will work, but I have the most confidence in the ZMAN Jackhammer ½ oz paired with the Hog Farmer Spunk Shad Swim Bait. The TVA Lake systems that I frequently fish have very low visibility. Ultimately, this makes the Jackhammer extremely effective with its loud noise and erratic retrieve. A good rule of thumb is to have a light and dark Jackhammer to match the hatch in your lake's water system.

The lipless crankbait can also produce some giant fish during the spring season. In terms of specific lipless crankbaits, I prefer the LV500 Ghost Minnow. I like to bounce this crankbait off the bottom and let it flutter back down. You will want to keep an eye on water fluctuation, which will ultimately affect fish movement. For more infomation on fish movement, follow Tactical Bassin video on lipless crankbaits. 

The wacky rig is a great go-to bait for me during the pre-spawn season when the bite is extremely slow. Largemouth Bass generally like to be near structures, so throwing a wacky rig along docks or other structures can be an effective strategy to produce fish I usually opt for a spinning rod and color braided line. The braided line allows you to see movement better when a fish interacts with the bait. As the line moves, set the hook and hold on.

Pre-Spawn fishing can be a blast and I really recommend that you focus on it this spring. While at times in can be tough, just remember to focus on shelves, laydowns, and structure. It can be easy to fish too fast while trying to cover more water, and at times, this is a great approach. However, in other situations, you really want to slow down and key in on what is happening around you. I recommend you fish the moment and ultimately enjoy your time on the water.


Follow Tactical Bassin to learn more about Largemouth Bass

Written by Jake Smith

Photography by Jake Smith