Wednesday, February 18, 2015

It’s Almost Bed Time!

Courtesy of Mike Long Outdoors
Courtesy of Mike Long Outdoors
A biiiig 'ole thank you to Mike Long for giving me permission to display his amazing pictures!

As a follow up to last week’s article, we focus on the spawning habits of large female bass.  Quick side-note - when speaking about this topic try to never stop or pause when discussing large female…bass.  If you pause whilst saying that line and your wife or girlfriend is nearby, you may become seriously injured.  Be sensitive and let your words flow - Large Female Bass!!!

In my fishing career, I have been very fortunate to have figured out the equation that is the spawn.  And, like finding the intersecting magnetic lines of the Bermuda triangle, when you put these pieces together, something dramatic is certain to follow.

Both males and females will “stage” (get into position to move shallow) on the edge of a deeper channel or creek ledge close to a shallow area with cover.  Don’t forget that depth can be cover…more on this in a bit.  It is actually during this staging period that some of the greatest catches of large female bass (no pause) can be had.  They are full of eggs and are looking for full sized meals.  Large swim baits are great at this time of the spring.  Big crank-baits, spinner baits, jigs with a plastic trailer resembling something crawfishy, etc, all are great options.  The old adage is true, big baits = big fish.  These females are gearing up.  They are adding weight because believe it or not, once a female is ready to lay eggs, she will not eat until after the spawn.  I know, I know, you’re saying, “Don’t eat, then why do they bite?”  Be patient my Padawan.  All the answers are just below.

Courtesy of Mike Long Outdoors
Courtesy of Mike Long Outdoors
It is actually the males that will move shallow first.  When the water hits the magic numbers between 55-60 degrees, it is go time.  The males begin to prep a spawning bed and release pheromones to attract a female.  Sandy bottoms are awesome.  Places that many fishermen overlook is spots adjacent to a swimming area in a lake.  It’s unlikely that a guy on a blow up toy is going to be lounging in the lake in March.  Some sand with cover whether it’s a type of moss or wood is ideal.  If your lake doesn't offer sand, no big deal, they will beat out a crater in the mud or rocks too.

Earlier I mentioned the concept of depth as cover and I told you that I was fortunate enough to figure out the big-girl’s rubics cube to spawning.  You can catch a lot of fish spawning in depths from six inches to three feet.  However, the vast majority of bigger bass, five pounds and up, that I have caught during the spawn came in water from 4-6 feet deep.  Big bass spawn deeper than smaller ones as a general rule.  I am not sure as to why except that the depth does add an element of cover.  I have always been told that if you can see the fish then they can see you.  If you find an area where fish are actively spawning, try a bit deeper for Big-Mamma.

“I thought you said bass don’t eat during their spawning activities?”  I did indeed!  They don’t eat, but instead both the male and female will protect the nest at all costs.  The female will not stay long on the bed, while the male will remain for about 7-10 days until the eggs hatch and become fry.  Again, while they are in this protect mode, they don’t really ingest what they are killing.  They will hit stuff violently but it only lasts for a second or two.  They pick up an intrusion and blow it out of the nest.  A great video illustrating this behavior can be viewed below.  Anything that naturally would attack the eggs like bluegill, baitfish, crawfish, or salamanders (plastic lizards) are good choices to mimic.

I want to mention that we should release these incredible fish at this time of the year.  If you want your lake or pond to continue to produce the very best genetics then you have to manage the lake and yourself. Removing the best fish from said water should be frowned upon.  With the amazing ability of modern taxidermy to take the measurements of a fish and give you a very good reproduction, is there a need to destroy the beast?  The majority of the fish I have caught that exceeded five pounds were returned unharmed.  I hope you do the same friends!

No comments:

Post a Comment