During the spawning period, you will constantly have fish in all three phases, pre spawn, spawning, and postspawn. A way to tell what type of fish you are catching, other than fish on beds obviously, is by their body shape. Prespawn fish will be round and fat while they are still carrying eggs. While postspawn fish will be lean and skinny.
These post spawn fish are now on the hunt to find a meal to recuperate from the stressful spawn. They will be looking for quick and easy meals, and lucky for them, they have evolved to end their spawn as two prime feeding opportunities are taking place. The shad spawn and the bluegill spawn.
These two beautiful spectacles can provide some of the best bass fishing of the year.
All of the fish that were shallow are now dispersing and making their way to their summer haunts, but before they do, this is their last congregated stop. So, here’s what you need to know to take full advantage of them.
Just as the bass spawn begins to taper off, the bluegill spawn heats up. You’ll know a bluegill nest when you see one, because there will be dozens if not hundreds of them around it. This mass congregation of perfect snack sized panfish will get a lot of attention from hungry bass, big ones too.
To cover these areas effectively you can’t go wrong with a couple of key baits. A square bill crankbait, and a swim jig. These two baits, in bluegill color, mimic these panfish perfectly and will elicit a strike from a hungry bass. These bluegills will be spawning in very similar areas that the bass were spawning in, as they are technically species cousins, so always be on the lookout.
Another primary postspawn bite that will be going on in any lake around you that has any kind of shad in it, will be the shad spawn. These beloved bait fish lay their eggs in shallower water, anywhere from two to ten feet, on hard surfaces. Notice, it is not on hard bottoms, but on hard surfaces. This can be anything from dock pilings, to grass edges. You’ll want to look for this to be going on first thing in the morning.
On cloudy or overcast days this can be drawn out into mid-morning and on sunny days it can die off right at first light. You’ll know it when you find these magical shad spawn areas because there will be shad flickering at the surface and all around the hard structure they are spawning on.
To efficiently cover these areas, stick to shad style baits such as a swim jig, a spinnerbait, a chatterbait, or even an underspin if the fish are being finicky. Don’t be afraid to use top water either, a well-placed buzz bait or spook imitates the shad as they school near the surface. Just be sure to use trailers that mimic the action of the shad. If your bait mimics well enough, you will feel the shad schooling with your bait as you pull it through these primary areas.