HOW TO CATCH SPAWNING BASS ON BEDS!
Tips, Tricks, tactics and videos on how to catch bass from beds, either from shore or the boat, for fun or in tournaments. For even more videos and tips join us in our new discussion group on Facebook.
HOW TO CATCH SPAWNING BASS - TIPS AND TRICKS
By talking to a lot of different anglers it seems that almost everybody enjoys sight fishing bedding bass as the strikes from the defensive and agitated bass gets our hearts pumping a million miles a minute. However I find that either anglers are REALLY good at this way of fishing while some can't get a single fish to save their lives. I thought I would give all of you some of my best tips that work time and time again for me when it comes to picking fish off of a bed.
I generally like to look for them in the backs of coves, on the shallow indentations at the mouths of coves, up on the bank, on shallow flats, behind logs or rocks.
2: Stealthy tactics:
A: I generally like to where a shirt that is either white, grey or blue due to the simple fact that it will help you blend in with either the blue sky, light clouds, or dark clouds.
B: Of course you want to get as close as possible to the bass/bed for accurate pitches but generally you have to make longer and accurate casts. Let the bass tell you your limits!!!
C: For the bank walker, try to keep a LOW PROFILE! Hide behind a bush or tree and you better be an accurate flipper and pitch to do it! Even crouch or squat down if you can! Keep your foot steps as light as possible. Believe it or not, bass that are close to the bank can feel shoreline vibrations through their lateral line! Keep that in mind.
D: For the boater: Powerpoles are of course invaluable in shallower water as they will prevent you from being pushed into the bed and ruining your shot at the bass. If you are moving along looking for the most aggressive fish (good tournament strategy) keep the trolling motor low and either constantly on OR off. I have found that the sound CHANGE really spooks them.
3: ALWAYS WEAR A HAT AND POLARIZED SUNGLASSES(I like to wear black lenses on sunny days and amber lenses on cloudy days)!!!
You have to block out glare so you can see the bass, the bed, and the surrounding area effectively.
I generally like to use creatures with a lot of action, fast falling compact jigs, tubes, and dropshots. Of course the senko works as well.
I have found that for this style of fishing that generally the fish do not care too much about color. I like to choose white so I can see the bait better. If you only have the usual green pumpkin or black and blue available it isn't the end of the world either, you just have to have a good eye and sensitive equipment.
6: A catchable fish verses a non catchable fish:
This is very important especially in tournaments to know because you don't want to waist precious time on a fish that you won't put in the boat. Generally if I make a good pitch to a bass (a quiet entry and NOT RIGHT ON ITS HEAD, pitch it anywhere from one to two feet from the fish) and the bass flees for its life and out of sight I like to move on because it is most likely just found the bedding area and it will be skittish and it is trying to figure out whether to stay there or not. Of course I like to find fish that bullrush the bait on the first pitch but reality doesn't always allow that. The next best bass characteristic is what I call; non aggressive yet catchable bass. These just show little interest.
7: How to catch non aggressive catchable bass:
I like to pitch the lure well in front of the fish and then crawl the bait slowly until it gets right under its mouth. I then snap it up in its face and nine out of ten times the fish will eat it. I find that I always have a better chance of catching the bass if it is facing away from me. My favorite baits for this technique are creatures, jigs, and tubes.
8: This style of fishing is about generating reaction strikes because the fish aren't feeding. The will hit lures that they see as a threat to their nest, eggs, and fry.
9: Other tips:
I have found that most likely I like to fish for fish that have a darker complection verses a light one. This isn't always the case but generally the light-backed fish are the ones who just moved in to their bedding area and thus aren't blended in to their surroundings. As I mentioned previously the "newbies" are usually very skittish. The bass that have a dark complection are usually used to the area, blended in, and feel secure enough to bed there, attack threats, and stick around for awhile. Remember to be aware of time management in a tournament while bed fishing!!!! I hope you all have learned something useful from this and I'll see you out on the water!
The bass are all starting to go on beds and are sometimes hard to catch. In the ponds and lakes where the water is clear enough to see them, there are a couple things you need to do.
First,watch the bass when you throw a bait onto the bed.If it spooks easily and takes a long time to come back, move on. But if the fish spooks and comes right back to the nest that's a catchable fish.
The number one thing you should have is a good pair of polarized sunglasses. Amber is the best color for cloudy days and darker colors work well on sunny days. I put up a link to some real good deals on glasses at Bass Tackle Depot. You really need these.
The average bed is 1 to 3 feet across. Sometimes they're bigger. I've found that most bass make their beds in less than 5 feet of water and really close to the bank. At places like Garrisons lake here in Delaware, they were in really shallow water and up real tight. When you find an empty one, you may have spooked the bass away; so don't think there isn't one around, just back up a few feet and wait for a minute or so. If you don't see it after that, then just move.
APRIL SPAWNING SCHEDULE
RED = Finished Spawn GREEN= Spawning Now YELLOW = GETTING READY
Once you find a bed, position yourself to where you can see the bed but are far enough away that the bass won't be spooked. A good distance is about 5 or 6 feet away. Sometimes even if you stand right over a bed on the bank, the bass won't move, but it won't hit the bait either. If you are fishing in stained water like you have here in many lakes you might able to get closer.I wear clothes that blend into the background and try not to let your shadow cross the bed. keep low and don't make a lot of big movements. Next, just flip or pitch your lure just past the bed. Slowly crawl it right onto the edge of the bed. Wait for a few seconds and then crawl it to the center of the bed. The bass is now looking at the lure. The bass is getting nervous and wants to get it away from its eggs, so the whole point is to make your lure look like it is trying to eat the bass's eggs. Next, twitch your lure just a bit a couple of times. Now wait for the bass to move in. He will probably get very close to your lure, sometimes almost right to his nose. Twitch your lure as softly as you possibly can (whenever you do twitch your lure, you don't want it to move very far at all).
During a recent trip we were site fishing using lizards, tubes, jigs, worm, carolinas, and split shot rigs, all which did not work. The fish would turn, look, and swim away. We did this for over 1 hour to observe baits and reactions. I then used a drop shot with a Keitech Sexy Impact and watched the fish mouth it, move it, and swim by it each time I was shaking it. I would drop the lure into the bed and begin shaking it in place very easy without moving it forward. Only one time did the fish mouth the end of it. I then decided to let it sit after dropping it n, nothing. i then dropped it in, let it sit , shook it lightly and then paused for about 15 seconds. Shook it very lightly once and paused it, the fish SLAMMED it on the pause. Thinking this may have been due to working the bed so long, we moved onto another bed this time using only the Impact. Same pattern shaking= no hits, drop in with no movement= no hits, drop in twitch lightly, slammed on the pause. now being a college professor i had to do this in with more scientific method. The next bed we immediately went into the drop twitch pause pattern and it was slammed. The next 6 beds we repeated this method and were amazed each time it worked identically. We then went back to the prior drop-no movement and drop-twitch and the patterns held. Hope this helps a few. take the time to analyze the fish's reaction to various presentations. It makes for very good learning when you can actually observe the fish while repeating various methods.
Spring spawn will soon be here and if you plan on winning any tournaments here in the northeast or anywhere else for that matter, you better know how to catch bass from beds. There are times when it is really easy to get the smaller males to strike with just about any soft plastic pitched in to the beds, but to get the larger females to hit sometimes it is a real challenge.
You need to be able to concentrate and make specific placements in the upper corners of the beds at times to get them to strike. Sometimes if the bait is just a little too far in the middle of the bed they ignore it. The upper right hand corner and upper left hand corners of the beds seem to be the best location to put the baits for me.
Many anglers like to use a white bait like a tube or other worm such as a Roboworm basically because they can see the bait better and when the bass inhales it quickly you can tell it has done it because there is no more white there and it is easier to set the hook quicker. I use a variety of colors and styles until I see what works the best in that location that day, and you will know soon enough.
Many times the bass won't strike no matter what you do and that is when you need to irritate them. What I do is throw a swimbait like a Matt Lures Hard Blugill or even a Matt Lures Soft Bluegill way up past the beds, and then run it quickly through them hesitating by the bed to see if they will actually hit that bait, and then if they don't, run it through faster over and over. Then immediately throw in another smaller bait like a Power Tackle Lateral Perch, or a soft plastic, tube, lizard, etc and let it fall. many times after being aggravated by the swimbaits they will hit the other bait.
You need to make sure your shadow is not over the beds and try to stay off the trolling motor and do not bang around at all!
Spend some time watching these videos, and practice. After just a short time of watching the bass on the beds you will see how they react.
Now, in many areas of the northeast the water is too muddy to see well or sometimes you can't see the beds at all. The thing to do there is to pick the north shore, find the hardest bottom on that shoreline and then pitch the baits to these areas that do not have any overhanging trees, just as if there is a bed you can see. You won't get as many as when you can see them, but with patience you will catch them from these areas as well.