Targeting Spawning Bass: Are They Going to Bite?

This time of year, anglers all over are fishing for bass they can see in the shallows. Some bass will be easy to catch and some are nearly impossible, like those that are in the act of spawning instead of just guarding their beds. There are a few things that I do to determine if the fish is going to bite and if they are worth spending time fishing for.

Locating Bedding Bass

One of the best ways to find bedding bass is to cruise the shallows with your trolling motor at about 40 or 50%. I have found that this is the best speed to both cover water and avoid spooking fish. Anything faster will scare fish away long before you get to them. If you approach a fish while using the trolling motor and it stays on the bed, it is a fish that should be fairly easy to catch since it is locked on and protecting the bed. If the fish makes a circle and comes right back it is also a fish that should bite.

Another clue that tells me whether or not the fish will bite is the color of the bass itself. If it is really light colored, it has most likely just moved up from deeper water and is not fully committed to spawning and will be more difficult to catch. A darker bass has been shallow for a while and should be a little easier to catch.

FishSens SondeCAM

The SondeCAM HD Underwater Camera is a great way to look at what is underneath your boat and it also helps you get a better feel for what you are seeing on your graphs. It is also a great way to get a better look at spawning bass. I attach my camera to a long telescopic pole and will drop the camera down to see how the fish is acting. If the bass doesn’t move or becomes aggressive, it will be a fish that will bite a lure. I have found that if the bed is deeper than about six feet, you can just drop the camera down with the cable and will not have to use the pole. You can get right above the fish and drop the camera straight down to see how the fish is acting.

I have also seen where they flare their gills or quickly move their fins back and forth just by seeing them on the camera. These are also signs that they are catchable. On the other hand, if they quickly swim away, they will be more difficult to catch.

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