4-19-2010-This one got away from me folks. Sorry for the delay.
Things are heating up and the bass are cruising. The males are coming into shallow water to nest and the females are lurking further out. At this time of year tend to target the females which are generally the larger fish and in prime form. But sometimes I can’t help but stop and educate a male bass here and there as I go. Better they fall prey to my gear as opposed to someone dead set on taking this prespawn fish home in a bucket. After a couple of “lessons” the fish will be more stubborn than a fat, lazy mule on a hot Sunday.
“Sight-Fishing” from shore is a viable option late April\Early May but I just wasn’t seeing any fish other than a few males. I had to search cast with the fantastic plastics in hopes the larger fish would be out there. I looked for deeper channels and pools just outside the nesting areas. Cast, cast, walk, walk, cast, cast. Move to another spot, cast, cast, and then “bump”. A light thump on the line that felt more like a small pebble on the bottom as opposed to a fish of any sort. I lift the rod a bit to free the lure (1/4oz jig combo) and the rod bends over.
“@##%^” I should have known that was fish!” I scold myself while trying to plant a decent hookset on the fish. But it was difficult as the fish was now swimming right at me.
Crank the reel as fast as I can and the fish turns sharply taking a heavy stream of line from the drag. The fish gave a strong burst of energy and then seemed to stop in the water in an attempt to shake the hook. The tension on the line started to give way. My hands cranked down once again. This time I was able to keep the fish lined up with me and with a few tugs the fish was landed.
There are a lot of mixed ethics and opinions in regards to fishing the prespawn, the spawn and nesting fish. There are a lot of good reasons not to fish the spawn. Nesting fish are less sporty at times because their behavior is so predictable. I try to avoid nesting fish during the spawn and tend to target the prespawn fish more. The one rule I would stress is that releasing the fish as quickly as possible is crucial. The majority of bass will spawn if released quickly after being caught. Harassing nesting fish should not be done in my opinion. Cast, cast, cast, move on. Consider it a three strikes rule for nesting buckets.
More Mattsabasser Spawn Notes:
1. Black spots or areas on the bass’ lip are damage\healing of a previous hooking. You will find these fish stubborn and very slow to bite. Harassing these fish may force them to abandon the nest thus disrupting their spawn cycle. The male may nest elsewhere and may or may not be successful depending on time of season.
2. In many cases the same pair of largemouth bass will attempt to breed year after year if previously successful.
3. In many cases the same pair of largemouth bass will attempt to breed in the same spot year after year if previously successful.
4. Generally speaking, less than 15% of bass fry (young bass recently hatched from eggs) will survive to see their second year. This is mostly due to consumption or predation, even from bass.
5. Male bass generally guard the bass fry once hatched for a week to a month and even eat the fry selectively.
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.