What exactly does pre-spawn mean for bass fishermen? It is the time shortly before the bass’s spawning season when the bass moves from its deep-sea winter quarters to the shallows to breed. Once the bass spawning season begins, you’ll want to leave the fish alone. Before you do that, here are 5 pre-spawning bass fishing tips to get you in the action.
Tip 1 Find the fish. As water temperatures warm, the bass moves into the shallows to feed. Some anglers start their days fishing in deep water and when they can’t find a fish they work their way into the shallows. This approach reflects the spring movements of the bass. Another method is to start in shallow water and then go deep. I particularly like this method because it can result in hot topwater action before spawning.
Tip 2 Find out the temperature. 50 degrees water is the magic number for the absolute bass fish. If you find temperatures around 50, you are on your way to find the fish.
Tip 3 The ideal place. An ideal place before the bass spawns is a cove with an inlet and shelf that slopes into deeper water. The drop doesn’t have to be steep or deep. Some of the best spots only have an adjacent 2 to 3 foot drop. They should have grass and weed beds as they will attract bait fish.
Tip 4 collect points. One of the best tips about fishing before bass spawns is finding collection points. Bass stage before they move to their spawning banks. Points that extend further into a lake are good, as are the transitions between apartments and slopes. While there, check the apartments but know they can either be hit or missed. Waterways that connect large lakes with backwater ponds are excellent. This type of water, which ties a large and small portion of the water together, is perfect for finding concentrations of pre-spawn bass.
Tip 5 conditions. Cloudy and windy days push the bass around while sunny high pressure weather keeps them busy. The warming weather gives fishing wings, while the cooling trends turn it off.
Pre-spawn basses are predictable and there to be fed. And when the bass spawning season is running around and the fish are falling in love, you are unlikely to see them in these spots until next year.
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Tom Keer is an award-winning writer living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a contributing writer for Covey Rise magazine, a contributing editor for Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer is a regular contributor to over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics including fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor activities. When not fishing, Keer and his family hunt highland birds over their three English setters. His first book, A New England Coast Fly Fishing Guide, was published in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or www.thekeergroup.com.