Many have read or heard me talk about how I like the post spawn. It brings about a great scenario for some really good top water action that can last all day. Bass are suspended and scattered, mostly resting from the rigors of the spawn; however, they will feed if an easy meal like a popper or prop bait presents its self.
I have been asked many times what I do if there is a front that moves through when the bass are in post spawn. We as anglers know that a top water bite is very fragile, and weather changes or fishing pressure can really hurt what was a productive pattern. By the time bass are in post spawn, spring time fronts are not nearly as damaging as a winter low pressure moving through. However, a front is a front, and bass definitely change their behavior. Post spawn, post front conditions, are definitely feast or famine in the tournament world. No matter what level, a tournament in these conditions will have anglers that come to the scales shaking their heads complaining about a very fruitless day, while a few will claim the best day on the water yet this season. So what is it that separates the two, time on the water helps, but recognizing that the water temperatures are still in a very comfortable zone for the bass will help in keeping your confidence high, and with a few adjustments you can stay on that productive pattern that was working before the front.
The first thing I like to do is continue with my top water pattern. However, I will have to get better at casting. I’ve found that after a front, or if the fishing pressure gets high, bass will still strike a top water presentation, but you’ll have to be more accurate and get your baits close to cover. If getting a popper or prop bait close to cover isn’t producing, I’ll try a hollow body frog and pitch or cast it into the cover. Sometimes this can be extremely effective.
If the top water bite just won’t happen, this is when I like to fish a jig. A jig is very versatile and can be used in a variety of presentations. Usually starting with a bream or bluegill pattern I will swim a jig around available cover. I start by swimming it straight through brush piles, across rock piles or bounce it against standing timber and laydowns. If that doesn’t produce, I’ll slow the presentation down by swimming it to available cover and then killing it, and letting it fall through the cover. Once it hits the bottom, I’ll continue my retrieve. Then finally, if I’m still not getting strikes I’ll simply crawl it through the cover. Usually, one of these three presentations will produce strikes. I have seen days where each bass was different, and you had to work each piece of cover with all three presentations to draw a strike. Some wanting a swimming action and some wanting a slower crawl across the bottom.
Finding the speed at which they want either presentation, top water or jig, is crucial to continuing success. This time of the year bass are really in their comfort zone as far as water temperatures go. Their metabolisms are in full swing.
I haven’t really been able to pin point when or why certain retrieve speeds work better than others. What I do know is that no matter what the conditions are, something in the retrieve will cause bass to strike on a given day.
One day you may have to have a quick erratic retrieve to draw a strike. The next day, a slower more steady retrieve may be required. I’ve had post front days where I had to rip the bait off the trees in order to excite a bass enough to strike. The next week, same post front conditions, I may need to let a popper sit for 20 seconds between twitches to draw curiosity levels that will cause a strike. My only advice as to retrieve types and speeds is to keep changing it up until you find what the bass want that given day. It changes regularly and even hourly.
Versatility is a must, once you’ve found something that’s working run with it. However, if you go 20 minutes without as strike it’s time to change something. Normally I’ve found that if I have a bait that’s been catching them, then it’s the retrieve that needs changed. Once a bait is drawing strikes you can be confident that you’ve found something that has matched what they are feeding on, or at least willing to feed on. When the bites stop, I feel it’s safer to assume that the mood of the bass has changed, and the angler needs to adjust accordingly.
Adjusting your retrieve is a great place to start regaining strikes. However, if that doesn’t work it’s time to adjust the bait, using different sizes, profiles, or vibrations and noises. Examples would be you’re catching bass swimming a half ounce black and blue jig and the bites have stopped. You’ve tried various retrieves and can’t get the bite going again. Time to start working on the jig. You can switch to a three quarter ounce to get deeper in the water column. You could add a larger profile trailer. Maybe, add or remove rattles. I’ve even seen when trimming the skirt down to get a smaller profile worked.
Post front is difficult to deal with any time of the year. However, in the post spawn it’s not a guaranteed day of casting, it can also include some great stringers. Some of my best numbers days on the water have been in post spawn situations after a front moves through. No matter your bait choices, getting closer to cover and an erratic presentation will help produce bass. Once you have the bass figured out, odds are they will change, change with them.
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