The full moon has passed, the spawning has been done, and we’re back in the dreaded period known as post-spawn. To those of us who make our living casting smaller lures, however, this period only means that instead of every other bass being an over 14-inch keeper, now we will only have a keeper-sized bass every fourth fish. We still catch more than 40 bass ever day, the Swirleybird is still king, and topwater time is just around the corner!
Post-spawn bass act and feel somewhat like a person who has just endured a major operation, and after such trauma the bass population is quite stressed, not very hungry, and in such a debilitated condition, they certainly don’t feel like chasing their food. Also, before the summer comes, one must realize that nearly 40% of the bass that have spawned will die from the stress and injuries that occurred during their process to perpetuate their species. Understanding these facts could make the post spawn period pass more pleasantly for all anglers.
To be successful a this time of year, retire the oversized lures and larger plastic worms for a short while, and use something much smaller and slower. The baitfish population has also spawned and millions of less than two inch-long baby fish are slowly swimming around in the shallows. Except for the male bass that are still protecting eggs or small fry, the other recuperating bass have begun to gorge themselves on these tiny baitfish.
Lures less than three inches long that imitate the newly-hatched baitfish are the best choice. Many artificial baits on the market fit that general description and can be very productive during the post spawn period, but one local lure has proven over the years to be deadly on these post-spawn bass.
Swirleybird SetSwirleybirds come in several shades, but colors don’t seem to make much difference. Size and speed, however, are of extremely important. Usually a faster retrieve near the shoreline followed by a progressively slower retrieve that allows the lure to reach a depth of 6 to 8 feet near the boat is best.
A light spinning reel with a 5 1/2 to 6 foot medium-light action rod has proven to be the best combination to work this unique lure properly. Combine the lighter rod and reel with high-visibility four to eight pound test line to see the strikes better, and optimum balance is achieved.
Fly rod enthusiasts may also capitalize on this post spawn action by using a #6 weight outfit. Numerous small, sinking minnow imitations like the “Clouser” are perfect for post-spawn bass.
Catching post spawn bass still requires hundreds of casts along several miles of shoreline in a day’s time to fill the livewell with a decent catch of keeper-sized bass. Nevertheless, thinking small and slow, until the surface temperature has passed the 80 degree mark is the absolute best way to be successful with post-spawn, Lake Lanier bass!