Dealing with spawning dilemmas

Dealing with spawning dilemmas

One of the confusing issues anglers face in spring is dealing with bass in all phases of the spawn.

Not all bass spawn at the same time, of course, but there are peak periods when they will be nesting heavily. Which fish do you target?

One of those periods is right now during the full moon. That’s what we’re dealing with here at Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes.

I’m more of a power fisherman and prefer to find fish that fit my style of fishing. I look for fish in in pre or postspawn and see if I can make it work.

For example, if I see fish spawning in pockets, I may try fishing just outside those areas.

Or, I may find prespawn or postspawn fish in a different area of the lake. If they’re spawning heavily on the upper end they may be in prespawn closer to the dam. If they are spawning down by the dam, I’ll go to the upper end where I might find a little more water color and the creeks warm up quicker.

If I can find dirtier water, I can get the fish to react more aggressively to a flipped tube or by working a spinnerbait.

This strategy requires fishing for a smaller group of fish, especially if there are a lot of bass spawning. On the other hand, I’ve been very successful in several spring tournaments by fishing for bass that weren’t on beds.

To be successful, I spend a sufficient amount of time trying to assess what the fish are doing throughout the lake and the forthcoming weather forecast. If it’s going to be sunny and calm, it’s tough to get fish to react to power baits, and I may have no choice but sight fish.

Don’t get me wrong. Sight fishing is a very effective technique, and when the water is clear in the spring, it’s a dominant pattern. I do enjoy doing it, but it’s real tough to be successful in a tournament unless you are fortunate enough to find the right fish in the right mood.

These Bull Shoals fish are acting a little squirrely, thanks to the water dropping and fishing pressure from a recent big tournament. You can tell they feel a little exposed in the shallows and aren’t comfortable being up there.

On the other hand, there are some new fish moving up to spawn.

With clear skies and little wind in the forecast, I’m going to have to spend time sight fishing. However, during the low light morning hours, I’m going to power fish and try to get some quality in the livewell before the sun gets high.

In a tournament like this, a power fisherman has to do what works best for him and sometimes it means getting in there and slugging it out with the sight fishermen.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!