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Post Spawn Tactics

June 9, 2016

By Chris Erwin
It’s a pretty safe bet that in most of our eastern lakes, the bass spawns have come and gone. The big question I hear is what should I do or how should I adjust to a post spawn period?

Author Chris Erwin holding one of the bass caught last weekend fishing the post spawn pattern using buzzbaits and crankbaits on Cave Run Lake near Morehead, Ky. (photo by Scott Erwin)

Author Chris Erwin holding one of the bass caught last weekend fishing the post spawn pattern using buzzbaits and crankbaits on Cave Run Lake near Morehead, Ky. (photo by Scott Erwin)

To begin with, we need to talk about something you don’t hear much about: I’m talking about the shad spawn. While most anglers don’t think about shad spawning, I can tell you first hand they do, and they do it about the time bass spawn is over; all of this is driven by water temperature and color.

In a workshop back when I was fishing tournaments, we had a film that was provided by B.A.S.S. In this film, they had some great footage of shad rubbing right up against a willow leaf spinnerbait as it came through the water. In this film, they explained that the shad were rubbing against the bait because it was going through the motions of spawning.

During this time, bass will stage in an ambush position and explode on these shad. When this is going on it’s a great time to be one the water. Buzzbaits, jerkbaits, crankbaits and other topwater baits will produce while this is going on. At times, you can find good bass in very shallow water.

This was the case on Cave Run Lake this past weekend. I wasted a whole day thinking I should be in deep water because the lake was dropping. I found fish in deep water, but they were inactive and only by dangling a weightless whacky worm was I able to draw a strike.
However, when I moved to the flats and tied on a crankbait and a buzzbait, the fishing was like turning on a switch. By the next day, we had realized what was going on, and we began to fine-tune our approach. We caught a little of everything, including white bass, crappie, muskie and, of course, largemouth bass.

In the low-light periods of the day, my son Scott and I moved to the flats that were connected to points. Casting parallel to the bank, we were throwing both crankbaits and buzzbaits. It wasn’t long before it started to pay off.

Scott nailed the first good bass throwing a crankbait. The bait hit the water. He turned the handle literally once, and bass came out of no-where to engulf his lure.
Streaking out away from the bank where it exploded out of the water and managed a full 360… “Whoa,” we both said in the harmony of a church choir as we watched the fish plow down under the boat.

My son, who rarely smiles, was grinning like he just won the lottery. He managed to bring the fish to the boat where he got to count it. It measured over 16 inches.
This was the beginning of a day that would give us the privilege of boating, and releasing, 20 bass, two juvenile muskie and a dozen crappies. Most of our fish were caught on a little white crankbait. However, our largest fish were caught on a buzzbait running inches from the brush lined bank.

This is also a time when the bluegills often spawn at the same time; usually when we are going into a full or new moon phase. While we were on the lake, we did run into a few bluegill spawning areas but many bluegill were done for this month. Bluegills spawn every month until the water temperature drops back into the low 60s.

Thread fin and Gizzard shad like to spawn in water near 70 degrees. They often spawn over hard bottom areas where riprap or laydown trees are sprawled along the bank. Threadfin shad can spawn several times yearly. It’s not uncommon for threadfin to spawn a second time in mid-July, and again in September or early October. If you can identify these periods, it can be a fishing bonanza.

Chris Erwin is the Author of Camping Kentucky, founder and publisher of Kentucky Angling News an on-line magazine available at www.kentuckyangling.com/magazine Chris can be reached by email chris@ashlandbeacon.com

2 Responses to Post Spawn Tactics

  1. Harold Perry on June 22, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    This is a very good article . I fished Cave Run that same weekend and had the same luck as you did. I had some luck on a brush hog , but my good fish came off of a crank bait and a buzz bait. I wish your son all the luck in the world with his fishing. I know how it feels to see top water action. I cant wait to read your next article.

    • Staff on June 22, 2016 at 11:43 pm

      Hi Harold,
      Actually, I cover the Friends of Cave Run this coming week the article came out in the paper yesterday and will be added to the magazine Thursday evening. I think you will be pleased with the results. BTW I was a guide on this lake from 1986 to 1992 mostly for Muskie However, I fished Bass tournament from 1972- to 1986 when I started guiding. I now try to teach and report on Eastern Kentucky while we are not limited to that region only. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Chris Erwin

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