Fishing Topwaters During The Spawn

By Jay Striker

There are very few things in an angler’s life that can compare to the heart-stopping explosion of a topwater strike in the springtime. When it happens, nothing in life seems to matter much. Most times, the reward is a largemouth bass that can add significant weight to your live well. I know, I’ve had it happen to me on many occasions, and it never gets old. Let’s discuss some of the things that I do in the springtime to get big bass to attack my topwater baits with reckless abandon.

One such tactic I use is finding fish that are bedding or in the spawn mode, which means that there is a fish that has fanned out an area so that little bass eggs can be protected from predators as they grow from eggs through the stages of being able to protect themselves. Some of the biggest bass of the season get captured during the springtime in spawning areas, and many are caught using topwater.

You may be wondering how you find the fish that are spawning. Good question. Key factors to take note of when targeting spawning bass are protected areas and water temperature. Look at your maps and find protected areas that don’t have current and look like a dead end on the map. If you have ever found a bass bed, you will start to notice that some common characteristics exist. One is protection and the other is warmer water.

Water temperature plays a major role in the timing of when females start to lay their eggs. I like to look for water temperatures in the 60’s before I start thinking of spawning bass. However, when targeting fish in the spring with topwater baits, especially when the water temperatures start to climb into the 70’s, you will find fish in different modes of the spawning process. Some of the waves of fish may be just arriving at the spawning areas, some will be leaving, and some will have left weeks earlier.

I use topwater poppers, Spooks and Primal Vibe Buzzbaits to cover a lot of water, especially in water less than 5 feet. That’s where you will see a good many of spawning beds. If you see a fish on the bed and not moving, anglers call this the “locked on”. These fish can be caught with a topwater bait by throwing past the spawning bed and moving your bait toward the bed. If the fish has not attacked the bait, then just let it sit above the bed and just barely move your bait. The fish will usually strike the bait. However, if he misses the bait, then do a follow-up with your favorite soft plastic, and you will be sure to hook up. I have to leave you with the caveat that you must cover a lot of water and go back into the pockets where your trolling motor is kicking up dirt. Then you will be in the right place and be able to see the beds.

Target those bedding fish with your topwater lures and catch some of the biggest fish a lake has to offer in the springtime. Good luck, and I hope you catch a big one.

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