When thinking about Route 66, a highway that travels across America, people see a road that allows people to travel from one side of the country to the other. Along the way there are many towns to stop to see sights, enjoy food, and relax. This is what comes to mind when trying to understand the moving habits of big female bass making the transition from pre spawn to spawn then to post spawn.
Bass spend their winters mainly in deep water, and then as the spring approaches and the water warms up they will work their way slowly into shallower areas to spawn. Then after a few days they will then leave the bed and slowly work their way back into deeper water. Finding bass from pre spawn to post spawn is all about finding what road these bass will take to and from their spawning flats.
When looking for this road you have to consider two things. First, bass will look for routes where deep water meets the shallower areas the quickest, whether the difference in depth is 10 inches or 5 feet. Second, the areas that will have structure that connect deep to shallow. Structure can vary from heavy weeds, rock or wood.
The map below shows an example of an area on Lake St. Clair where the water depth starting around 13 feet connects to a shallow spawning area of 2 feet. This area is connected by different areas of heavy weeds.
(Map of Lake St. Clair, MI on Fishidy)
The biggest reason I compare Route 66 to the road bass take from deep to shallow, is that just like Route 66’s different areas for people to stop along the way, this road holds different spots of weeds or rock where bass will stop for a few days to feed on bait fish and use as cover. Bass can work their way from spot to spot over a period of time until they make it to their spawning areas. Then once they have spawned and moved off their beds, they will use this same road to provide cover for them on their way back out to their summer deep areas.
Now that you understand where to look for these bass, you need know what to use to catch them. Depending on the time you find these areas that are holding bass, you are either going to be catching bass that have already spawned and are on their way back out, or bass that are moving up to spawn. Because of that, there are multiple baits this time of year that will work to catch fish. I will mainly try to target the big female bass that have been feeding and have put on a lot of weight. To catch these bass I use tubes, drop shot baits, or when needed lipless crankbaits. Tubes and drop shot soft plastics are going to offer a subtle action and allow you to leave the bait in the strike zone longer, which will trigger more bites. Lipless crankbaits are going to appeal to the bass that are feeding on a school, or are biting based on a reaction to the bait when worked through the weeds.
This time of year offers many chances to catch a lot of good fishing. Do not miss out!Authored by Joe Cramier (www.facebook.com/joecramierfishing) Connect with Joe on Fishidy