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The Ultimate Prespawn Fishing Guide: When, Where And How

The Ultimate Prespawn Fishing Guide: When, Where And How

The prespawn period is the ideal time for targeting big bass, as they are at their seasonal heaviest and can be found in shallow waters, making them more aggressive as they try to put on weight before the spawn. However, it can be challenging to pattern prespawn bass as they are always on the move and spring weather and water levels can change rapidly.

To increase your chances of success, look for areas near spawning grounds where bass can stage before moving to shallower waters. These areas can include points, flats, and creek channels. In terms of bait selection, try using jigs, crankbaits, and jerkbaits that mimic the prey bass are feeding on during this time, such as crawfish or shad.

Vary your retrieve speed and depth until you find the most effective presentation for the conditions of the day. Pay close attention to any changes in weather or water conditions, as these can affect bass behavior and movements.

Remember to be patient, persistent, and adaptable in your approach. If you get on the right school of prespawn bass, it can be a day to remember. With these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to landing some of the biggest fish of the season.

Here’s a quick rundown on where, when, and how to quickly and efficiently find and target bass during the pre-spawn.

Prespawn Fishing: When

It's important to keep in mind that bass spawn at different times throughout their range, with spawning activity in Florida occurring as early as November or December, while in Minnesota, you can still find bass on beds in July. Therefore, it's better to focus on water temperature trends rather than specific calendar dates.

As water temperatures begin to rise, bass start moving up to their prespawn locations. In the north, this may mean a rise from the low thirties to the mid-forties, while in the south, it could be a rise from the forties to the low fifties. The key is to monitor the weather and prepare for the first prolonged period of pleasant weather.

It's also important to note that water clarity can affect bass behavior during the prespawn period. In murky water, bass may move shallower earlier in the season, while in clear water, they may stay deeper for longer periods. Keep this in mind when selecting your fishing locations and presentation techniques.

By paying attention to water temperature trends, weather patterns, and water clarity, you can increase your chances of successfully patterning prespawn bass and landing some of the biggest fish of the season.

Prespawn Fishing: Where

When it comes to natural lakes, prespawn bass tend to congregate around grass lines, points, and other structures that are close to the shallow spawning flats they will eventually spawn on. These areas are often well-known community holes, and prespawn bass move up onto them to feed before heading to their beds. In reservoirs, the ideal prespawn locations are creek channels, ditches, and drains that lead back into the spawning areas.

During the winter, most reservoir bass stay in deep water, and these features serve as migration highways on their way to spawn. In rivers, prespawn bass can be found near rocks, wood, and points on the outside of typical river spawning areas such as bays, marinas, and backwater lakes. While river bass do not like to spawn directly in the current, they will stay in it until they are ready to go to bed.

It's important to note that prespawn bass can be highly sensitive to changes in water temperature and current flow. If there is a rapid drop in temperature or a sudden increase in current flow, the fish may move back out to deeper water until conditions stabilize. As a result, it's essential to monitor these factors carefully and adjust your fishing techniques accordingly.

By focusing on these prespawn locations and taking into account the environmental factors that can impact fish behavior, anglers can increase their chances of finding and catching big bass during this prime time.

How To Catch Prespawn Bass

One of the biggest keys to unlocking prespawn bass is to put your time in on the map study prior to even getting on the water. If you have a good contour map, you can easily identify creek channels, ditches, and drains to focus your efforts. In a lake or river system, you can use aerial photography like google earth to locate backwaters and grassy flats from the summertime, and focus on them before the grass comes up.

Once you’ve identified an ideal location to search, the key is to start out with reaction baits to cover water and hopefully get a few bites. Once you locate an area producing fish – you can then slow down and seine it with slower presentations.

Updated March 16th, 2023 at 8:00 AM CT