We’re fast approaching the time when bass are bedding, and this can be an exciting (or frustrating) time for bass fishermen. I’m here to tell you that patience, persistence, and presentation will pay off when fishing for bedding bass.
I won’t go deep into the debate on whether or not it’s acceptable to fish for bass during this time, as that is a topic for another day. What I will say is that if you are a conscientious “catch and release” angler, then the impact on the bass population, and their natural breeding cycles is minimal if anything. Enough on that.
There are few things more exciting than sight fishing for bass (well, maybe topwater fishing. Yes, definitely topwater takes the cake, hands down). The thrill of seeing your target, casting the perfect cast, and watching the bass attack your bait is an experience that gets an angler’s adrenaline flowing. But it’s just not that simple, is it. Bedding bass get spooked, and take off. Bedding bass can watch your bait drop in front of them, or pass by them with perfect action, and just open their mouth as if yawning at your presentation. Persistence is key here. While a bass may flee from its’ bed when spooked, it will inevitably return. It may not be right away, but it will return to its’ bed. This is where persistence and presentation will inevitably pay off.
Once you’ve found your bedding bass, hang tight. Even if the bass gets spooked and takes off, don’t move. The bass will return, and if you stay silent and somewhat still, you become part of the environment to them. If tossing a spinnerbait by them didn’t incite a strike, try a shallow diving crank, like a squarebill. If that doesn’t work, maybe a soft plastic. There is always merit in tossing something like a lipless crank, or one of several small soft plastics or swimbaits that imitate a shad or panfish digging its’ nose into the bottom. Nothing will piss off a bedding bass more than another fish trying to eat its’ eggs or hatchlings!
In the end, as I said, patience, persistence, and presentation will pay off when fishing for bedding bass. For that matter, when fishing for bass under almost any circumstance.
Quick update: 4/27/16 - From the "practice what you preach" department, I spent some time today hunting this blurry, but absolutely for real bedding bass at lunch today. I spent better part of an hour trying to coax her ( as well as two or three VERY LARGE suitors who came by to visit her) to bite. I tossed a lipless crank, a squarebill, a Tadpole, s 9" curly tail, a Keitech Swing Impact, a 6" Lizard, and a pumpkin colored tube. She and her potential mates followed a few, with her being the most aggressive, picking up a few of the baits, and unceremoniously tossing them out of her lair. Know what she finally inhaled? A 6" smoke/purple senko rigged wacky. Patience, Persietence, Presentation Proven.