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Intro to Fishing the Spring

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Between the months of February and June, anglers across the country are hitting the water with anticipation and excitement.  The warmer weather means the thawing of local lakes and fishermen know they will no longer be cooped up.

Bass are noticing the changes as well.  As days get longer and the water warms, they begin their migration towards the shallow waters and begin their annual mating ritual.  This makes them vulnerable to all anglers.  It is also the best time to catch the biggest fish of the year.  Generally, a fish’s metabolism is ramping up and they are moving quickly this time of year… resulting in a deadly combo for catching your next personal best.

The spawning season can, and in my opinion, and should be looked at as three distinct periods of time.  These periods are known as the Pre-Spawn, the Spawn, and the Post-Spawn.  As the names suggest, the Spawn is the actual mating period, while the Pre and Post Spawns are the periods before and after the actual mating season.  Before we continue, it’s important to remember that these three stages often overlap in a single body of water. 

In the Pre-Spawn, bass start moving out of their winter haunts and toward their eventual spawning areas.  This is an interesting season in bass fishing.  As they migrate from deep to shallow water, bass will stop at different areas to rest, feed up, and wait for water and weather conditions to improve.  As they move, the angler must follow.  An area you were catching fish yesterday may be barren the next morning.

The Spawn is the period directly before, during, and directly after the mating ritual.  Although this is a fairly short period for each individual bass, spawning behavior can be seen for weeks or months over a single body of water.  This can be a great time to target bass using sight fishing techniques.

Finally, the Post-Spawn sees bass do a whole host of different things.  Whether it is males guarding their fry, females making their reverse migration out to their summer areas, or fish staying shallow to take advantage of the shad or bluegill spawns, you can catch fish almost any way you want.

Throughout the spring, we will look at each stage of the spawn and learn what triggers bass behavior, how to find these fish, and finally, how to actually catch them.

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