Early Spring Pre-Spawn in Arkansas
It’s that time of year again and the big bass are moving into shallow waters looking for a place create their beds. Here in North Eastern Arkansas the water temperatures are finally averaging above 50 consistently and I have seen several large bass already working the shallows in the local ponds looking for their area to create their beds for spawn. This is very early for the bass to behave this way so I believe are going to have an early spawn this year.
Yesterday morning I made a pre-dawn trip to a local pond about a half a mile from my home and by sunrise I saw several HUGE bass cruising the shallows in search of their spawn areas. Most of you know about the spring spawning season for largemouth and smallmouth bass but for those of you that are new to bass fishing I will attempt to inform you how to catch what might be your largest bass ever during this period.
The Largemouth Bass likes to spawn in shallow waters, normally this is near the enbankment or shore of the waters in which they live. Generally the Largemouth Bass will spawn in waters between two and twenty feet in depth, although they are mainly found around the four to eight feet depths.
When spawning time draws near the male Largemouth Bass builds a cicular nest out of sand and gravel that is roughly twice his length in size, the male will then guard the nest waiting for a female Largemouth who is ready to spawn.
Getting spawning bass to hit is difficult but the rewards are great. It’s a bit time consuming to cast repeatedly to spawning bass on the beds but worth the effort. Females will not strike a bait as you’d expect. What they are trying to do is clear the nest, they’ll pick up the bait and spit it out. You have to strike when the female picks up the bait. The male will defend the nest and attack but will generally be small in comparison to the female.
If you do attempt to catch bedding bass, be as gentle as possible and release them in the same area so that they’ll return to the nest. Never attempt to catch bass on a nest if you see fry (baby fish) as this leaves the fry open to attack from predators waiting close to the beds.
Some of the best lures during pre-spawn and spawn periods are large baits that aggravate the bass. Most of the strikes you will get aren’t out of hunger like normal fishing conditions but either the female keeping the bed clean or the male defending. So any bait that is intimidating usually works but you might have to present it several times near the bed or even right on the bed for a strike.
In conclusion I would like to reiterate that catch and release and careful handling of spawning bass, both largemouth and smallmout, is of utmost importance. The spawn period is the biological process that perpetuates this species existance. Please keep that in mind when you fish any species of Bass during spawn.
I hope this has been a helpful article and get out there in nature and enjoy what it has to offer.