1. What is mid-spawn?
Mid-spawn is the spring stage when the Bass are spawning. Since the spawning behavior itself ends immediately after spawning, here we call it ‘mid-spawn’, meaning from just before spawning to immediately after spawning.
During pre-spawn, Bass that were predatory to gain strength for spawning will start spawning when the water temperature stabilizes at around 15°C (59F).
First, the male prepares a spawning place referred to as a spawning bed. Spawning bed sites generally have a shallow hard or sandy bottom with minimal current to prevent the eggs from being washed away. Next, the males sweep away debris and dirt with their back fins, and then invite the females into the spawning bed once completed.
During spawning, the male and female swim in close contact. After the eggs are laid and fertilized, the male remains in the spawning bed for security. For as long as two weeks after laying, the male continues to protect the eggs and attacks any predators. The female retreats to the pre-spawn contact point to recover her physical strength, waits for another suitor, then enters the shallow area again to spawn with another male. There are many individual differences to spawning, especially large females who may spawn two to three times during spring.
Now let's cover the unique fishing challenges of this stage next...
2. Features of mid-spawn fishing
◆spawning bed shooting ◆
As mentioned earlier, after spawning the male stays in the spawning bed to protect the eggs and fry. At this time, the male continues to protect the brood without eating, and will attack anything that comes near. In order to protect the bed, the males ram the attacker, swim away, and sometimes bite. Fishing by taking advantage of this habit to catch Bass guarding the spawning bed is called "spawning bed shooting."
The key to catching mid-spawn Bass is that they are extremely attached to the bottom. This is not due to the Bass' eating habits, but rather to the need to guard spawning beds and take threatening behavior to eliminate intruders. Therefore, during this period, it is necessary to throw a lure that mimics a predator or a hindrance to the bass.
Creature baits and frogs excel here. However, there are pros and cons to shooting spawning beds. While the angler can catch sedentary Bass, it destroys spawning beds by leaving them unattended, leading to a potential decrease in the Bass population. Keep in mind that there are several differing opinions on whether catching spawning Bass should be allowed.
Also, not all bass enter mid-spawn all at once, so during this period there may be pre-spawn (before spawning), mid-spawn (from the start of spawning to the end of spawning for the season), and after-spawn Bass on the beds. In order to make the Bass bite at this time when all three stages are mixed, anglers must understand the conditions and whereabouts of the Bass. To catch Bass reliably, accurate lure selection that suits the situation is crucial. Anglers must figure out what stage the lake they’re fishing is in (what stage fish are in most)! On top of that, if there are many mid-spawn fish, it is more efficient to target that stage.
3. Mid spawn bass location
When the male Bass are preparing beds around the shallow hard bottom, the female Bass will be lurking nearby, preparing to spawn. Typically, they’re likely to be hiding at a secondary point a little further offshore, or around nearby cover or obstacles such as overhangs.
4. How to approach mid spawn
Based on the previous information on where to find the Bass, we’ll introduce how to fish them, along with recommended lures. In any case, it is a fishing method that takes advantage of the bass's "instinct to protect the eggs", so please understand and use your best judgment.
(1) How to attack by directing fish aiming for spawns
Big baits, minnows, suspended crankbaits, etc. are used to make it look like a fish aiming for the eggs. The size of the lure doesn't matter much, but the bigger the size, the easier for bass to notice it. For big baits, we recommend the Deps’s SLIDESWIMMER. For minnows, use Megabass‘ ONETEN series. For a suspended crankbait, Jackall’s SOULSHAD, Imakatsu's GILLROID series, and Deps's BLUESHOOTER (which imitate bluegills that have a habit of targeting Bass spawns), are fine choices.
The lures which imitate bluegills that have a habit of targeting Bass spawns
How to fish…
Cast beyond the spawning bed and find a lure that the Bass will respond to when it approaches the spawning bed. Immediately change the lure if the fish does not react after a couple passes. If you pass a responsive lure several times, the Bass will chase after you. If it chases but doesn't hit the lure, try submerging it near the spawning bed and leaving it alone. Then, the Bass trying to kick you out of the spawning bed will come to you with a threatening bite.
(2) A method of attack that makes use of the habit of eliminating unnecessary things
Bass guarding the spawning bed use their mouths as a threat rather than as a predator. Bass will try to eliminate unwanted objects near the spawns by sucking and spitting them. A good method to take advantage of its habits is to drop soft-plastics near the spawning bed. The Bass will suck in the soft-plastic to remove it, and all the angler needs to do is set the hook in time. Soft-plastic fishing is easy once you find the spawning bed.
Responsive soft-plastics can be shrimp-like "with lots of legs," such as Geecrack’s IMOKEMUSHI or Jackall’s RV BUG. Bass that protect the spawning bed often look down, so you can use a no-sinker or a light weight sinker and slowly sink it near the spawning bed and leave it alone. If the fish sucks it in, hook it quickly!