Contributed by Drew Haerer
Throughout the majority of the northeast, mid- to late June signifies that start of the post-spawn period. This period can be notoriously tough, as post spawn bass recover from the spawn. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t be caught. Much of the northeast is dotted with relatively small, grassy lakes, which are perfect for kayak bassin’. Breaking down their vegetation can be the key to unlocking great post-spawn bass fishing.
Post spawn bass typically move to out of spawning areas and set-up around the nearest cover or structure. Fish want a sense of security, but also want to be close to food sources. Because various types of panfish and baitfish are active and spawning during this time, start by finding obvious spots that will attract baitfish. These areas include points, drops, channels, edges, wood cover, and docks. Focusing on vegetation in these areas can instantly eliminate a ton of water.
Channels are often characterized by isolated vegetation, deep weed clumps, and weed edges. Isolated clumps can be treated just like any piece of isolated cover, and fished with efficient, accurate casts. I often begin throwing a popper or spitter around isolated vegetation, but post-spawn bass won’t always eat a topwater offering. If they don’t, I’ll go subsurface, and try a swimbait if the water is clear or spinnerbait, such as the Premier League Lures Fade Blade, if the water is dirty. If I still don’t get bit, I’ll go with soft plastics, mainly flipping a creature bait in a sunfish color or tossing a finesse worm. I typically use a ¼ oz. tungsten weight, 18 lb fluorocarbon, a 4/0 EWG Gamakatsu hook, and a high speed baitcasting reel to flip. For finesse fishing, I prefer a 4”-5” worm, 6-8 lb fluorocarbon, a 2/0 EWG hook, and a spinning reel with a good drag. The key is to fish fast, yet slow, meaning to not spend too much time on any one clump, but to fish them thoroughly and from different angles.
Weed edges, which often signify channels or drops, can be fished by making long casts parallel to the edge with a variety of baits. In addition to the baits already mentioned, Texas-rigged worms, soft plastic jerkbaits, and swim jigs can be very productive when fishing edges. Look for deeper weed edges adjacent to spawning areas, particularly if they may have wood, rock, docks, or other cover nearby.
Deep weed clumps are also perfect resting areas for post spawn bass. I use swimbaits, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and lipless cranks to try and elicit strikes, often ripping the baits through or in-and-out of the weeds.
Vegetation points are prime areas to find transitioning baitfish. Fish these points at different angles with crankbaits, buzzbaits, and other lures. You may also be faced with the opposite scenario – a large flat filled with lily pads and heavy grass, which all looks nearly the same. These areas are best fished by making long casts with snagless lures, such as hollow body frogs or paddle tail swimbaits, rigged on braided line. I also always have a finesse worm rigged and ready as a throwback lure, as many post-spawn bass will swing and miss when resting in heavy vegetation. Be sure to make multiple casts to any areas that stand out as being different, such as logs, stumps, overhanging trees, holes in the mat, or particularly thick weed clumps.
You may also be faced with the challenge of emerging vegetation, especially after harsh winters when the early growing season is postponed. Fish in emerging or sparse vegetation are often the least likely to eat, because they don’t have the same sense of security. Therefore, I ratchet up my approach for these fish, throwing loud buzzbaits, lipless crankbaits, and big worms to try to madden the bass into striking.
Post-spawn bass may be lazy and tired, but they can’t resist an easy meal dropped right in their lap. Focus on these key vegetation areas and catch more post-spawn bass.
About the Author: Drew is a North East/New England correspondent for Kayak Bass Fishing Magazine. He runs the website Man Powered Fishing and has a variety of pro-staff affiliations, including Wilderness Systems, Bending Branches, and Carolina Custom Rods.