Your heart is beating so forcefully you can feel it in your throat. The adrenaline is pumping so hard that it gives you a tingling sensation through your entire body. Sweat is starting to trickle down your face. You can see the giant Bass guarding its bed, but can you get it to bite?
Sight fishing during the spawn can make your emotions work overtime. Just being able to see that big spawning beauty is enough to drive any sane person crazy. When nothing else seems to work, drop into bed with them.
Drop shot fishing is not a typical sight fishing technique but, being typical doesn’t make you a champion. In order to rise above your peers, often times you need to go against the grain.
Let’s think about the basics of fishing during the spawn. First, you need a subtle presentation that can stay in the beds for a long period of time. In addition to just simply staying in the bed, you need to have movement.
While a jig or a Texas rigged worm can fulfil your needs for a short period of time, after a minimal amount of moving, the bait is no longer in the strike zone. However, if you pitch a drop shot rig into a bed, you can literally move it for hours in the same exact spot.
Bait selection is a very important aspect of bed fishing. During the spawn, bass are not in the feeding mode. Their only priority is keeping predators out of the nests to prevent the eating of newly laid eggs. In a nutshell what this means is that you must choose a bait that resembles a natural predator to the bass.
Bluegills and lizards are perfect bait selections for sight fishing. Both creatures in their natural environment are notorious for destroying thousands of bass eggs in a very short period of time. If you can pitch a bait that resembles a small bluegill or lizard into a nest and keep it moving for an extended period of time, a bass will surely annihilate it. My preferred bait is the 7” Lizard from Gary Yamamoto Custom baits (www.baits.com).
Using a stealthy approach is still going to improve your odds, as with any method of sight fishing. Try to sneak up on the beds as quietly as possible. Once a bass gets spooked and leaves the area, you should do the same. Move up the shoreline a short distance trying to locate more bedding fish. After you have allowed things to calm down, revisit your original area because the bass will not vacate its nest for an overly extended period of time.
When zeroing in on your target, you should always aim for the back side of the nest. This will allow you to slowly work the lure into position without spooking the fish. Once you are perfectly aligned in your target zone, allow your bait to fall to the bottom. After a brief period of rest, give the rod tip two to four quick twitches followed by a short pause. This will cause an erratic movement and then allow the bait to descend into the nest. The beauty of the drop shot rig is that although you are moving the bait, your weight is staying stationary. This will provide you with the ability to repeatedly move your bait without leaving the crucial strike zone. The bass is going to get the impression that this predator is here to eat their eggs. Often times it will not take too long before the bass decides to eliminate the threat.
It is very important that you are quick on the draw when setting the hook. Generally speaking, the bass has no intention of eating your bait; it simply wants it gone. Therefore, the amount of time you will have to set the hook will be limited. Many times the fish will either carry the predator to an area outside the bed, or they will simply try to crush it and spit it out. Coating your baits with MegaStrike fish attractant will give you a little more time to get a good hookset.
Keep in mind that every time you pull a fish off of its bed, you are opening the area up to potential predators. If you do choose to fish bedding bass, try to release the fish as rapidly as possible. By doing so, you will help protect the fishery and allow other anglers the option of catching quality bass.
Jeremiah T. Bagwell