Pre-Spawn Bass Fishing

Pre-Spawn Bass

By James “Big Ed” Everhart

It”s that time of year again, bass start moving up to the banks to begin the life cycle anew. This can be one of the greatest times to put a wall hanger (replica please) in your boat.


Weather this time of year is vital to success. Stability or slight changes make for good fishing, severe change leads to poor days of fishing. Many people believe fishing with a high pressure is better than a low pressure and vice versa. My belief is that it dosen’t matter, as long as it has been in place for a few days.

I have found that a specific time of day makes a huge difference in this season as well. The hard part or fun part is finding what time of day the bite is turning on. Meaning you have to spend all day on the water. I’ve had fishing days with friends all in different boats, at the end of the day we get together and almost every time there will be a one to two hour time period that we all got are fish. Nice part about this scenario is the time and pattern will usually be stable for a few days. If you find fish are biting around one or two in the afternoon you can sleep in, get to the lake an hour earlier, cash in on the bite go home.


Baits during pre-spawn can range from crawdad imitations to trout imatations. Key here is to find what stage the fish are in.  When bass first come up to feed my theory is,” like bears coming out of hybernation they don’t go after big meals first just the most calorie rich”. In the fish world like ours crustacean’s are a calorie rich food. A bass can regularly consume more than one crawdad in a day which means they get more bang for their buck as compared to a trout sized bait. As the days get closer to the spawn, I’ve found the trout sized baits get eaten by the bigger fish more regularly. Theory being that as the fish put on weight they don’t want to cruise around looking for small meals they would rather hang near the spawning areas and get one big meal a day.


Areas to look for pre-spawn fish are cove mouths, points, river channels and ledges. I first like to start with river channels then ledges and next points if you can find an area with all three youv’e found what I like to call a “honey hole”. Bass move up from their winter haunts in deep water when water temperature starts to rise and days get longer. They will first move to the river channels that have deep water access near them. from here they can feed at different levels and easily return to the depth with the more comfortable water temps. Ledges offer the same conditions,  providing larger depth changes in a vertical way. Points offer the warmer water later in the pre-spawn . As days warm and fish stratify in less deep water points become a valuable feeding area for bass. It allows the fish to move to shallow water, roam over flat areas that hold crayfish, set up in ambush spots near stumps and rocks to feed on baitfish. Just before the spawn starts the mouths of coves will hold large numbers of fish. these are transition points, if fished at the right time you can put a lot of fish in your boat. I’ve found that when the days have been warm a long time ( four to six days) cove mouths are the place to focus your attention.

One more tip if your catching a lot of bucks (male bass) in five feet of water pull out to ten to fifteen feet, thats where you’ll find the bigger fish.

Good luck out there,