It’s all about the shad

The spawn’s over, or at least most of it. The bass have pulled back off the beds. They’re schooling up, ambushing prey and feeding aggressively. Now’s the time to go catch a few and maybe have one of the best numbers days of your fishing life.

The reason I say that is because they’re predictable right now. You know where they’ll be and you know what they’ll be doing when you get there. You don’t have to look all over the lake or wear out your electronics trying to find them, and you don’t need a box full of new lures.

All you have to do is get up early and go fishing first thing in the morning. That’s your most reliable bite time most days. I’m looking for places where the shad are laying their eggs. As a practical matter, that means almost anywhere. I’ve seen eggs on isolated rock, riprap, docks, wood, logs and pieces of Styrofoam floating in the water.

The one place where they’ll almost always be, though, is on grass. It doesn’t matter if it’s one lonely, isolated stem or a nasty, thick patch. And it doesn’t seem to matter what kind of grass it is so long as it’s growing in the water. Anything growing anywhere is a likely shad spawning spot.

The eggs aren’t hard to spot either. They can be best described as a mess of slimy balls, each having a dark spot in the center. They’ll all be sticking together and to each other. Sometimes they have a pink or a white cast to them but not always. If you’ve never seen shad eggs, that probably doesn’t sound like much of a description. But it’ll make perfect sense to you as soon as you see a glob.

My favorite baits for the postspawn shad bite are topwater plugs. Poppers, walking sticks and, of course, frogs will all produce. Just make sure you’re there early in the morning and that you’re throwing something that looks like a shad. This does not require precision bait placement. Throw in the general area of the eggs and make sure you cover lots of water.

There are tons of bass in these places right now. They’re hungry. That tells you they won’t be hard to catch. If they see something that looks like an injured or crippled shad, they’re going to try to kill it and then eat it. It doesn’t matter if it’s right on top of a piece of cover or if it’s 20 feet away.

When you catch a couple of good ones don’t be in a big hurry to move. They’re all schooled up around the same areas. It’s not like you’re going to catch them all and then have to move to another spot. When the bite gets really hot you’ll wonder how so many bass can fit into one relatively small area.

A word of warning, though: This doesn’t last forever. Don’t wait. The weather can change things in a day or two. We all know what that means.

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