Nature has a process

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Bassmaster Marshal Tony Petras

We’re headed into the spawn in many parts of our country. That means you’re going to be hearing a lot of talk about the moon. Most of it will center on the full moon and its importance. There’s no doubt that a full moon is a factor in the spawn, but it’s nowhere near the most important factor.

That’s why I say that most of what you hear about the moon phase and the spawn is nonsense at worst and exaggerated at best.

A full moon will not overpower horrible weather and water conditions. Cloudy, overcast days, fluctuating water levels and water temperatures that aren’t to a bass' liking will keep her off the beds, and I don’t care how big and bright the moon is or how perfect a circle it makes in the sky.

When it’s warm and sunny with a stable water level most of the bass will move towards the beds regardless of the moon’s phase. The physical process that moves egg development forward depends more on time than on anything else. It’s a kind of pregnancy.

And never forget something else: Bass are individuals. There is no such thing as the “perfect” spawning temperature. Some of the bigger females will start to move shallow in water as cold as 55 degrees. Some doesn’t mean all, however. Most bass are more comfortable in the middle to high 60 degree range. But, no two fish are the same so those temperatures will vary from one bass to another.

It’s an easy concept if you think about it from a human point of view. There are people who love living in northern Canada. They live for snow and ice. For those people a perfect temperature might be 25 or 30 degrees. Others think that anything under 70 degrees is pure misery. They shiver at the very thought of snow.

Bass don’t have a choice when it comes to where they live. It’s live where they are or die. However, some things still suit them better than others. Temperature is one of those things even if it isn’t as extreme as those in the human example I just used.

I’m not saying that a full moon is totally unimportant. It isn’t. If all the other conditions are right the moon going full will be a bonus, something that helps the process along. What it won’t be is a controlling factor. Planning a fishing trip based on it doesn’t make sense unless it’s a week away and you know what’s going to happen with the other factors.

Another thing to keep in mind about a full moon is that it makes it harder to catch the bass that aren’t on the beds if you’re fishing during the day. Bass dislike harsh light for the most part. When the moon is full there’s enough soft light for them to see and feed at night. That tends to slow down the daylight feed which slows down the daylight bite.

If you’re looking for a giant bedding bass this spring, you’ll be better off to worry more about the weather and the water and less about the moon. Nature has a process. You can’t outthink it.