How to Catch Bedded Bass
Experienced fishermen know that in the early spring, big bass like to spawn. There are usually many beds around a pond or lake, that are easily seen from the shore line. These appear to be a reddish tone and unlike the color of the bottom of the lake that surrounds the bed site. Each is about two to three feet wide and in a circular pattern. There is usually a male bass, about a pound to two pounds, that guard the eggs that have been laid by the female bass. The first task that a bass fisherman must do is to catch the male bass. It usually is very aggressive and will attack almost any offering that is thrown into, or near the area of the circular bed site. I prefer a lizard in blue or black plastic or at times, I may opt for a plastic jig or worm. The male will engulf most lures tossed in that direction, and once he is eliminated from the area, the big female usually swims into the mix and guards the nest herself.
Female bass that I have encountered may weigh in excess of five pounds and several have gone to ten pounds or more, in body weight. This is usually after they have laid all of the eggs and their weight is more natural. If caught before they have lain eggs, their weights will exceed several more pounds and add to the total body weight. I try to avoid this and fish after the eggs have been laid. If a male bass is present, you can bet that the eggs have been deposited already.I have also used craw fish and small brim, when legal. because these are the two main predators that devour more eggs than any thing else when eggs are present on the bass beds.
I usually cast a little beyond the bed and reel my offering into the lip of the bed, allowing it to sit a few seconds and then twitching my rod tip and acting in an aggressive manner before the bass. The female will circle the bait a time or two and eventually aggressively try to lip the bait and haul it away from the bed site. I give her a few seconds and then set the hook. I warn you that a good twelve or greater test line is a wise investment to use and even a wire leader can be helpful because female bass can be wildly unpredictable in their defense of the egg bed.
A strong rod is also recommended because the fight will be sudden and powerful. The big females will lunge away from the beds with unbelievable strength and fishermen should be ready for a strong and sometimes lengthy fight. I have even had to walk the big fish in to the lake side in order to land them and a big net is advisable to have on hand or close by. I try to save the male bass and release them after I have taken the female so that they may continue to guard the bed from predator fish or craw fish. I have at times released the female to go back onto their beds.
There is usually a window of opportunity in which to catch the big fish while they are on the beds. It may last as little as a week or two weeks and I have left a lake and returned the next day and found females that have already left the beds and returned to the deep spots where they spend most of their time. I have caught several big bass in excess of seven and eight pounds and lost a few that would have gone twelve to fifteen pounds, and broke my twelve pound line like it was needle yarn. Be prepared to fight and hang on, because it will be one you will never forget, if you go after big females on the bed in the spring.