Fishing for Bedding Bass

Here in Florida one of the best times for shore bound anglers to fish for Largemouth Bass is near the end of winter.  The bass start to make their move shallow and build nests for breeding.  First to show up are the males followed by the smaller females.  During spawning Bass do not feed much, but they become very territorial and will attack anything that enters their beds, knowing this will aid in catching more fish.  Here are a few techniques for catching bedding bass for Florida’s shore anglers.

Scout for beds before fishing

One technique that will help increase the number of bass caught of beds is to spend a few hours scouting the lakes shores for beds before fishing the lake.  Walk the shores wearing a good pair of polarized sunglasses looking for any sign of a bed.  Once a bed is spotted take some time and watch the bed to see if it is holding only the male, both fish or only the female.  Make mental notes of where the beds are and what fish and what size fish are on the beds.  Knowing where to look for the beds when actively fishing will make your fishing trips much more productive and efficient.

Use gear that can easily handle large fish

Many of the females that are caught from beds are quite large.  They can be the biggest fish caught of the year for any given lake.  When fishing for these fish, it is important to have gear that can handle the largest of fish in areas that have a fair amount of cover.   A baitcasting combo that has 20-30lb test is perfect for this kind of fishing.  Fighting a large fish for an extended amount of time is advised against because it will stress the fish out and may cause them to leave their beds upon release (you are going to release all bedding fish aren’t you?).

Heavy soft plastic baits work best

One of the keys to getting a strike from a bedding bass is to trigger its territorial protection instinct.   Bedding bass protect their beds from all invaders, including small fish trying to eat thier eggs or other bass trying to move in on their mate.  A large, heavy soft plastic bait, bounced through the bed will almost always elicit a strike.  Do not allow the fish to hold the bait very long before setting the hook, they are not in a feeding mood and may spit the bait out quickly and retreat from their bed knowing that something is not right.