It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the spawn means to slow down and spend time coercing hesitant bass into biting some bait sitting in their bed. But I’m here to say: don’t slow down just yet. Moving baits can still play a vital role in catching love birds—or love fish that is. Especially early in the spawning season or when the water clarity doesn’t allow you the chance to stare at your target, moving baits can help cover more water, be a little more efficient, and will either trigger aggressive fish into biting or at the very least reveal their location for you.
This is a bait that accounted for the great majority of my catches during the early spring last year, and I have carried it over with me into 2022. One main reason is the versatility of pairing a compact jig with an aggressive trailer. I had it on my deck for the sole purpose of going to battle with fish that were locked down, yet I found that I had great success (including one of my biggest fish of the year) by swimming it through and around bedding areas. In fact, just yesterday I was meandering around my pond pitching it into holes in the grass thinking the bass would be slow to bite in the cooler weather and wound up having an incredible afternoon after learning they WANTED it moving fairly quickly and breaking the surface. I could go on and on about the trips that I’ve continued to learn this the hard way, but the point is: don’t write off a fast-moving bait just because the bass are sitting on beds.
I can recall a trip to a small lake in Florida several years back where I ran across a bedding flat and could clearly see bass locked down everywhere. But the water was clear that they were very skittish when you tried to get anywhere close. I ended up backing away from the beds and had a grand time for the rest of the day catching them all on a Pop’R style bait. And, I have seen instances where a walking bait can be just as effective. Scenarios are often plenty where I’ve used a topwater to get bass to simply reveal themselves in areas where I can’t see beds. Once I see one half attempt at rolling on my bait, or even the water boil underneath, then I can possibly take more time to pick that bed apart.
After all, fishing always boils down to being as efficient as possible. Anytime you can cover more water effectively, you increase the odds of running across catchable bass. So, don’t waste too much time, keep those baits moving, and catch more fish this Spring!