Shad spawn significance
by Mike Gerry
Many fishermen are aware that every spring the shad spawn out. This spawn brings tons of small fish for bass to feed on, and it starts the beginning of the bass feeding after healing from their own spawning time. This is a big milestone in the progression of the bass fishing on your lake. The water has generally warmed into the 70’s, and the bass are feeding and chasing aggressively for the first time since their spawn was over.
The biggest change, and most positive change, every year is what it means from a bait perspective. During the past month or so, prior to this period, the bass were lethargic. Generally we fished slow baits like football jigs, worms and creature baits, keeping contact with the bottom and taunting bass with plastics. With the shad spawn you can put those baits back in your tackle box and make your move to aggressive baits: swim jigs, chatter baits, spinner baits and top-water baits. These all become a factor, and catching is very productive and much more fun than it was during the slower period.
It is important to note that the timing of the shad spawn and the time of day that you should be on the water to enjoy this period is first light in the morning or the last 30 minutes of daylight. The reason for this is that as the sun rises and the shad wake up from their berth, they move aggressively over and around the grassy areas or structured and covered areas on your lake.
Depending on your lake, and the type of structure you normally see covering your lake, you must identify the likely spot where the shad spawn takes place. Spotting the right area quickly, for the shad spawn, is important so you can be in the right place, at the right time for the shad spawn. In other words, where it’s occurring on your lake is essential for success.
There is only one way to find this out and that is to cover the structure on your lake, during this period, with fast-moving baits, like spinner baits, while looking for the shad chasing your bait as you work it back to the boat. Once you spot them chasing your bait you will know the spawn is on!