Bedding fish facts
by Mike Gerry
Over the many years of my fishing bass that are bedding, there are many beliefs that just do not hold water, no pun intended!
I do not know how many people call me, and tell me that they want to come fishing but want to make sure they miss the bedding time; they believe the bass will not bite during the spawn. Wrong! I catch more fish during the bedding time of year than any other time. The females protect the bed after they lay eggs and the males protect the beds while they are laying eggs.
Weather fronts do affect the bedding process as cold fronts continually move the bedding location until they spawn out! Their bodies do not like the change in water temperatures and change in water levels during the spawn.
It has been said that the bass need warm water to bed. The temperature estimates often used is about 68 degrees F. Well, this also is not the case, a bass has a biological clock that pushes them to spawn, many times, with water temperatures in the 50’s and all the way up to the low 80’s. Their body pushes them many times as late as early July, before many of the fish spawn. I have also caught post-spawn fish as early as the middle of February where the water has been as cold as the low 50’s. Besides their biological clock there are also many other factors that affect when bass spawn, such as moon phase, water levels, and water stability.
The belief to which most of us adhere is that bass only bed in shallow water and during the bedding time of year we hunt the shallows, including me. This belief is true! However, there are many times that I have caught bedding bass in 15 feet of water. In fact, in lakes where there is a lot of water level movement the bass traditionally bed deeper. Water level stability is a big part of the spawn. Many lakes only offer stable depths away from the shallow flats.
Lastly, many believe that the bass need clear water to bed; wrong again, you may not be able to see them bedding, but clear water is not a necessity at all.