Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Iowa Post-Spawn

What a spring is has been...cold, colder, rain, more rain, a little warmth, cold, more rain pretty much sums up the month of May.  May has always been my favorite month to fish for bass, but this May had to be one of the worst ever for that.  Rivers were out of control, many lakes are clouded, or dirty, however there is always fish to be caught.  This past weekend took me to a smaller Iowa lake  that covers about 150 acres.  It is known for some HUGE bass and I haven't bass fished it for over a decade.  With the Mississippi River still really high and the local Wapsi not cleaning up as fast as I thought, it was time to give the lake another try to see if we could catch one of those famous BIG BASS.  David Gissel and I scoured the shallows looking for what we thought might be the tail end of the spawn.  We saw dozens upon dozens of bluegills and crappies cruising the shallows and just a few largemouth bass.  The bass wanted nothing to do with our offerings and only chased them for awhile before turning back and returning to where they were first located.  This was a neat ritual to see in the clean water at first, but became very annoying as we couldn't catch those fish...they were not feeding and they made it quite obvious.  This led us to believe that the bass were in the post-spawn mood/habitats.  We decided to head to deeper water near some brush.  Immediately we picked up a couple nice keeper bass.  Texas Rigged tubes, and stick baits were casted out and brought back slowly for these bites.  However, it seemed as though only a couple fish lived there.  We decided to try some deeper shorelines and keep our baits in the deeper water.  We picked up a few more bass doing this.  Fast retrieved baits never caught a fish today, which was a surprise to the both of us.  Another rig that worked well was a Hot Rod Baits Big Craw rigged on swing-head jig.  I was able to work this bait ever-so slowly through and around the deeper brushpiles scattered on the lake bottom, it even produced our biggest fish of the day.  This rig has become more and more of a go-to rig for me in the last few years for covering water at a slow pace while maintaining bottom contact.  You can fish it faster than a jig or Carolina Rig and it seems to get more bites too.  I throw this 1/2ounce rig on a 7'2" G-Force Quantum R
The Biggest of the day
od with a QuantumPT Vapor Reel
in the 6.3:1 speed ratio.  I experimented with several rods and reel ratios and this one covers all the important aspects for me.  I can cast it long distances with the Med/Hvy rod and Vapor reel, and the extra fast action tip of the rod gives me the sensitivity to feel the bottom content and the strength to set the hook.  It is a fantastic combo for this set up.

It was a day of decisions and surprises for us today.  We had the spawn on our minds and picking fish off beds, but they simply were not there.  This was a classic day of letting the fish tell you where they are and what they want to eat.  We made the right decisions to make it a good day of fishing, even though neither of us caught that lake monster we were hoping for.
Close-up of the SWING-HEAD Jig

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