To Cast or Not to Cast
There are a few basic factors to think about when the urge to actively pursue spawning fish arises. If you feel like this is the only way to catch a particular species of fish then chances are either you are doing something wrong, or there is something wrong with what you are doing. Think Steelhead, trout, and salmon for a moment, over the last few years to decade annual runs of these fish seem to be going down in sheer numbers but yet fishing pressure is going up. It is imperative for the future of the fishery the spawning habits of these fish not be disturbed. There are often fish both up and down stream of actively spawning pairs which on the prowl for bait and ready to be caught.
When it comes to bass fishing it tends to be a different story. A simple Google search for “bed fishing” will return thousands of results and hundreds of YouTube videos. Most of which are tips and tactics suggestive of the fact that it is a perfectly acceptable practice. There is however some debate in this practice. First think of the location of the fishery. Up here in the “great white north” of bass fishing the grow season is short and has the potential to be even shorter depending on when winter weakens its grip on spring.
Did you happen to stumble upon a largemouth bed in a deeper smallmouth fishery or vice versa? If a species’ presence to a body of water seems to be on the rebound it is best left be. If it happens to be a healthy fishery, and if size and quantities are plentiful and consistent, look to see if the fish is parried or solo and the abundance of possible predators or dangers to the proximity of the bed. If there is little harm to the nest then cast away, if danger lurks in predatory form and the nest may be left guard-less be weary of your actions.
When the urge to bash the beds occurs, it is imperative to practice CPR, also known as Catch, Photo, Release. The less stress and strain on a fish the less likely the catch will interfere with the spawning stage of a fish’s life cycle. Consider single hook artificial baits, possibly even barbless, for a guaranteed release. Not to mention most of the time, when fishing spawning bass, they are not in season.
The “spawn” can be an exciting time to both see and catch fish, or at least scout what fish you have the opportunity to pursue later in a given fishery. If you are respectful of the surroundings and all of the factors at play and it’s possible that a bedding bass may just make your day.
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