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6 Tips for Bass Fishing Success During the Shad Spawn

It’s Shad Week, brought to you by Lurenet – just in time for the shad spawn in many areas. Let’s look at how to make the most of the great bass catching opportunity that occurs when bass spawn.

When shad spawn, which typically happens shortly after the bass spawn, bass pile in spawning areas to feast on concentrations of distracted baitfish. This leads to opportunities for some of the most exciting fish-catching action of the year.

The shad spawn and associated hot bite comes and goes quickly most days, so it’s important be on point with your bass fishing game. These tips can help you get the most out of the shad spawn this spring.

Be in Place Early

starting early to fish shad spawnstarting early to fish shad spawn

Bass anglers are accustomed to starting early. However, “early” often means meeting at the ramp around daylight, getting in a launch line and eventually launching and riding to a starting spot. That’s good for a head start for a typical spring day of fishing but not for making the most of the shad spawn.

The shad spawn begins at daybreak or even slightly before and it typically wanes in a spot when direct sunlight hits a spot in the water. Therefore, you need to research spots, know where you want to start and launch early enough to be in that place, rigged and ready, BEFORE daylight.

Prime areas for the shad spawn are somewhat protected from the strongest currents and waves and feature hard surfaces for the shad’s eggs to adhere to. Riprap banks, bridge pilings, docks and reed-like vegetation are well suited for shad to spawn around.

If you’re fishing familiar waters or have access to local intel, you most likely know key shad spawn areas that provide a starting point. Alternatively, look at lake maps and satellite imagery together to identify a good starting area and nearby backup spots. However you pick your spot, be intentional about a plan to arrive early and enjoy the full opportunity.

You’ll know it if you’re in the right spot if it’s happening because you’ll see and hear shad darting and flipping on top and bass attacking them.

Ready Your Arsenal

buzzbait for fishing shad spawnbuzzbait for fishing shad spawn

Whether you prefer having only a couple of rods or a dozen rods out, rig every line with shad spawn baits and have backups handy in case you break off. Because the shad spawn is short lived each day, and the action is often fast, you want to get in as many casts as possible while it’s happening and don’t want to waste time searching for the bait you want.

Top baits for fishing the shad spawn have a couple of things in common. First, they suggest fleeing shad – whether by profile, flash or color. I addition, they are designed to keep moving and prompt reactions during a flurry. Some days, the bass will relate best to a spinnerbait, swim jig, crankbait, topwater lure or some other specific bait, so it’s good to have options that you can turn to quickly.

5 Great Shad Spawn Baits

  1. Bandit 100, Chartreuse Shad
  2. War Eagle Screaming Eagle, Firecracker
  3. Heddon One Knocker Spook, Bone
  4. BOOYAH Buzz, Snow Whie Shad
  5. YUM Pulse, Pearl White

Keep Baits Moving

crankbait basscrankbait bass

The shad spawn is chaotic, with shad weaving back and forth as they spawn and fleeing bass and other gamefish that are invariably present. The shad seldom stay still, so a bait that stays moving looks more natural. The bass are only there for the feast, so they react to lures that stay on the move.

Quick presentations also provide an additional benefit, the importance of which was highlighted with the previous point. They allow you to maximize the number of casts you made in order to strike while the iron is hot.

Keeping the bait moving doesn’t necessarily mean burning everything or keeping presentations steady. Sometimes swimming a crankbait at a moderate pace or working a jerkbait erratically is the key to getting bit. Mix up baits and presentations and pay attention to what makes the fish react.

Follow the Shadows

bass fishing riprapbass fishing riprap

When you’re evaluating potential starting areas, try to identify multiple spots that have good shad spawn potential and are near one another but are oriented differently.

Considering the orientation, begin in the areas that will get hit by the first sunlight. As sunlight creeps in and the action falls off (which often happens as if someone flipped a switch) move to another area that remains shaded. Some of that is obvious by simple east-west orientation. However, unless you know the area well, you must watch the shadows as the morning progresses. Some areas have undercuts, high banks or overhanging trees that prolong the shade and that aren’t obvious from looking at maps or even a satellite view.

Of course, a best-case scenario is a very dark day where no sun ever shines into the water. There’s no guarantee, but usually the morning bite will extend longer – sometime significantly longer – on heavily cloudy days.

Work the Vicinity

big spinnerbait bassbig spinnerbait bass

While the frenzy ends when the shad quit spawning each day, this phenomenon draws a lot of bass to areas, and those fish generally won’t stray far for the rest of the day. That’s important to keep in mind as you fish the rest of the day.

The patterns you pursue the rest of the day might be slow and deep, with virtually nothing in common with the way you fished at first light. However, if you look in areas that fit the pattern and are in the vicinity of shad spawn areas, you are far more likely to find bass hold in those spots than in similar locations that aren’t near shad spawn banks.

Related to vicinity, this doesn’t mean you need to stay in the area where you worked the shad spawn. Often, those areas exist in many parts of a lake. Instead, keep the characteristics of shad spawn areas in mind as you fish and give extra attention to potentially productive spots that are near those kinds of baits.

Toss ‘Em a Bone

Bone is a longtime favorite color for imitating shad because it flashes a natural look and is highly visible. Traditionally, Bone colored lures are all hard baits, like a Super Spook, Model A or Bandit 100. Knowing the tremendous appeal of Bone this time of year, YUM and BOOYAH are doing limited-run releases of select spinnerbaits, swim jigs and soft plastic baits in Bone.

Bone Series Baits