In my opinion, one of the most intriguing things in all of bass fishing is how bass find their way into remote spawning areas. The most interesting part, I think, is trying to decipher the circumstances that led these bass to that spawning location, and more so, the staging location they were in before getting to that remote spawning ground. For example, my friend’s fenced off horse field (shown in the photo) had a small pond dug behind it last winter the winter. The small river nearby, which has a few bass in it, got high last spring and filled in the pond. While the river was high around the first spawn wave, numerous big bass miraculously found their way into the pond and spawned, then left immediately as the river receded. Nothing other than instinct taught them the way into that new pond, and eventually convinced them it wasn’t a good idea to stay. This year I can’t find them staging anywhere near the pond, and last year I never found them in the immediate outlying area after they left.
This pond is a great example of a place that’s hot when it’s hot, and not when it’s not. These types of location are good to hunt for when the fish finally commit shallow for the spawn, but contrary to that, some final destinations have no definitive prespawn staging areas to target prior to their arrival. The lack of a pinpoint staging area makes it difficult to strategize and focus on prespawners. The bottom line is that if you want to get closer to mastering the prespawn stage, you have to work on mastering what locations make things easier for you as a bass fisherman. Sounds like common sense, but it can be very difficult to narrow down the options in a condensed timeframe.
It’s common knowledge that bass will stage adjacent to spawning coves. So why doesn’t every spawning cove/canal/flat have a place where they stack up before the spawn? Well, the biggest reason is the lack of transitions. What I mean is transitions in depth, bottom content, veggies, water clarity, water temp…whatever. It may be something as simple as a deep point leading into a canal, or it may be the dirty/clear mix at some point leading into a canal. Whatever the case may be, it’s so important for an angler to qualify the seriousness of a prespawn location by the variation of any transition. That transition is the main drawing factor, and the sharper the contrast, the more confident good prespawn anglers are in a spot’s potential, especially under time constraints. So this spring, why not focus on the sharper contrasting transitional areas first, then fill in the gaps with the ones that keep you “fishing around” for a while as you attempt to dial it in. It a plan that will maximize your time and success.