Big fish moving shallow — seems like a can’t-miss opportunity with home run potential, right? 

Yes, the largemouth bass spawn can certainly bring the fireworks, but if you think you can just stick your nose into a creek or shallow pocket, flip a Texas-rigged plastic into one of those smoothed-out white spots and yank out a chunky one, think again.

Is it ever that easy? Sure. We’ve all heard the glory tales of “ready” fish and one-cast wonders. But if that were always the case, each spring tournament would see every angler weighing-in 20-plus sacks.

Truth be told, those lightning strikes are the exception to the rule: Plan on working long and hard for your spawn bites. These fish realize the vulnerability of their shallow migration and make no mistake; they don’t miss anything. You have to play their game; get inside their wheelhouse and leverage their preferences, tendencies and anxiety points. 

The exact formula varies day to day; sometimes fish to fish, as the variables of conditions, habitat and fishing pressure constantly shuffle the deck. 

For example, say it’s an overcast day and you luck into an established bed fish under a laydown where no one else has found her. That fish will likely display a higher level of comfort and, therefore, more aggression than a bass bedding in shallow clear water on an open bank with sunny, clear conditions that allow her to spot you as soon as you roll out of bed that morning.

We can’t cover everything in one conversation, but the following pointers