The good Lord knows that postspawn bass will be hungry, so He timed nature’s progression to make sure those recuperating fish had plenty to eat. Bluegill sacrifice many of their numbers to feed the bass who were probably holding a grudge for all that nest raiding the bream attempted. However, the spring shad spawn often prompts bass to some mighty strategic movements.
“The last stage of the spawn coincides with the shad spawn, so some of the bass will leave their beds to snack on spawning shad and then return,” said Bassmaster Elite pro John Crews. “Also, postspawners will feed on shad.”
Where it happens: Hard edges like docks, seawalls and grass lines. Look for the flickering and flashing of thousands of baitfish doing the hippity-dippity.
When it happens: Shad spawn at night, with about an hour of activity after daybreak. Cloudy or overcast skies can extend the frenzy past this period.
What to throw: Moving baits are most common with spinnerbaits, swimbaits, swim jigs and shallow running crankbaits — all in chartreuse, whites, and grays to match the shad.
Jordan Lee, the 2017 Bassmaster Classic champ from Alabama, knows that docks near the entrance/exit to spawning pockets can be good bets for intercepting postspawners and shad spawns. He likes to pitch jigs, but he’ll also throw moving baits like a squarebill crankbait. To that list, Crews adds a white Spro Popping frog.
Whatever your preference, keep your distance, stay off the shad and work your baits aggressively. This is a time of great activity, and mimicking the mayhem gets you bit.