May
07

Spawning Largemouth Bass!

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As I have mentioned in earlier blog posts my fascination with spawning fish began when I was a young boy watching the behavior of Bass and Sunfish which are the easiest bedding fish to find and watch.

Later in my early teen’s I was still observing spawning fish on their beds and it was my favorite time to fish, I had a couple of lakes that I would fish from rock cliffs, I could sneak into my spot way above the bedding fish and sight cast to the beds.
One time I witnessed a male largemouth Bass repeatedly taking a Painted turtle in it’s mouth and spitting it out several feet from the nest, I realized that the turtle was trying to eat the bass eggs.

I tossed a spinnerbait to the bed and the bass grabbed it instantly, I couldn’t feel anything, I lifted the rod to set the hook only because I could see that the bass had in-hailed my offering but the spinnerbait came right back out of it’s mouth and I never felt a thing! I wouldn’t have believed it, if I hadn’t witnessed it myself.

I was amazed, I was very in-tune to the feel of a bass hitting each type of lure I fished with especially rubber worms.

But a bass swallowing my lure and me setting the hook on nothing and feeling nothing even though I could see my lure in it’s mouth was an awesome learning experience, I didn’t realize it all then, I still learn from it today!
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In the last few years I have seen lures simulating turtles and It brings me back to the day I saw the turtle and bass going at it.
Although I haven’t thrown a turtle bait, It’s safe to assume it would make a great lure to attract bedding fish.

I’m not going to go into all the obvious info that you can find in any generic article about bass spawning, at least not in this post but I would like to touch on little known facts about the spawning habits of the Largemouth Bass with no particular order just as they come to mind.

First was my observation above, a big bass can be holding your junk in it’s mouth and you have no clue as it spits it back out of its nesting area.

Bass will spawn in deeper water than the normal 3-6 foot depths especially in clear lakes. I have seen bass on beds in 15 feet of water.

The male is ready to spawn 1 year after it’s first birthday and should be about 10 inches in length at that time.

The male builds the nest first then waits for a female partner.

A male bass is capable of spawning with more than one female.
The mortality rate of male bass is high during the spawn because they build then defend the nest for 2 weeks after the spawn when the fry can leave the nest on their own, they do not feed during this time so they can be left very weak after the spawn.
Young female bass 2-4 years old have way less fear than a large experienced female, they will be very predictable and not as cautious as Mama bass about the location they chose for spawning.

A female Bass could be so big that there is not a dominant male large enough or excuse my expression but with the balls to mate with her.

Individual bass spawn at different times during the spawning season, they don’t all start on the same day. There can be weeks in between.

The spawning period of the Largemouth Bass is regulated much by moon phases and not just water temperature.

A female bass can chose not to spawn at all! Many reasons could influence this,
not enough dominant males.
To crowded with spawning beds, a bass want’s it’s privacy and likes to be about 30 feet from other active bedding bass. Too much fishing pressure can also have an effect on when or if big Mama bass spawns at all.

If you catch a big female with eggs in her well after the spawn, those are not next years eggs, she has only partially spawned or chosen not to spawn at all, she will then try to absorb her own eggs.

The actual spawn, “when the female releases her eggs and the male fertilizes them” can take from 1 to several hours but happens in 1 day.

The weakend female returns to her pre-spawn locations on cover in deeper water, these ares are now known as post spawn spots and will become the best area to fish as the female regains her composure.

The boss man stays and plays Mr. Mom for a couple of weeks until it’s offspring is ready to venture off on their own.

How do I know all this stuff? Years of hands on fishing, reading and retaining fishing info like a sponge, in school I was the kid studying the Field and Stream magazine carefully hidden in my math folder, heck you don’t have to know algebra to count fish!~

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