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After the spawn

We're all very aware of and keep a close eye on the bass and bream spawn but in between the two is the shad spawn. The shad are doing their thing and the bass fry have grown a little and are starting to roam more. The adult bass have a full buffet and are tough to catch when you're still throwing what you were three or four weeks prior so the post spawn "funk" gets the blame.

To beat the "funk" we have to serve what's on the menu by downsizing baits, but keep tackle heavy because this is all happening in and around cover. The bass fry will be three to four inches long, shad fry two to three inches, and adult shad four to five inches long so we have to match it. My three favorites are 4" Pop ShadZ, DieZel MinnowZ, and StreakZ 3.75. They perfectly handle all three depths and they can all be rigged weedless when needed.

4" Pop ShadZ are perfect in the morning or all day in pad fields and quickly get us our top water fix. Most of my fishing is in heavy cover so I always rig it weedless on a 5/0 Gamakatsu Superline EWG and 55lb. Daiwa Samurai braid. Glenn has an excellent video for open water treble hook rigging.

DieZel MinnowZ are one of the most versatile baits in this line up. It is a ChatterBait trailer, Project Z Swim Jig trailer, and in this case used alone. Weedless on Gamakatsu Superline EWG Weighted 1/8oz. 4/0 hook is my go to. I use 14lb. fluorocarbon and make long casts across spawning flats and work it mid depth though grass and pads. A 6'10" MH Tatula rod is my preference for the heavy cover but hook sets can be tricky. When you feel a strike wait until the rod loads and use a side sweep hook set to keep from ripping the hook out. In light cover glass or composite rods are perfect.

StreakZ 3.75 are used for two purposes when bass are eating fry and the shad spawn is going. If cover is fairly light I rig it on a Gamakatsu EWG 4/0 with an unpegged 3/16oz tungsten weight and maintain close bottom contact through the cover. This application is for later in the day when the sun is high and the bass have moved deeper. For thicker cover where bass will hit top water all day I will use it in combination with the 4" Pop ShadZ to make a second run through an area. Rigging for this I use a Gamakatsu Superline EWG 4/0 and 55lb. Daiwa Samurai Braid. The heavy wire hook helps with casting but allows the bait to stay super shallow and be worked through thick pads and grass.

Tight lines guys!!! And wear your PFD.

Z-Man Pro

Kelly Keith

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