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Shad and Bluegill Spawn Tactic

If you have ever fished around a shad or bluegill spawn for bass, you know the action can be fast and furious while these prey fish are up shallow conducting their business and the bass are there taking advantage of the feeding opportunity. When you have an area like this to yourself, you can typically catch bass on a variety of baits like the SlingbladeZ spinnerbait, your favorite Z-Man Fishing Chatterbait, or the CrosseyeZ Snakehead Swim Jig. Targeting bass taking advantage of the shad and bluegill spawn can be a great way to catch numbers of bass and quality sized bass.

The typical scenario that plays out is that you have found a shad or bluegill spawn but, so did several other anglers. Having to share these fish with other anglers or even fish behind other anglers when targeting a shad or bluegill spawn, can sometimes make the bass appear to have lock jaw. When faced with this scenario, I believe you need to tone down your presentation. A great way to combat the pressure from the other anglers is to "match the hatch" so to speak.

I have found that the Texas Eye jighead paired with either a DieZel MinnowZ or a MinnowZ is a subtler presentation that will fool the bass. I have not found any limits to where you can present this bait combination. It can be skipped under overhanging trees, under docks, and between dock floats. You can also fish this bait combination around any type of wood cover like cypress trees, laydowns, and flooded bushes. The weedless rigging of the Texas Eye jighead virtually eliminates any worries of hanging the bait up. It also excels around rocks, grass, and in open water. The enticing wobbling action of the Texas Eye jighead and swimbait combination will draw the strikes and the sharp strong hook will put the bass in the boat.

To fish around a shad spawn, I like to start with a 3/16 oz Texas Eye jighead and pair it with a Pearl / Blue Glimmer colored DieZel MinnowZ. I will fish it on a Dobyns Champion Series 683 XP bait casting rod with either 14 or 16-pound Gamma Edge Fluorocarbon line. I will vary my line size depending on how heavy the cover is I am fishing around. With three weight options available in the Texas Eye jighead, I can also vary the weight of the jighead to run the bait shallower or deeper depending on the level the fish want it at. A slow steady retrieve, in and through the cover, is a consistent fish producer. Another great way to draw a reaction strike is to steadily retrieve the bait and then kill your retrieve to allow the bait to sink briefly in the cover you are in. Once you have allowed the bait to sink briefly, quickly start your retrieve again and be ready for a vicious strike.

To go after bass around bedding bluegill, I like to pair a 3/16 oz Texas Eye jighead with a MinnowZ in Houdini color. When I find bluegills on beds, I will cast the bait combination past the beds and use a steady retrieve over the top of the bluegill beds. As soon as I clear the edge of the bluegill bedding area, I will kill the bait and let it sink to the bottom. Once The bait touches bottom, I will lift my rod and start a steady retrieve back to the boat. Most strikes will occur when the bait is wobbling to the bottom or right when I lift my rod and start the retrieve back to the boat. If the bass are not responding well to the this retrieve, I will cast the bait combination past the bedding area and use a twitching retrieve over the top of the bluegill beds. This is a steady retrieve while mixing in small twitches of the rod tip to make the bait act nervous or erratic as it comes over and clears the bluegill beds.

The next time you find yourself around spawning shad or bluegill, tie on a Texas Eye Jighead, rig it with your favorite colored MinnowZ or DieZel MinnowZ, and give these presentations a try. You might be surprised how well the fish react to this subtler way of getting a reaction strike.

-Z-Man Ambassador

Jeff Lugar

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