Return to prespawn flats and throw topwater lures or floating worms for postspawn and summer bass action.
Knowing where to find largemouth bass during the postspawn and early summer and what lures to use aren’t secrets to serious anglers.
Three current and former cast-for-cash pros agreed the postspawn — the month after bedding ends — is almost a prespawn doppelganger.
“Bass back out of the shallows to the same places where they staged before going to the banks,” said Joel Richardson of Kernersville, N.C. (336-643-7214, www.joelgrichardson.com). “Later they’ll go deeper.
“But I think (postspawn) bass get disoriented. They’ve spent a month in the shallows, staying in the same spots making beds, laying eggs, males guarding bass fry. Their instincts to chase food get scrambled. But they gradually shake it off and move to mid-depth water — 5 to 12 feet – and become active again.”
“Prespawns, spawns and postspawns don’t happen at the same time at all lakes. Water from bottoms of (big lake) dams is cold, so spawning activity is often later downstream, especially near tail races.” — Marty Stone, 51, a four-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier with almost 25 years of tournament experience.
Jeff Thomas, 57, and a current FLW pro and bass guide (Carolina Outdoors, 919-770-4654), agreed with Richardson and Stone.
“To fish the postspawn you kind of reverse the spots you fished during the prespawn — secondary points (inside coves or feeder creeks) and flats in 10 to 12 feet of water,” he said. “Prespawn bass come out of deep water and go to those places, then shallow to spawn, then they go right back out. In normal springs, the postspawn happens in late May and the first couple of weeks in June. But bass aren’t real aggressive at the start (of the postspawn).”
Stone said his top postspawn lure is a Wacky Worm.
“I’ll throw it around any kind of hard cover — stumps, laydowns, boat docks,” he said. “It’s my No. 1 postspawn lure when I’m running down banks. All you have to do is put it close (to structure), let if fall and twitch it once. If the water’s clear, any kind of movement will make a bass eat to a Wacky Worm.”
Favorite natural colors include brown, green pumpkin or watermelon.
Topwater lures are his second choice.
“Try a frog or hard baits like a popper, Rico or Splash-It,” Stone said. “I work a Pop-R by pop-popping it, then wait 20 or 30 seconds. Bass will sit and watch it like a shark. Pop it again and they’ll roll up on it. But it has to have a skirt to cover the back treble.”
He also likes topwater lures with walking action when retrieved across shallow (1- to 3-feet-deep) red clay points.
“Late May and June are when the shad spawn starts,” he said. “I like to throw a walking bait on calm days (across points).”
Stone’s favorite frog lure to work at blowdowns is black with a black-nickel double-frog hook.
“I’ll also fish a 5-inch fluke (clear with black metal flake) or (shallow-diving) crankbait in bluegill colors (green back, chartreuse sides, white glitter),” he said.
A 48-year-old veteran angler, three-time Red Man All-American qualifier, five-time FLW Championship qualifier and FLW Tour Championship winner, Richardson said Stone’s topwater lures are effective.
But Richardson put buzzbaits at the top of his batting order.
“You can cover a lot of water with a buzzbait,” he said. “In the postspawn, bass will chase topwater baits on the high spots of shoals.”
If a bass misses a buzzbait, Richardson often casts a floating worm or light Carolina-rigged lizard at the same spot.
He said after-spawn bass favor medium-deep flats with stumps or pea gravel.
“Bass typically relate to rocks more than wood,” he said.
Thomas agreed Pop-Rs and buzzbaits are effective postspawn lures but added Zara Spook Juniors and Chug Bugs.
“And I’ll throw a spinnerbait when the (threadfin) shad spawn is going on in late May,” he said.
He prefers a ½- to ¾-ounce double willow-leaf spinnerbait with white/chartreuse gold or chrome/silver blades to toss near rocks.
“Herring or alewives have changed bass fishing at many lakes,” Richardson said. “They’ll school over deep water in summer. Walk-the-dog baits or 5-inch flukes on top will catch them.”