May 13, 2016
Wacky-Rigged Senko-type Plastics
Bass can be fickle during the post-spawn period, and I find there are few things in my tackle box that work as well as a wacky-rigged Senko-type soft plastic does this time of year. I like to fish mine weighted; it allows me to cover more water a bit quicker. These baits will work just about anywhere there's bass. Be careful in heavy cover; the exposed hook can get snagged easily.
Where I throw this bait depends on how far along the bass are into the post-spawn. Early on, I'll try to target flats and shallow points close to spawning areas. If there's a row of docks nearby, that makes the area even better. As fish move closer to summertime areas, I'll try to target bluffs and steep ledges not far from the spawning areas. Fish it slow, but shake it aggressively in place. You will catch bass.
A squarebill crankbait is a great option during the post-spawn because it not only imitates shad, but also a variety of brim. Brim and shad usually spawn shortly after bass and often in the same areas. This makes brim and shad prime targets for hungry bass just finishing their spawn run.
The key to fishing squarebill crankbaits this time of year is to get it to bounce off of cover. I want the fish to react to it out of instinct. Whether it's ripping the squarebill free of grass, making it come into contact with wood or rock, or bouncing it off a dock post, it needs to come into contact with cover. I typically want my squarebill to have some chartreuse in it this time of year, because I feel it gives me the opportunity to mimic both brim and shad.
Zara Spook (Walking Topwater Lures)
A walking topwater, such as a Zara Spook, is something I pull out towards the end of the post-spawn period. As bass begin to transition into summertime areas, they begin to key in on shad more aggressively. If the water has a decent amount of visibility, I find I can cover a lot of water and ranges of depth with a walking topwater lure.
Once the end of the post-spawn period is near, I'll start searching for bass on points, bluff ends and other structures near deep water towards the back of creeks leading into the main lake. A walking topwater will call up bass in deep water, especially if the water is clear.
I only use three different retrieves with the spook. There are times when bass prefer the topwater worked with a tight walk and quick cadence. Other times, they want a wider walk and slower cadence. Finally, there are times when they want a topwater paused during the retrieve. Be sure to experiment to find what they want on that particular day. Once I've found bass with a topwater and stop catching them, I'll mop up the same area with bottom-oriented lures and presentations.