Tips for the Big, Bad Post-spawn Topwater Bass Bite
East Texas bass pro Kelly Jordon says the post-spawn bite is tough to beat; big bass are hungry, trying to recover from the spawn and willing to blast a topwater plug to smithereens
When the bass spawn starts to wind down, it doesn't mean good fishing during the spring season is over just yet.
Hardly says Kelly Jordon, the Flint, Texas, Major League Fishing bass angling pro who captured the MLF 2014 Summit Cup championship on Ray Roberts Lake.
In fact, KJ, a four-time winner on the BASS tournament circuits and a one-time winner on the FLW Tour, says the post-spawn is tough to beat for a bass fisherman.
For Jordon down south, this time is the month of May.
"May is my favorite month," said Jordon, the likable Lucky Craft pro. "Why? Because the fish bite so good."
The reason Jordon is so bullish on the bass potential during this time is due to the simple fact that after the spawn, most big bass are going to eventually go into recovery mode and eat.
It's a fact he figured out during his years as a guide on East Texas big bass factory, Lake Fork.
"It's the best month to me, the best time to be on the lake," said Jordon, a nine-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier.
One reason KJ feels that way is because bass will smash a topwater bait early on in a day's fishing action.
"It's a killer time to throw topwaters," Jordon agreed, noting he thinks that May – in his neck of the woods – could actually be the best topwater fishing month of the entire year.
Even with the spawn in the rearview mirror, Jordon says bass will still often be found in the shallow stuff after the spawn comes and goes.
As they fin in the skinny stuff, they'll often be hanging around growing lily pads, emerging grass beds, the mouths of creeks, near boat docks and places where bluegill spawn.
And since bluegill are avowed enemies of bass during the spring spawn, it's a natural form of payback time as big bass put the chow-hall hurt on spawning bluegill.
Find an area of bluegill beds and locate the deep water side and don't be surprised to find a hefty bass more than willing to look up as a lure rolls over head.
When such a tactic is working, one of Jordon's favorite topwater techniques is a buzzbait fished around emerging lily pads.
Other topwater lures he recommends include a Lucky Craft Sammy or a Lucky Craft G-Splash.
And don't forget KJ's signature Lucky Craft topwater baits, the Kelly J and the Kelly J Jr. prop baits.
According to Lucky Craft website information, the Kelly J and Kelly J Jr. incorporate some unique characteristics like a deep-lure profile and metal props on both the front and back ends of the bait.
Because of lure construction, the bait can either be reeled in with short jerks that spit water or it can be reeled in at a steadier pace to create a buzzbait like action on top.
Made especially for imitating small baitfish like shad and a variety of sunfish, Jordon says in the Lucky Craft info there are several tricks to successfully work this bait back to the boat.
One of the best is to toss the bait, let it sit there on the water with a decided pause and then give the bait a couple of quick pops to engage the props and to throw a little water around.
When the bait is moved in 6- to 12-inch spurts in relatively shallow water where post-spawn bass are holding, the results can be explosive since it's often hard for a largemouth to resist.
The 45-year-old East Texas bass pro, who has won some $1.8 million dollars during his tournament career, recommends anglers use at least 14-pound-test monofilament for topwater fishing, often bumping up to 17- and 20-pound-test lines.
Why so big? Jordon says the bigger line actually helps a topwater bait float a little bit better.
Conversely, the veteran MLF and BASS pro doesn't recommend the use of fluorocarbon line since it will sink and severely limit the action of topwater lures.
That said, an exception to his monofilament-line rule is when Jordon will tie 30- to 50-pound braid to a buzzbait or a hollow-bodied frog thrown in and around tough-stemmed lily pads and over dense-vegetation beds.
Such line helps him get a good hook set despite the vegetation and the ability to put the screws to a hooked fish, horsing the bucketmouth out of the salad when necessary.
Keep in mind that topwaters tossed during the post-spawn don't just work during the morning shift of fishing.
"A topwater will work all day at (this) time of the year, even in middle of the day, especially a buzzbait," said Jordon, who also has a Toyota Texas Bass Classic championship on his superb resume.
"Sometimes, they'll bite a buzzbait better in the middle of the day around 1 or 2 o'clock, especially around grass or lily pads."
And by the way, just when was that TTBC championship won by Jordon?
Would you believe on Lake Fork in late April of 2008? It may not have been May, but it was close enough.
Obviously, KJ is fond of bass fishing at just about any time of the year, but particularly as the spawn ends and the post-spawn begins each spring.
And regardless of what topwater bait a bass chooses to engulf, the fight is bound to be a good one right after the spawn as the hungry fish maximize their metabolism rates and spend a lot of energy in a fight at the end of a rod and reel.
Especially on Jordon's beloved Lake Fork, a lake that may not be what it once was, but is still pretty tough to beat come late spring as hungry fish exit the spawn.
"I'll tell you something about a Lake Fork bass,” said Jordon in a Toyota Texas Bass Classic press release.
"In my opinion, a Lake Fork bass is just about the baddest bass on the planet once they're hooked. They fight harder than any other bass that I've ever caught," he added.
"You hear people tell stories about hooking a bass that was so big that it couldn't jump, well, I've literally caught hundreds of Lake Fork bass over 10 pounds, and just about every single one of them has jumped and completely cleared the water."
And when that occurs during the post-spawn on a topwater bait, well then, you can begin to understand why this time of the year is a can't-miss time to be on the water.
Especially if your nickname is KJ and you live in the big bass rich Pineywoods of deep East Texas.