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How To

Two-Pronged Approach to Bed Fish

To properly pursue spawning fish, you must first determine if you’re seeing them, or if you’ll have to blind cast.

With blind casting, that could be a function of daily conditions like clouds and wind, which decrease clarity. You may actually have bass in your area that would be vulnerable to sight fishing tactics, but the lack of visibility would minimize your effectiveness — often to the point of spooking fish off beds that you may not spot until you’re right over them.

The logic of blind casting simply means covering water ahead of the boat as you stealthily advance into likely areas. Casting forward, between 11 and 1 is the key, as you want to identify your hot zones before the fish respond to your presence

Moving baits are best here, so send those swim jigs, bladed jigs and spinnerbaits into duty. Soft plastics can also play a valuable role in this pursuit, especially a stick bait rigged on a Mustad Big Bite Soft Plastics Hook. Another highly effective blind casting bait is a medium swimbait on a Mustad Grip-Pin Swimbait Hook.

Whatever you chose to blind cast, your main objective is to visually locate areas with bedding fish. Bass on beds are highly territorial, so they’ll often make short sprints to chase away passing threats. If they bite the bait, great; but even if they only swirl or wake behind the lure, they give up their location so you can approach for sight-fishing tactics.

The other scenario in which sight fishing may be limited is when the fish bed in and around vegetation. With hard lines, such as pencil reeds, cattails, tules and Roseau cane, the fish typically position along the edges; often inside any holes or notches in the vegetation. You can usually see these fish, but when they’re bedding amid flooded bushes or way back inside those reeds, cane and any vertical vegetation, it’s tough to spot them from a distance. In this case, flip/pitch worms or creature baits Texas rigged on Mustad KVD Grip Pin flipping hooks into likely areas.

When you locate a bed fish, posture and mood will guide your bait choice. Often, simply approaching a bed will send the fish running. It’s not necessarily game-over; and if the fish returns, then you know to go light and easy. In this case, a small creature bait or stick worm on a 3/0 Mustad KVD Grip-Pin flipping hook with a light weight is a good choice.

If the fish seems indecisive or jittery, scale back even more. One of the best options for a tough bed fish is a drop shot. Vary your leader length to find that right depth where a finesse worm on a Mustad Titan-X Wacky/Neko pushes the fish over the edge.

If you locate a bed fish that holds its ground and immediately starts varying its depth and angle while closely glaring at a bait, you have a hot one that will definitely bite. Tip: Start with a full size creature bait, lizard or big worm to work the fish into a frenzy. If they won’t commit, Texas rig a tube on a Mustad Grip-Pin Soft Plastic Hook and get ready to lean back.

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