Bass fishing is divided into three time periods —pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn. We are in the spawning period on most lakes now. Largemouth bass will either have red tails from fanning the nest or will be full of eggs. This is a time to practice catch and release and let nature do its job to replenish the fish supply for future fisherman.
Male bass will find suitable areas for the nest, or bed, as some fisherman call it, and the female will come in and lay many eggs which they will then guard for a while. The bass will fan their tails around the eggs to remove dust and silt and to make better oxygen in the water. This fanning action will make the bass have a red tail. This and catching a female bass full of eggs is a sign the spawn is underway.
The female bass will be larger than the male bass when you see them together. Bass now must watch their nest to keep from having their eggs eaten by bluegill and other smaller fish. Lizards can also get to the eggs. This makes baits that resemble and act like lizards and small bluegill good choices for catching fish.
Some very big bass have been caught during the spawning period. Bass on the beds are spooked easily and the angler has to be as quiet as possible and use very light tackle and light line and fish with a lot of patience. Look in shallow and backwater areas for bass holding on the nest and stay as far back as you can and use light line in the 8- to 12-pound test range.
Good bait choices include tube baits, small worms, small jerk baits and lizards. All these baits look like a natural enemy to the bass and they will respond to them in most cases. Make your cast past the nest and very slowly move the bait closer to the nest. The male bass will often pick the bait up and move it away from the nest. In many cases they will get mad enough to try to kill the bait.
Often, however, it will take several casts to get a bass to strike during the spawn. This can be a slow way to fish, but can offer big rewards.