As Barren River Lake warms, Bass begin migration to prepare beds for spawning

By Don Ingram  
   As water surface temperatures rise, Bass transition from a spring pattern to a summer pattern. During spring, bass migrate from deep water toward shallow spawning areas.
   The migration route is usually a 45 degree bank running from a vertical channel bank toward a pocket or flat. Bass spawn in protected gravel pockets, along the 45 degree banks, on the gravel flats, or even on the bluff banks. Anglers will only see about five percent of the beds when Bass are spawning. Light penetration and water clarity dictate how deep the beds will be located.
   When water temperature reaches the mid to upper sixties, Bass begin fanning beds in the shallow pockets. A bed is where a Bass has selected to clear away silt and mud on the bottom to reach the fine gravel necessary to hold the eggs. Beds are easily identified by the light coloration on the bottom. Males are the first to appear and do most of clearing.
Once the beds are large enough and the water temperature is suitable, females will begin appearing on the beds.
   One thing to remember is all Bass do not spawn at the same time. The entire spawning cycle will last about 6 to 8 weeks depending on the weather and will be impacted to some degree by lunar phases. Once a female has moved a bed, she will stay on the bed for 3 or 4 days until the eggs are layed in the gravel. The eggs will hatch in about 7 to 10 days.
   When Bass are on the beds, they can be caught in several different ways. The key to catching bedding fish is understanding how to get the fish to react to a lure rather than eating the lure.
   Bass have different personalities and anyone who has ever fished for a bedding Bass understands this statement. One Bass may react and be caught on a plastic lizard while another won’t even acknowledge the bait. An angler must determine through trial and error which lure each individual fish will react too.
   When I attempt to catch Bass on the beds, I have a variety of rods, lures, and line diameter. I use a Prowler Bluegill, 3 inch flipping tube rigged on 17 pound P-Line flourocarbin line. For finicky fish, I have a Prowler Bluegill finesse tube rigged on a G-Loomis NRX spinning rod with 8 pound P-Line CXX clear line.
   I rig the finesse tube on an eighth-ounce weedless jig head. I also use a Prowler magnum lizard Texas rigged with a Mustad 4/0 soft plastic hook on 17 pound line with 3/16 ounce sinker. The best colors are june bug, green pumpkin, and pumpkin with a chartreuse tail.
   I alternate lizards, tubes, worms, crawfish and even jerkbaits until I see a fish react to a bait. Once a fish reacts to a certain bait, I continue using the lure until I catch the fish.
   The key to catching bedding fish is determining which lure causes the fish to react in an aggressive manner. Once the lure is identified the only thing left is persistence.

Don Ingram publishes an outdoor article entitled “Outdoors with Don Ingram” that is printed in various publications throughout Kentucky. He is a two-time All-American qualifier. Don has been very successful competing in tournaments in Kentucky and Tennessee. He has appeared on numerous outdoor television programs like, “Kentucky Afield,” Walmart’s “Great Outdoors,” and “Outdoors with Dave Shuffett,” aired on the Outdoor Life Network and the Outdoor Channel. Don is a Pro Staffer for the following companies: Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Shimano G-Loomis Rods, Bandit Bait Company, Prowler Soft Plastics, Mustad, Optima Batteries, Lunker Lure, and P-Line.

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