Out of all the patterns that anglers can find when out on the water, the shad spawn is arguably one of the most exciting. Generally, this event starts directly after the bass get done spawning once the water temperature gets around 70 degrees. Thousands of baitfish can congregate in a single area causing bass to get in groups and take advantage of this easy meal opportunity. With the right approach, you can use this period to catch giant stringers of fish.
During the shad spawn, the baitfish are finding any sort of shoreline cover that is adjacent to deep water and using it to lay their eggs. Grass, bushes, docks, riprap, and even seawalls can all be spawning areas for shad. Oftentimes you can tell shad are using an area by seeing them flicker on top of the water or even by just seeing bass feed on them. These baitfish will spawn at night and in low-light hours of the day, so it is important that you make the most of these times. Once you know what you are looking for, it is time for you to begin considering what baits you are going to use to target fish.
Vega Frog - One of our favorite baits to throw during this time of year is a Vega Frog in ‘Ivory White’ or ‘Shad Spawn’. This lure is a subtle presentation that can be fished almost anywhere around shallow cover. Being almost completely weedless, this bait excels when fished around any flooded trees or vegetation.
Provoke 106X - The Provoke 106X in ‘Ghost pro shad,’ or ‘Shad Scales,’ is a stellar option to fish around any sort of docks, bluff walls, or shoreline rock that bass may be using as ambush points. The erratic action of this lure is enough to trigger reaction strikes from bass that may not be interested in anything else.
Divine Swim Jig - A swim jig is arguably the most versatile bait that you can use to target bass during the shad spawn. Simply pair this lure with one of our Divine Swimbaits and fish it around submerged vegetation, docks, flooded bushes, and pretty much anything else that shad can spawn on. Let your desired depth range dictate the size of the jig you use. Some colors we recommend are ‘Pro Blue’ and ‘Lavender Shad.'
Speed Wake - The Speed Wake is a widely overlooked but highly effective option to catch actively feeding bass during the shad spawn. By making long casts and implementing a fast retrieve, you can efficiently cover water and locate fish. Our recommended colors for this bait are ‘Bone Reactor’ and ‘4K Gizzard.'
Catwalk - Designed with a unique keel shaped belly design, the Catwalk is a staple for fishing during the shad spawn. This bait excels when casted around grass, points, bluff walls, and any other shoreline structure that you can fish it through without being snagged. The loud one-knocker style rattle in this bait paired with its wide gliding action can call fish in from long distances. Two of our personal favorite colors are ‘Shad Scales’ and ‘Sensory Shad.'
Divine Underspins - The Divine Underspin is an option that really allows you to finesse fish and “match the hatch”. The subtle flash from this lure is enough to get the attention of feeding bass. Paired with a Divine Swimbait, this bait is one of our favorites for targeting bass that receive a lot of fishing pressure.
SplashBack - Being a slightly more finesse topwater option, the SplashBack series of poppers is a great bait to use once you have already located an area holding bass. With a slow retrieval cadence, you can effectively provoke strikes from bass that may be weary from fishing pressure. The deep keel and uniquely designed mouth work together to provide a bait that can walk, chug, and spit like no other. In this bait, we recommend the colors ‘4K Shad’ or ‘Spanish Bone.'
Success during the shad spawn is found in the small details of your bait presentations. Once you get into an area holding fish, keep your presentations simple and try to “match the hatch” as much as possible.
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