Bed Fishing-Pulling Bass off Their Nests
Bed Fishing- When an angler visually locates a bass protecting its bed and catches it off its nest during spawning season. Also known as spot fishing or sight fishing, bed fishing can be a controversial topic. Some fisherman challenge the ethics behind trying to pull a bass protecting its unborn young. Others thinks its an opportunity to catch and land more fishing.
When I think of spot fishing, I envision an eagle perched on a dead branch over-looking a lake scouting for its next meal. Waiting patiently until a fish rises to the surface. Once spotted, the eagle goes in for the kill. Having that in mind, bed fishing is not on my list as a way to catch fish. I have been seeing a lot of people bed fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass. Patiently jigging in their beds waiting for the fish to strike and catch.
After speaking with many different anglers, it seems they do not have an issue with sight fishing. Nor do they find it immoral to catch bass off their beds. As many think it is unsportsmanlike, these sight fishers believe its an easy time of year to catch more fish. A time for them to capitalize on the spring spawn. As this may be true, it is also a time to make sure the next season of eggs hatch. A time to protect the fish we love to catch and keep the bass population growing.
Sight fishing has become more popular over the years. Even though it is not wide spread for all anglers, there is a large group that prospect this opportunity once a year. When the bass protect their bed, it is not in its nature to feed. Its job is to solely protect. During this time of spawning season, both largemouth and smallmouth bass usually do not chase baits. If you do however run your lure through their bed they will strike in a defensive way.
There is also techniques to bed fishing bass. I found that each one of these "sight-fisherman" had a certain technique to pulling bass off their beds. The most popular one I encountered was a large nightcrawler on a darter head hook. I came across multiple anglers using this technique. Dropping the nightcrawler right in the middle of their bed was an effective approach for these fisherman. I saw it first-hand with 3 different anglers and each hooked onto a fish. Also, there was others using a minnow or leach and placing it right in the middle of its bed.
Another popular technique is jigging right in the middle of the bass bed. As this approach may take longer, anglers will jig a swimbait, tube, or senko to annoy the bass and force it to strike. Sometimes anglers will spend 20-30 minutes jigging in front of bass to make them mad and strike the jig. The bass will grab the jig with its mouth and forced it off its bed. At that point, anglers set the hook. The fish is not feeding, its protecting.
Whether you agree with bed fishing or not, we all need to make sure these bass are released as soon as possible. Even if you are not trying to sight fish, you can still catch largemouth or smallmouth bass on their beds during spawn season. When the bass are off their beds for a extended period on time, this leaves their eggs open to predators. Even if it doesn't seem like a long time, an open nest has lingering fish go in and eat their eggs. Another factor to take into consideration is when bass are kept out of the water for an extended period of time, they will abandon their nest.
We all love bass fishing. Whether you are bed fishing or not, spawning season should be a time we all make sure the fishing are quickly released. We should all do our best to get that fish right back in the water. Allowing the next generation of bass to grow and keep them multiplying.