It’s not like bass wake up on the wrong side of the bed every morning after the spawn, but they do. For bass postspawn is a time for some R&R after the ritual of reproduction has completed. The last thing they want is a lure waking across the surface above them.
Traditionally, the postspawn period is the peak time for fishing wake baits. Bass are migrating back to summertime habitat following the same pathways they did as moving up shallow to spawn. The only difference is they are looking for bream and other sources of forage to feed on to renew lost body weight due to reproduction.
There are several styles and models of wake baits available. Each one seems to be built a little different. One thing they do have in common is the signature V-wake made on the surface when retrieved.
A V-Wake on the surface during postspawn is a dinner bell for bass because it imitates a fleeing shad or bluegill. Of course a bass has to be able to see the V-wake that shad or bluegill make so water clarity is vital. Too much wind also has negative results since it’s impossible for a wake bait to make a V-wake.
Some of the best locations are obvious. Secondary points and main lake points will always be productive. These locations offer open and deep water access with a constant supply of roaming schools of forage to feed on. Big underwater boulders and rocky areas will also hold large school of suspending bass.
Less obvious locations are the next best place to fish a wake bait. Lay downs are often overlooked, but bass will suspend next to the trunk or tip of the branches depending on water clarity and time of day. The best way to fish a lay down is to cast up near shore by the tree root and reel back parallel to truck.
The shady side of boat docks on shallow lakes are another great spot to catch postspawn bass. Again it’s a great ambush point while offering a hiding place. Also stumps in 8- to 12-feet of water will have suspending postspawn bass around them.
If you want to know when to start fishing a wake bait just look at the beds. When the bass start spawning or you see a lot of empty beds, you should be casting a wake bait.
Picking the right wake bait depends on the conditions you are fishing. Overall, one of the best wake bait for all species of fish is the Cotton Cordell RedFin. It renowned for being able to make a wake without requiring any modification to the bill or hooks.
RedFins come in several sizes and in a jointed model. The jointed model makes more noise and has more action than the one piece model. Recently it was exposed as a secret lure for tournament anglers fishing on Table Rock where the largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass were being caught on it during a postspawn tournament.
Bomber 15A is renowned for catching largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass during the postspawn. The original Bomber 15A maybe the worst kept secret when it comes to wake bait lures and lure modifications. It’s well-known by flattening the lip, the action of this lure becomes more erratic and irresistible to bass.
Other productive wake baits include the Jackall Mikey Jr., Ima Roumba or Deps Buzzjet. Handcrafted balsa wood wake baits is another option if you can find them to purchase.
No matter which wake bait you fish with it should be tied on with a loop knot. A loop knot will keep the front end of the wake bait from digging in and diving deeper; in addition to letting the lure have more freedom to swim back and forth.
Having the right tackle is crucial when fishing a wake bait. Spinning tackle is perfect because lightweight lures can be casted long distances, the angle of the fishing rod is upright and plenty of monofilament fishing line that slowly sinks can be put on.
A great combination for lightweight or handmade balsa wood wake bait is a WaveSpin Legend 250 (www.wavespinreel.com) on a 7 foot medium action spinning rod. It’s smaller size makes it easy to hold all day and moderate 5.2:1 gear ration keep the retrieve slow enough to keep the wake bait just under the surface. A wake bait will not get a strike if it’s being reeled below the surface.
When you are fishing a RedFin or larger wake bait the WaveSpin DH 3000z is better because the larger spool allows more line to be stored on the reel. Both of these reels have the guaranteed no tangle technology built into the spool that will eliminate tangles, loops or bird nests, in addition to a superior drag system that can land a bass or game fish that bites your wake bait.
Postspawn isn’t the only time fish will bite a wake bait. During the fall, once the water temperature drops below 65 degrees the wake bait bite will be on. Smallmouth, largemouth and spotted bass aren’t the only fish willing to bite a wake bait as stripers, hybrids, white bass and other game fish will also strike a wake bait being reeled slowly across the surface making it one of the most exciting ways to catch fish.