BassWestUSA - May/June 2009, Page 64

pro file

target docks

for Post-Spawn Success

MARTY STONE BASSMASTER ELITE SERIES ANGLER

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immediate post-spawn can be tough, so tough that some anglers go so far as to not fish during this period. They believe the fish wander off into places unknown or go into a deep funk after they leave the beds. That’s too bad because nothing could be farther from the truth. Post-spawn bass will feed with aban- don – almost immediately after they leave the beds – once you locate them. And, there’s no better place to look than under boat docks. They’re natural way stations between spawn- ing beds and summer haunts. Not all boat docks are cre- ated equal, however. The best have four things in common:

The best working definition of deep is that it’s a well-defined change of depth that’s significant for the body of water you’re fishing. In Florida that may only be a couple of feet; in California it may be 10 feet or more.

better. The idea is to find a spot that of- fers plenty of shade and plenty of ambush points. Docks sitting 2 or 3 feet off the sur- face don’t do that.

They’re close to the water.

If you can skip a lure under a dock it’s too high. You should be looking for some- thing that’s no more than a few inches above the surface, floating on it is even

Construction materials matter.

The best docks are floating on Styro- foam; next is PVC plastic. After that, maybe wood and a host of other materials that are common to the area you’re fishing will suf- fice. Regardless of material, though, you’re looking for the greenest, nasti- est float you can find. Again, think shade and ambush. The importance of these four characteristics becomes obvious when you consider the nature of post-spawn bass. First, they aren’t bottom oriented like pre-spawners and those on the beds. They tend to stay up, suspended in the water column, directly be- low the docks. Also, they’re schooled up in groups. Remember, bass are top predators and they’re looking to feed after they spawn. Do you know any top predator that hunts by him or herself? No, you don’t. That’s because hunting in packs of- fers the most efficient way to kill prey; bass are no exception to this rule. Floating docks are perfect for group hunts. With all that in mind let’s take a close look at four com- mon scenarios during the im- mediate post-spawn and how I fish them.

They’re near spawning pockets.

Look for docks that are near spawning pockets, along a natural travel route. Some of the best, and most obvious, are located at the entrance to small creeks that lead back to the flats. They’re usually posi- tioned along the channel which is a natural route from the flats to deep water.

They’re positioned over deep water.

Deep water is a term of art, a relative concept. It doesn’t mean the same thing on every body of water, or even between different areas on the same body of water. If the spawning pocket is 4 or 5 feet deep, and the wa- ter is murky, deep may mean 7 or 8 feet. On the other hand, if the spawning pocket is 10 or 12 feet deep and the water is clear deep may mean 20 feet or more.

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Cloudy, overcast, windy

Under those conditions I like to throw a 1/2-ounce Picasso Marty Stone Tour-

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May/June 2009