written by Josh Bracamontes
As the annual spawning ritual draws to an end, many bass fishermen begin to struggle. After getting spoiled by catching giant sacks in the shallows, the ensuing post-spawn and dog days of summer present a formidable challenge. As the water warms and the weary matrons flee the shallows to recuperate, tournament anglers must swap tactics in order to stay at the front of the pay line.
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Derek Remitz is well aware of what takes place after the spawn. “The post-spawn phase is usually when bass will be at their deepest” says Remitz. “I typically search for bass in the 20 to 30 foot depth zones as opposed to the summer time where I will search 8 to 15 feet deep.” His deep water prowess has helped thrust him to a Rookie of the Year title and an Elite Series win.
“Directly after the spawn I am looking for any type of break, subtle or sharp, that relates to the major spawning areas.” Remitz’s remedy originates with map study off the water. “I will begin by looking for the major spawning creeks and find where the river channel comes out in front of them.” Remitz reiterates that the break does not necessarily have to be a sharp drop off and that the more subtle breaks are likely to go unnoticed.
Long tapering points that roll off into the channel, according to Remitz, are prime spots this time of year. “The big females have a place to feed as well as deep water access on these points.” The Elite Series pro asserts that the main lake points and ledges are generally the most productive, but, similar locations in the creeks and coves can pile fish up as well. “One of the easiest post-spawn spots to find and fish is the last channel swing bank leading out of the spawning areas. Fish will use these as migration routes to get to their main lake hide outs.”
“The key to finding bass on ledges this time of year” according to Remitz’s vast experience, “is finding a hard bottom.” “I look for shell beds and rock piles or any other hard bottom and when I find it, I’ve found fish.” The Elite Series champion suggests that later into the summer the bass will relate more to the sunken brush piles, but, during post-spawn a hard bottom is paramount.
During practice, Remitz spends a large amount of his time with his eyes on his sonar. “By graphing the structure I reduce the amount of time making wasted casts.” He makes note of which direction each point protrudes out into the lake and where every ledge turns. “I want to make sure that when I pull up on a point my first cast is to the sweet spot.” The graph also helps Remitz determine which areas have a harder bottom and what cover is available.
After Remitz has graphed his spot he positions his boat in the deeper water and casts shallow. “I always cast up on to the flat because active fish sometimes go up there to feed.” Keeping his boat is position is very important at this point. “I watch my gps and depth finder to keep the boat positioned correctly. I usually follow the gps trail I made while idling around the structure. I also use a zig-zag motion and watch the sonar. As the bottom starts to come up I turn the boat deeper; as it drops I go shallower. This keeps me right on the break.”
The next objective, according to Derek Remitz is to define the spot. By using transmission lures, he can determine the composition of the bottom and find exactly where it drops. “The jig is the perfect bait for ledge fishing. I use the ¾ ounce Omega Custom Tackle Derek Remitz signature series jig because it gets to the bottom fast and stays there when I drag it.” A heavy jig allows Derek to cover water and stay in contact with the bottom. “The idea is to find as many places as possible so you have a milk run for the tournament.” This allows Remitz other options if one ledge is devoid of bass. “Timing can be everything when ledge fishing; especially on current driven reservoirs such as Kentucky Lake.” If one ledge is not producing, Remitz will certainly fish it again later in the day hoping that the fish will become active and start feeding.
When fishing ledges the former Rookie of the Year keeps his bait selection simple. “I use the stereotypical ledge fishing lures: big worms, crank baits, swim baits and spoons. But my go to lure is the Omega Custom Tackle ¾ ounce football head jig.” The jig brings Remitz bigger bites and keeps his fish hooked.
“One thing to remember” states Remitz, “is to keep a marker buoy on the deck.” Every time he catches a fish he will kick his buoy overboard. “When fishing off shore it can be hard to stay on the school of fish or piece of cover that fish came from. Kicking the buoy in the lake gives you a visual reference to help keep the boat positioned in the wind and current.”
While fishing after the spawn may be difficult for many anglers, this Bassmaster Elite Series pro has broken it down into a simple science. Follow his formula and Remitz’s remedy is sure to heal your post-spawn blues.