Tactics for Lake Norman’s winter bedding bass

Lake Norman’s largemouth and spotted bass stay active through the winter, with the first early spawners showing up around beds in late February.

Fishing for bedding bass is a fun tactic when done correctly. The average bass bed holds a male and a female, and though it make take time and patience, both are potential targets.

Male bass stay on the beds to directly protect the fertilized eggs. They stay suspended directly above the hardbottom areas to keep them clean of debris and free from predators like crawfish and lizards. The effect is the shining, whitish circles that can be seen at a distance when the water and weather conditions are clear. Polarized glasses help.

Fish a predatory type of bait across these areas, dragging them tantalizingly close to the bed to trigger the parental instinct to attack. It may take time, but the fish isn’t likely to be busted off the bed by failed attempts.

Female bass are the larger members of the species. A female will position in an outer ring, watching from a distance but equally sharing in the protection detail. While beds are typically in 1 to 3 feet of water, females may stay along the edges of deeper water for better surveillance. She may dart away when a boat comes close, but she won’t likely leave for very long.

If you choose to fish beds, be a wise steward of the fishery. Taking adults away from their beds can result in predation if you don’t return them to the water as soon as possible. Experts estimate that a single bed lost can cost the environment as many as 20,000 fry.

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