Herring spawn is a fisherman’s dream

Davy Hite

April 28, 2009 at 3:41 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Topwater baits like this Zara Spook are very productive during the blueback herring spawn each spring.
DAN KIBLER
Topwater baits like this Zara Spook are very productive during the blueback herring spawn each spring.
Because we are really fortunate in South Carolina to have blueback herring in some of our lakes, May is one of my favorite times to fish.

Clarks Hill, Murray, Hartwell and Russell, all the lakes that have good populations of bluebacks, have incredible fishing this month, maybe more than any other month, because of the herring spawn.

The herring spawn is the only time when bass can really take advantage of them. At other times, they’re deeper than bass like to comfortably live, and stripers are their only predator. But when they spawn, they move up within range, and the bass get so aggressive, the fishing can be just tremendous.

What I really love about it is that it’s a topwater bite — and a different kind of topwater. I love to fish topwater baits anyway, but when the herring are spawning, the way the bass strike is one of the most exciting things about the whole deal. Instead of getting a subtle little strike or having a bass come up and just kind of suck a plug down, they have a totally different attitude. The strike can be almost violent.

I guess it’s like the difference in my attitude between eating a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich and a nice, juicy ribeye. I’ll eat the sandwich because I’m hungry and there’s one around, but when I’m going to get to eat a ribeye, that’s definitely different.

You get some herring spawning in late April, and a few on into June, but they spawn the whole month of May, and you can get great topwater fishing anytime you can find them spawning. There will be lots of herring, and the bass are going to be right there.

Finding them is the key, and you have to understand that, unlike shad, herring don’t have to spawn on the bottom. They’ll spawn close to the surface, but they might be over deep water. A lot of times, you’ll find ’em shallow on points, but it depends on water temperature, water clarity and the available cover.

What I do is put on my polarized Solar Bat sunglasses and go looking for ’em. There will be so many, you’ll be able to see ’em; they might be over 30 feet of water, but they’ll be within a foot of the surface. Besides my eyesight, I rely on my Humminbird electronics, and on the real professional fishermen — the egrets and herring and osprey.

Birds of prey are really good to watch, because, like bass, the spawn is the only time of the year when birds get the chance to feed on herring. These guys fish for a living, and when the blueback herring are around, they’ll be on top of them. If you see heron or egrets stalking in an area, don’t leave it, because the herring are pretty close by — and the bass will be right behind them.

As far as lures are concerned, any kind of noisy topwater bait will do: Zara Spooks, Sammys, Pencil Poppers, Pop-Rs. They’ll hit a variety of different baits; I like to fish a Spook the most. Of course, if you find herring up shallow close to the bank, you can throw a Mop Jig or a Senko or a Carolina rig in there and catch ’em. It’s just not quite as exciting as catching them on topwater.

Early on in the month, the topwater bite is an all-day bite. As you get later in May, it will be more of an early-morning thing, but it will be all-day most of the month. The herring will stay up shallow after they spawn — they don’t just rush out back to 50-foot deep water; they’ll be within 10 feet of the surface for a while after they finish.

You’ll know the spawn is starting to wind down when you can’t find the herring shallow anymore, when they go back deep. If you can’t find bluebacks within 20 feet of the surface, when you don’t see a bunch of them going shallow, when the birds of prey start to stalk bream beds, then the herring have probably finished up and gone back to the deep water where they’ll spend the rest of the year.

And we go back to trying to catch bass the way we usually do.

The May herring spawn is a special time for bass fishermen. If you fish Lake Murray and you only have a few days to fish, if you can only get away on weekends, this is the time you need to go.

 

Davy Hite is a 43-year-old native of Saluda who lives in Ninety Six. He was the BASS Angler of the Year in 1997 and 2002, and he won the 1999 Bassmasters Classic and the 1998 FLW Tour Championship. He is sponsored by Triton boats, Evinrude outboards, All-Star rods, Pfleuger reels, Berkley Trilene, Yamamoto Baits, Owner hooks, Humminbird depthfinders and Solar Bat sunglasses.


View other articles written Davy Hite


Reports / Forum
Biggest Bass  This report contains photos  
April 08 at 2:27 pm | 619 Views | 0 Comments
First Turkey...turns into two  This report contains photos  
April 08 at 2:13 pm | 485 Views | 0 Comments
Need Help with Winter to Spring Pattern 
April 14 at 11:28 am | 419 Views | 0 Comments
School Trout in April Winds  This report contains a video
April 10 at 9:38 am | 393 Views | 0 Comments
Clemson Bass Fishing Open Tournament  This report contains photos  
April 09 at 10:15 pm | 315 Views | 0 Comments
Lake Murray Bream  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 5:33 pm | 261 Views | 0 Comments
sail fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 07 at 9:54 am | 203 Views | 0 Comments
Deep Sea Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 11 at 8:29 pm | 189 Views | 0 Comments
Bird Down 4.13.14  This report contains photos  
April 15 at 12:44 pm | 175 Views | 0 Comments
GREAT OPENING TURKEY SEASON  This report contains photos  
April 15 at 9:45 am | 153 Views | 0 Comments
Sport Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 10:38 am | 45 Views | 0 Comments
2004 triton 22 lts for sale on C.L 
8 hours ago | 33 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum
sail fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 07 at 9:54 am | 203 Views | 0 Comments
First Turkey...turns into two  This report contains photos  
April 08 at 2:13 pm | 485 Views | 0 Comments
Biggest Bass  This report contains photos  
April 08 at 2:27 pm | 619 Views | 0 Comments
Clemson Bass Fishing Open Tournament  This report contains photos  
April 09 at 10:15 pm | 315 Views | 0 Comments
School Trout in April Winds  This report contains a video
April 10 at 9:38 am | 393 Views | 0 Comments
Deep Sea Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 11 at 8:29 pm | 189 Views | 0 Comments
Need Help with Winter to Spring Pattern 
April 14 at 11:28 am | 419 Views | 0 Comments
Lake Murray Bream  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 5:33 pm | 261 Views | 0 Comments
GREAT OPENING TURKEY SEASON  This report contains photos  
April 15 at 9:45 am | 153 Views | 0 Comments
Bird Down 4.13.14  This report contains photos  
April 15 at 12:44 pm | 175 Views | 0 Comments
Sport Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 10:38 am | 45 Views | 0 Comments
2004 triton 22 lts for sale on C.L 
8 hours ago | 33 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum
2004 triton 22 lts for sale on C.L 
8 hours ago | 33 Views | 0 Comments
Sport Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
Yesterday at 10:38 am | 45 Views | 0 Comments
Bird Down 4.13.14  This report contains photos  
April 15 at 12:44 pm | 175 Views | 0 Comments
GREAT OPENING TURKEY SEASON  This report contains photos  
April 15 at 9:45 am | 153 Views | 0 Comments
Lake Murray Bream  This report contains photos  
April 14 at 5:33 pm | 261 Views | 0 Comments
Need Help with Winter to Spring Pattern 
April 14 at 11:28 am | 419 Views | 0 Comments
Deep Sea Fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 11 at 8:29 pm | 189 Views | 0 Comments
School Trout in April Winds  This report contains a video
April 10 at 9:38 am | 393 Views | 0 Comments
Clemson Bass Fishing Open Tournament  This report contains photos  
April 09 at 10:15 pm | 315 Views | 0 Comments
Biggest Bass  This report contains photos  
April 08 at 2:27 pm | 619 Views | 0 Comments
First Turkey...turns into two  This report contains photos  
April 08 at 2:13 pm | 485 Views | 0 Comments
sail fishing Happy Day Today  This report contains photos  
April 07 at 9:54 am | 203 Views | 0 Comments
Post | Reports | Forum

Free Classifieds

Abu Garcia REVO Rocket Low Profile Reel Right hand
Abu Garcia  REVO Rocket Low Profile Reel Right hand
WWW.COUNTRYSTRONGOUTFITTERS.COMrnrnRVO3 ROCKET REVO ROCKET LP Descriptionrn You have never experienced speed like this before - rocket fast retrieve with smooth performance. An impressive 37 inches of line retrieve per turn of the crank handle...
March 30 at 12:16 am | 133 Views
SportDog SD-425 Camo Wetland Hunter
SportDog SD-425 Camo Wetland Hunter
Freight Info
This item ships for $5.00 (to the lower 48 states)

SD-425CAMO WetlandHunter Description
Designed for the waterfowl hunting environment with close working dogs. The SportDog SD-425 Camo is dedicated to waterfowlers...
April 02 at 11:28 am | 85 Views
Fishing Machine
Fishing Machine
Great boat, with lots of potential. has 8 4' beam, has pads for the front deck for just cruising, riptide trolling motor, power pole, humminbird 997si, t-top with stero and radio. Very simple boat. 150 E-tec on the back that sips gas compared to...
March 01 at 4:15 am | 236 Views
2010 John Deere 5075E 4WD Loader Box Blade
2010 John Deere 5075E 4WD Loader Box Blade
Here's my 2010 John Deere 5075E 4WD tractor with loader. It only has 232 hours on it, 75HP diesel engine, hydrostatic transmission. This tractor has had all dealer recommended services and has been kept in a garage. Tractor is like new been used...
March 28 at 10:44 pm | 167 Views
Abu Garcia BMAX2 Black Max Low Profile Right Hand
Abu Garcia BMAX2 Black Max Low Profile Right Hand
WWW.COUNTRYSTRONGOUTFITTERS.COMrnrnBMAX2 BLACK MAX LP Descriptionrn Black Max includes a smooth retrieve 4+1 bearing system with durability to stand up to the max limits of hard core fishing. The lightweight graphite frame and body tip the scales...
March 30 at 1:05 am | 71 Views
Abu Garcia Alphamar LC Syncro Reel 20
Abu Garcia Alphamar LC Syncro Reel 20
WWW.COUNTRYSTRONGOUTFITTERS.COMrnrnALPHAMARLCSYN-20 ALPHAMAR LC SYNCRO REEL rnrnDescriptionrn In addition to a mechanical line counter that displays the amount of line out in feet, the Alphamar LC Syncro incorporates a highly adjustable syncro drag...
March 30 at 12:52 am | 62 Views
+/-100ac Hickory Tavern Acreage
+/-100ac Hickory Tavern Acreage
A nice farm or estate property with rolling pastures, frontage on Neely Ferry Road and views of Lake Rabon. This property has development potential or would make a beautiful large residential estate with 745 feet of road frontage on Neely Ferry...
March 26 at 8:41 am | 110 Views
Abu Garcia REVO Rocket Low Profile Reel Left Hand
Abu Garcia  REVO Rocket Low Profile Reel Left Hand
WWW.COUNTRYSTRONGOUTFITTERS.COMrnrnONLY ONE IN STOCK BUT YOU CAN BACKORDER THIS ITEM. ALL BACK ORDERS ARE FIRST COME FIRST SERVED BASIS!!!!rnrnrnRVO3 ROCKET-L REVO ROCKET LP Descriptionrn You have never experienced speed like this before - rocket...
March 30 at 12:36 am | 67 Views
2004 36\' Yellowfin CC
2004 36\' Yellowfin CC
Make: YellowfinrnrnModel: 36 Center ConsolernrnLength: 36 ftrnrnPrice: USD 149,500rnrnYear: 2004rnrnCondition: UsedrnrnLocation: Charleston, SC, USArnrnHull Material: FiberglassrnrnNumber of Engines: 3rnrnFuel Type: Gas/PetrolrnrnTotal Power: 750...
April 15 at 9:42 am | 36 Views
Under Armour
Under Armour
Check us out at www.countrystrongoutfitters.netrnrnADDTO CART TO GET THE DISCOUNTED PRICE rnrnModel: U8600028-5100 rnManufacturer: Under Armour rnWeight: 0.20 rnAvailability: 2 rnrnUA Igniter's rimless frame design allows for a wide field of...
March 25 at 2:53 pm | 96 Views