Kevin VanDam Moon Phases
We have all read our share of articles that discusses the importance of moon phases throughout the season. While they are an important piece of the puzzle, they aren’t the be all and end all of bass fishing. Paying close attention to the moon phases leading up to your next day out on the water, you will also want to observe everything around you, especially in the early season months.
Bass begin to spawn at the first full moon in the spring, well at least in the perfect world they do! But there are other factors that come into play. For example; if we have had a cooler start to the season, and that full moon hits, don’t expect those largemouth to sprint to the shallows. Water temperatures have to be right, but you will also notice other signs which will point towards the largemouth spawn.
Having been around the block and back with spawn, 4-time Bassmaster Classic champion Kevin VanDam explains some of the key things to look for this time of year.
“The moon is a big deal during spawn,” says VanDam. “Although it’s not as big of a deal throughout the rest of the season I still like to pay attention to the different phases.”
“As far as pre spawn and spawn goes, I know that the shad will always spawn before largemouth do; about a month actually. Water temperatures will start to get warmer and the whether has been consistent. These are all signs that tell us the largemouth spawn is right around the corner.”
“Once the shad spawn, largemouth actually begin to move up and feed on the shad spawn that happened or is happening. This pre spawn meal gets them fuelled up for their own spawn. The bass will exert a lot of energy prior to the spawn, so that’s why we can catch them on fast moving baits like square bills and spinnerbaits during pre spawn.”
Light penetration also plays a big part in the bass spawn, and the timing isn’t always as cut and dry as we think it might be.
“Once the bass are done spawning, shortly after the bluegill will spawn and then we are into the summer months,” explains the Elite pro. “We have even seen the bluegill spawn into August, which really isn’t uncommon. What is interesting though is that light penetration seems to effect how deep the bass will spawn.”
“There are bodies of water across the country where bass will actually spawn in deeper waters. Table Rock is one of those lakes, so is Lake Erie. In my opinion, factors that trigger spawn is not as much water temperature as it is light penetration. The eggs need light and without it the spawn could be a failure. Alternatively, that’s why you will see a shallow spawn in many of the southern waters. Those conditions are much dirtier, which means the bass pull up tight to break walls, and to the shallows where they will get the most light penetration. The water temperature still has to be right, but these are all clues that will help you figure out the spawn.”
Moving into the summer months, often times we will see a moon phase effect the bite, but not to the point where the fish won’t eat. Often times what will happen is that change in moon phase will simply change when and what they eat more than anything else.
“Don’t get me wrong,” explains KVD, “I pay attention to moon phases. I just don’t rely on them to tell me everything. Understanding what phase the moon is in at any given point, as well as current whether and water temperature patterns, available forage and any other subtle signs is how I start putting an early season pattern together.”
Like many other aspects of fishing, moon phases are a key piece to what could be an exciting time on the water. Taking in everything will assist in figuring out the trickiest of largemouth, even if they are stubborn and don’t want to eat. Take note of your surroundings and you will be sure to put together that early season pattern.