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Shad Spawn, Grass Could be a Factor – FLW -May 13, 2015 by Jody White

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Shad Spawn, Grass Could be a Factor

While the offshore specialists have discounted the ability to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Quaker State on Lake Eufaula on a shallow pattern, their quickness to count out the shallows might be premature. Eufaula’s shallow bite is nearly always strong, and it has only gotten better in recent years.

The two factors that figure to be most important this week are the shad spawn and the population of resident fish in the lake’s shallow grass.

 

Shad Spawn

Spawning shad (and the bass eating them) have keyed a number of wins on Eufaula over the years, and this event should be timed right to coincide with the shad spawn. However, the pattern is not nearly as reliable as fishing offshore since the shad spawn typically occurs right around daybreak and tapers off very quickly.

“If you could find an area where the shad are spawning and the bass are on ’em, that’s an area where you can get well in a hurry,” explains Quaker State pro Scott Canterbury. “The problem is that our takeoff is at 6:30 a.m. It gets light at 5:15 a.m., and the bite is about going to be over by the time we start.

“If it stays cloudy and rainy in the morning they will spawn a lot longer,” Canterbury adds. “That is what happened when I won [the Rayovac FLW Series event] back in 2011.”

Just having the shad spawn linger long enough to exploit it could be tricky, but finding the places where bass and shad intersect is no guarantee either.

“You’re going to have to get on the water at the crack of dawn in practice to find them,” says Clayton Batts, who has a pair of top-10 finishes in FLW competition at Eufaula. “You can look for birds diving on the shad, but not all the birds lead you to bass. You really have to fish fast to find them.”

Batts says that the shad will spawn on almost any shallow cover, ranging from grass to riprap. Topwater baits and swim jigs are his recommendations for determining which spawning shad have bass on them and then catching them, but he acknowledges that a wide array of quick-moving lures could work.

 

The Grass

Everyone knows that bass love grass, and Eufaula has a wide variety of it growing along the shorelines. Lily pads, gator grass and hyacinths can all be found on the bank, but a new wild card has emerged in recent years.

“Last year there was a ton of hydrilla, but it didn’t grow up again before the off-limits period [this season],” says Canterbury. “If there is good hydrilla, it will definitely be a factor.”

Hydrilla is almost synonymous with good bass fishing, so if someone can find it, there are almost bound to be fish in it. Hydrilla also tends to grow deeper than some of the other types of vegetation common in the Chattahoochee impoundment, and if shad are spawning in a bed of deep hydrilla, the depth would serve to prolong the spawn to the point where a pro might get more than a few minutes to fish it.

Despite the allure of finding a hydrilla-specific pattern, the shallow grass should not be ignored. According to Jason Lambert, who’s been tournament fishing on Eufaula for many years, an inordinate number of local tournament were won on shallow grass in 2014, and there are bound to be some catchable fish on the bank.

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