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It’s all about motive and opportunity.

Motive belongs to male bass who’ve been tasked with protecting recently hatched fry.

Opportunity? Well, that’s what every bluegill, crappie, and any other predator in the lake is seeking. Give them the chance to swoop in for a mouthful of baby bass and it’s game-on.

Male bass try to protect the next generation by corralling them around lay downs, bushes, docks, cypress trees and grass lines—anywhere the little guys can hide until they’re big enough to run the lake’s gauntlet on their own.

Until that time, papa bass are on the clock 24/7 and anything that approaches the kids will, at the very least, get a hostile stare and a menacing charge. And, at worst, a close-up sniff of bass breath.

That means anglers who target “fry guarders” often enjoy tons of fun from amped-up bass ready to knock the socks off any threatening object. If you want to try your hand, throw some of these favorite lure types.

How to Catch a Fish Guarding its Fry This Spring

Poppers

An erratic cadence of popping and pausing is the norm, but try dead-sticking the popper next to a tree or grass line where fry hide. Expect the strike when you resume the retrieve.

Bladed Swim Jigs

Noise plus vibration equals an attack from guarding bass.

Swimbaits

If the males won’t chase a noisy deal, try a more subtle swimming presentation, throwing a perfect swimbait.

Wacky Worms

One of the all-around top shallow water rigs, the enticing wiggle of a slender worm with a hook set through its mid section proves positively irritating to fry guarders.

Jigs

Be it a flipping jig with a chunk or craw trailer, or a shaky head and a slender worm, sometimes the persistent presence of a bait that drops in below the fry and holds its ground is just what you need to turn a threat into an attack.

Just remember: However you tempt fry-guarders, be sure to release them with care. Dad needs to get back on the job raising the next batch of lunkers.