Pre to Postspawn FFS with Spencer Shuffield

The initials "FFS" are everywhere you look right now, and for good reason; forward-facing sonar has changed the way bass anglers fish, and springtime is no different. Major League Fishing pro Spencer Shuffield was an early adopter of the technology and is still one of the best at it. He will use it plenty this time of year, both for prespawn and postspawn bass.

FFS for Prespawn and Staging Bass

As bass become shallower, Shuffield likes to intercept them along their travel routes. His Garmin LiveScope is one of his biggest weapons, along with a jighead minnow and a Yo-Zuri 3DB Series Jerkbait Suspending 110 in the standard and deep versions.

"I start in the pockets and bays and look for the shorter ones just off the main lake," he said. "This is a great place for throwing the Damiki rig with a little minnow or a jerkbait. The fish are eating as much as they can and little shad and other baitfish is a big part of what they eat."

Typically, he starts with three jighead minnows to match different depth ranges. Still, all will be fluke-style baits fished on 15-pound Yo-Zuri SuperBraid with a 6- or 8-pound Yo-Zuri Superfluoro Leader Line leader.

"I use the same baits, rod, reel, and line and different jighead sizes," he shared. "I like a ¼-ounce head for fish 15 feet or less down in the water, a 3/8-ounce head for fish between 15 and 25 feet deep, and a ½-ounce head for even deeper water."

He'll also adjust his leader line size based on the depth and size of the jighead. "I use 6-pound for the ¼ and 3/8-ounce and 8-pound for the ½-ounce head," he shared. "Another key is the braid because it gives me such excellent casting distance. I like to keep my scope distance out 110 or 120 feet to stay off the fish, and I can easily hit them with 90- to 100-foot casts."

He looks for slightly different things when fishing his jerkbait during the prespawn. "I fish it more on channel swing banks and little points in the creeks," he said. "I throw the jerkbait a lot when the bass are tighter to the bank."

He'll alternate between the standard and deep version based on the bass's depth on his screen. "You can get the deep version down 10 to 15 feet with 10lb Yo-Zuri T7 fluorocarbon, and I'll use that in gin clear water, and the fish will come a long way to get it," he said. "I like the T7 because of the abrasion resistance and casting distance, so your bait will get down as deep as possible. The standard 3DB jerkbait will dive 6, maybe 7 feet max, but casts extremely well to get to fish you see way out there."

Another thing that Shuffield likes about both jerkbaits is the erratic action and how quickly they get down. "You can get them there quickly, and they both have a nice erratic action on the left and right," he shared. "I also like how the hooks are great out of the package, and you don't have to change any hardware; they are ready to go. Both cast so well because of the weight transfer system that allows you to get the bait to any fish you see on your screen."

Postspawn FFS

When the bass finish up spawning, Shuffield again employs his Garmin LiveScope. He'll also fish the same baits in many places he did before the fish spawned.

"The one major thing I've noticed is that the bass tend to move out a lot faster than they move in," he shared. "They get to those mainlake points a lot faster. When they are coming in to spawn, they show up slowly, but when they are done, they are straight back out to the flattest points on the main lake."

While he'll still utilize the jighead minnow, he says the jerkbait is especially good for postspawn bass while watching his forward-facing sonar.

"It's the same deal, but I definitely use the jerkbait more because of how the fish are acting," he said. "Before they spawn, it's all about feeding up on shad, which makes the jighead minnow so good. After, they are in a negative mood and the jerkbait does a better job of getting them to react. You cast it close to them and can trigger them even if they are lethargic."

As we learn more about forward-facing sonar, more applications are being made to use this technology to catch more bass. Spencer Shuffield has discovered its power for all seasons, especially during the pre-and postspawn with a jighead minnow and jerkbait.