Notably, spatterdock fields typically grow in softer bottom, but the plant’s structure offers an alternative to firm bottom.
“They have big stems, the (diameter) of a dime or a nickel and that is a hard spot because the root ball on these plants is almost like a log,” Monti said. “The fish will use that as their hard spot to spawn on it; bluegill will spawn on this too.”
Best baits: Monti’s go-to for spawning fish in an unweighted Texas-rigged Bruiser Baits Big Stick. He finds the bait’s dense body and durable composition ideal for efficiently working in and out of the heavy cover.
“For spawners, it’s fishing really slow at the base of the bonnets,” Monti said. “You can also flip a jig — that’s a good way to get really big fish.”
Monti looks for prespawners by fishing a Smithwick Devil’s Horse or a Chatterbait with a Bruiser Baits Super Swimmer trailer around the spatterdock edges, while also sending in the stick bait and jig for a deeper look.
If he’s hunting postspawners, he wants to cover water to dial in where the exiting fish are staging. Here, a topwater frog, buzz toad or swim jig does the job.
Tactical tip: Monti said spawning season turns those spattedock fields into the proverbial needle-in-the-haystack, as the big females prefer isolated clumps, holes and points.
The small, mostly round pads about the size of a silver dollar that lay flat on the surface are one of Monti’s favorite spawning habitats on Lake Okeechobee and the St. Johns River. He also finds good postspawn action over bream beds, but with dollar pads growing over firm, sandy bottom, it’s usually a slam dunk for bedding bass.
Best baits: “I’ve found that covering water over the surface of the dollar pads is probably the most effective method, because they typically grow very shallow,” Monti said. “I’ve seen the bonnets grow in 7-8 feet of water, whereas the dollar pads are typically in less than 3 feet, so the difference between the bottom and the top of the water column isn’t that much.