Most bass anglers have a boat full of lures, but it seems there are a few special baits that find themselves tied on to the end of the line more often than others. Over time, every angler develops a “short list” of confidence lures. These are the baits that find their way out of the compartments and onto the deck of the boat time after time.
During spring, bass are typically shallow, be it pre-spawn, spawn or post-spawn time periods. That magical time period before the big bass move out to the deep weeds and edges is one of the best times of the year to catch a really big bass. And there are a few “go-to” lures that should be within reach at all times. Here’s my list of six baits that offer you an excellent chance to connect of big springtime largemouths.
Springtime means cool water. Bass won’t necessarily chase a fast-moving lure, so the Senko is a good choice for exploring the areas around docks and grass. Pitch this bait around the corners of docks and work it slowly through known spawning areas.
Rig it weedless to work it right through patches of emerging weeds. When you think you are moving the bait slow enough, slow down a little more. You can Texas rig a Senko or wacky rig it. Either way works well for spring bass.
In keeping with the cool-water theme, a suspending jerkbait is dynamite when fished around cover. This bait is terrific when fished in a twitch-pause fashion, reel 2-3 cranks of the handle while twitching the rod tip, then pause for a few seconds. Bass will often hit on the pause or just when the bait moves again after a pause.
Another effective retrieve is a straight retrieve, then a pause every ten feet or so. Reel the bait along the edges of cover, stopping it in any opening in the cover. Let it hang there for 5-6 seconds, tantalizing any bass that can see it. The bait looks vulnerable and they can’t resist.
The spinnerbait is a great search lure for covering water, looking for the more active fish in an area. Fish it down a bank until you catch a bass, for just one example, then double back and work through the productive areas with a slower presentation. You may find that you catch more males on the spinnerbait; then hook up with the females on the more deliberate presentation.
In the spring, a single Colorado blade offers better options for slow rolling and letting the bait helicopter down into openings in the grass. The distinct thump of the single wide blade tends to trigger more bites.
The shallow crankbait is another great search lure option. You can fish it around the edges of cover, and it’s a great option for seeking pre-spawn bass that are holding just off the edges of the spawning areas. Look for the first drop off out from the spawning shallows and fish and cover on that structure thoroughly with this bait.
Choose natural colors that imitate the lake’s forage base for clear water and bright colors for dirty water. This bait is equally good for working your way down a bank or fishing over a hump. Fish it around docks and laydowns. Like the spinnerbait, this presentation tends to pick off the active fish. Once you find fish, go back and work the area more thoroughly with a swimbait or a jig.
The swimbait is the perfect lure for working over humps, on drop-offs or around docks in the spring. Find a weed edges in either the prespawn or the postspawn and the bass found along those edges cannot leave the swimbait alone. The vibration of the paddle tail helps the bass home in on the bait’s location even in dirty water.
This bait is surprisingly weed-free, so fish it around cover with confidence. Springtime is the time for small baits, so lean towards the 3 ½” size early, then go with the 5-inch size as the water warms up. If the lake has a shad forage base, these lures should be within reach at all times, spring, summer and fall. It can be rigged on a jig, weightless, or on an umbrella rig. Some anglers love this bait for sight fishing bedded bass.
The flippin’ jig is a go-to bait for a lot of top fishermen and for good reason, it works well in so many places. The smaller Missile Flippin’ Jig is perfect for springtime fishing, and it is designed to be fished right in the cover where bass hold tight in the springtime. The fine cut skirt moves when the bait is at rest, triggering strikes from nearby bass.
Fish this bait slowly through woody cover, spawning areas and grass. It’s great for fishing docks. The light weight allows it to sink slowly and move tantalizingly along the bottom where the big bass are waiting to suck it up.
There are many more lures that have value in the spring, but these six are staples that must be considered during the early part of the year when the water is cool and the bass may not chase down a fast presentation. Stock up on them today.
This article was produced in cooperation with Cabela’s.
Images courtesy Cabela's and Bernie Barringer