Springtime bass fishing involves days that question your sanity. Cold temperatures, high winds, and unpredictable weather can impact where and how you fish from one weekend to another. However, the odds of hooking a giant are high this time of year.
As water temperatures slowly creep up and fish begin staging for the spawn, anglers can cover a majority of a lake with very few bites. I feel bait choice is most crucial this time of year over any other time. Fish can still be sluggish from harsh winter months, but with water temperatures rising and their metabolisms speeding back up, bass will begin bulking up for the spawn.
One bait that is proven to catch fish any time of year, no matter the water temperature, is a bass jig. To me, this is the most versatile and effective bait in my boat. Regardless of what lake I fish, at least one rod has a jig tied on while I’m on the water.
When I’m fishing stained water, I throw a black and blue jig with a black and blue craw trailer. If the water is clearer, I’ll throw a green pumpkin jig. The retrieve of this bait varies depending on the fish and the lake. Some days you have to inch the jig around cover or hop it across the bottom, while other days a fast retrieve will trigger reaction bites. When fishing late winter and on into spring, this is a bait that I’ve consistently caught big fish on.
Another bait that catches bass, especially when the fishing gets tough, is a jerkbait. I throw nothing but a suspending jerkbait that dives anywhere from 2 to 5 feet. I throw a silver colored bait that matches the gizzard shad we have in Oklahoma. Matching your lure to baitfish in your local lakes is crucial. A jerkbait is a lure I like to throw anywhere around rock points or ledges, any place that bass will sit and wait for baitfish. A simple jerk, jerk, pause cadence while reeling is the most effective way to fish a jerkbait.
A lipless crankbait is another lure that is not only easy to fish with, it is deadly during this time of year. This is a bait that can be just as effective as a jig, and can catch fish anywhere, anytime. There are endless options on the colors available for this bait. However, I like to keep it simple and throw a crawdad imitation or a shad color. If the water is really dirty, I might throw a chartreuse. This is a lure that you can fish many different ways, with no wrong way to fish it. You can rip it through grass, knock it off rocks, bounce off trees, just about anything can trigger a bite from a fat pre-spawn largemouth.
My favorite thing to fish with by far has to be a bass jig. There’s something about flipping it up along banks, and slowly working it back to the boat, then feeling a bite and setting the hook on a giant.
These are just a few of the lures that I always have tied on, or handy during the pre-spawn in the spring. They will work anywhere in the country, and don’t rely on water temperature to catch fish.
While I can’t guarantee you’ll stay warm or dry this spring, hopefully some of these tips will help you catch more fish. One of the best things about bass fishing is the more you learn, the better you become out on the water, and you can never learn too much.