Early spring is game-on for most bass anglers in the country. Fish are in full-on pre-spawn mode and feeding aggressively while they wait for the water to warm enough to do their thing. If you can bear the sometimes fickle spring weather, you’re more than likely to find success fishing any of these six lures.
Think of each lure on this list as a tool in your box, each item having an appropriate time or specific place to where it will shine brightest. Use this list as a guideline on the quest for a new personal best. The big bass near you will weigh the most during this time and are usually a little more willing to bite. Get out there and get after it!
Here are 6 of the best prespawn baits:
Prespawn Baits: Lipless Cranks
In many lakes, pre-spawn bass gang up on shallow, vegetated flats waiting for the conditions to get right for spawning. Enter the lipless crank. There are few baits you can cast as far, work as quickly, and trigger as many bites from big, pre-spawn females. Find the nearest flat, and start bombing away, reeling the bait fast – but slowly enough that you can tick the weeds/bottom/wood. Bass will often strike when the bait runs into an obstacle, so if you’re getting snagged occasionally – don’t fret.
Prespawn Baits: Jerkbaits
Cold water and jerkbaits are the bassin’ version of peas and carrots. They have a realistic minnow profile, erratic action, and suspend on the pause – which is irresistible to pre-spawn bass in water below 50 degrees. Jerkbaits can be especially deadly on pre-spawn bass staging on points, ditches, bluff walls, and other open water structure. The colder the water, the longer the pause you should start with. Experiment with different cadences until you run into fish.
Prespawn Baits: “Finesse” Crankbaits
Cranking in cold water during the pre-spawn can be deadly, particularly if you choose the right crankbait. Ideal “finesse” cranks are made of wood, have flat sides, tight wiggles, and a realistic shad profile. Fish them on light line around shallow cover like stumps, riprap, bridges, and points. Start out with a medium-slow retrieve, and change it up if you’re not getting bit.
Prespawn Baits: Casting Jigs
Pre-spawn bass are on the move, so you may have to fish a variety of different structures in a day to find them. Casting jigs are the workhorses of the jig world – and can be flipped, casted, pitched, and worked around just about any cover imaginable. In the pre-spawn, you should always have a jig on your deck. Pick it up when you come across a log, rock point, dock, or after you’ve caught a couple fish on a spot and the bite’s slowed down.
Prespawn Baits: Vibrating Jigs
As seen in the recent 2018 Bassmaster Classic, where bladed jigs were a major player for several of the top 10, they can emulate anything, produce a ton of vibration, and are quite snag free, which are all characteristics found in successful pre-spawn baits. Work a shad colored vibrating jig around the sides of docks, or get up in the dirty water in the backs of creeks and wind a black or pumpkin vibrating jig around shallow cover. Pre-spawners can’t resist the perfect action and vibration.
Prespawn Baits: Umbrella Rigs
Pre-spawn bass are typically actively feeding, and a school of baitfish slowly swimming by is often too much to handle. As evidenced by the scores of giant bass tricked each spring by umbrella rigs – they are an excellent tool whenever the bass are feeding on shad. Try working secondary points, the edges of drains, and other likely travel routes with umbrella rigs to waylay migrating bass.
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