Cold, muddy water ranks at the top of the toughest conditions for catching early season bass. This is where the blade bait comes in handy.
Heavy spring rains tend to muddy the water on most lakes, which will draw bass to the shallows. In clear-water situations, bass suspend over deep water and can rely on their sight to key on a suspending stickbait slowly twitched in front of them. However shallow bass in muddy water are unable to see many lures so they have to rely on their sense of hearing to feed.
Although bass don’t have external ears like humans, they can hear through inner ears consisting of tiny bones that detect sounds as subtle as the clicking of a crawfish. Bass mainly find prey in dirty water though with their lateral line that extends from the gills to the tail on both sides of the fish. The lateral line consists of nerve endings that can detect even the slightest vibrations.
So blade baits such as spinnerbaits are the ideal lures for coaxing early season bass to bite in dirty water for a couple of reasons. The baits have plenty of flash so bass might be able to see it in the limited visibility situation and the blades produce lots of vibration for bass to hone in on the lure.
While some guys like to use double willowleaf spinnerbaits, I prefer a 3/4-ounce model with a single number 6 Colorado blade that has plenty of thump. Since I can feel the vibration of that lure through my rod blank I know bass will have an easy time sensing that vibration as well.
One key to remember about fishing a spinnerbait in the early season is to retrieve it s-l-o-w-l-y. Bass are still sluggish in that cold water so they will have a hard time catching up to a spinnerbait even if you wind it at a moderate pace. I slow roll the blade bait by reeling just fast enough to where I can feel the blade thumping but slow enough so the spinnerbait will constantly bump the bottom.
Another blade bait retrieve that produces early season bass is yo-yoing a spinnerbait. Start your retrieve by letting the spinnerbait fall to the bottom and then slowly lift your rod so the lure rises a foot or two off the bottom. Then let the lure flutter down on a semi-taut line and watch for any line movement indicating a strike.
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