Spring is just around the corner, and to me, that means one thing: BIG. FAT. BASS. After a long winter, I’m jacked up to start slinging baits and ripping lips.
I’ve spent hours in the garage this winter stocking, organizing, and tweaking my fishing tackle for the upcoming season. With hundreds of baits to choose from, deciding what to tie on first isn’t always easy. To help out, here is a quick list of my 5 favorite early Spring baits.
Lipless crankbaits have tight wobbling action, which helps trigger strikes from fish less willing to chase erratic baits. Lipless crankbaits also sink, which help me fish them at different depths effectively.
Silent But Deadly
In clear water, I use the quieter, more subtle silent lipless crankbait. Silent baits spook less fish and can trigger bites when fishing in a crowd. If everyone else is throwing loud rattling baits, try using a silent version.
The loud rattles from a lipless crankbait help call in fish from far away. Fishing in stained water or windy conditions are times when I pick up a bait with loud rattles.
A slow and steady retrieve is my favorite technique during this time. Covering water and keeping a slow and steady retrieval speed has helped me to stick the most fish. When your lure gets hung in the grass, use a light sweep to free it opposed to an overpowering snap. Toning down my lure movements during the early spring results in more fish.
Use crawfish colored lipless crankbaits and target river channels, secondary points, and sunny banks in the early spring.
A suspending jerkbait holds all of the characteristics I look for in an early spring bait, and they’re a blast to fish.
With a simple twitch of the rod, anglers can’t mimic the action of a wounded or fleeing shad with the trusty old jerkbait. Traditionally, I’ve fished suspending jerkbaits from brands like the Rapala or Lucky Craft. While I still love both of their jerkbaits, I’ve had the most success recently fishing with the new Googan Squad Scout jerkbait.
I use a twitch, twitch pause retrieve with my jerkbaits in the spring, typically letting my bait rest for at least 2 seconds after the second twitch. In cooler water, I add an even longer pause. Most of my jerkbait bites come during the pause.
Arguably the best jerkbait angler of all time, Kevin Van Dam, once said that you should never use your reel to bring in a jerkbait but instead use the rod. The reel is just there to pick up the line as your rod brings in the jerkbait. I always try to remember that when I fish jerkbaits.
When bass aren’t chasing my moving baits, one of the first things I switch to is a finesse jig.
A finesse jig gives me exactly what I need from a jig but in a downsized profile. Fish can be finicky this time of year and I feel like a finesse jig provides me with a few extra bites when compared to jigs with larger profiles.
Rocks, docks, metal, and other hardcover warm up quickly when the sun rays beat down on them. Bass gravitate to these areas to warm up during the early parts of the year.
The chatterbait is a tight wobbling bait that set-ups perfectly for springtime fishing. Covering water is key, and there are few baits better for that then the chatterbait.
While chatterbaits put off an insane amount of THUMP, they do it while maintaining a streamline swimming profile. To me, this is the perfect combination for early spring fishing. The chatterbait’s blade calls fish in, and the streamline swimming action convinces them into taking a swipe.
When it comes to chatterbait trailers, it’s all about the Yamamoto Zako. The Zako puts off an inviting swimming action without taking away the intended action from the chatterbait.
Soft Plastic Craws
In clear water, there are few better baits than a soft plastic craw. Clearwater fish rely heavily on sight, so having a bait that looks similar to what fish are eating will result in more bites. With so many rigging options available, a soft plastic craw is an easy lure choice for this time of year. Texas rigs, shakey heads, and Carolina rigs are three of my favorite ways to fish a soft plastic craw in the early Spring.
Pro Tip: Fish The Northside
The northside (south-facing) part of lakes and ponds receive the most sunlight and therefore warm up the fastest in the spring. Target these areas with the baits we’ve covered and your season should be off to a hot start.
Also, stained water warms up faster than clear water. Fish stained water lakes early in the year and switch to the clear lakes after that. This way you can target the most active fish.
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