It is officially the most wonderful time of the year (at least in here in the northeast, you southern folk are probably deep into spawn by now). And that means that statistically speaking you have the best chances of sticking your new PB than any other time of year.
Most anglers know this. They’ll see it starts to get sunny, the snow starts to go, they’ll wait a few weeks and bust out their dusty old spinning reel, tie on a senko and start hunting for beds like god damn Elmer Fudd in wabbit’ season.
If I just described you...
You are potentially missing the biggest bass of your life
I never want more people out fishing when I’m out fishing. But It’s absolutely ludicrous the amount of anglers I see start to wet their lines weeks, even months after I’ve started fishing.
I’m talking about pre-spawn here people and it’s every bit as glorious as spawn- as long as you know what you’re doing.
Spawn season is great because it’s easy fishing. Let’s just be honest here guys, any jabroni can see a bass on a bed, cast to it, and catch a fish. You could throw a senko, jig, a-rig, an empty beer can, a dirty sock, your first born child. Literally ANYTHING on that bed and sure enough that bass is gonna smoke it.
You could do that again, and again, and again, to the same fish all day long with the same result. Except for the absolute goliaths, like 6lbs and up. You could work a big ole’ mama chilling on her bed for HOURS with nothing to show for it. That’s a whole ‘nother ball game.
But I’m rambling, I’m a fisherman not a writer. the point of this blog is to talk early spring pre-spawn fishing and what you can throw before the fish are sitting on beds.
Three Things You Gotta Know or You'll a Straight Chump Out There..
- This is a transitional period. Bass are on the move, coming up shallow and getting ready to spawn.
- Lots of time you will find small bass and monster bass located in the same school, which is something that doesn’t usually happen any other time of year.
- Pre-spawn bass are active, and they are hungry.
I’m sure you saw the nice plano box at the top of this blog and winced in pain at the disgusting organization of baits all intermingling in the same box. I know I get it, under normal circumstances I would never allow this to happen, not in my box. But I’m in college, and I have to do what needs to be done and (I can’t believe I’m actually saying this) minimize the amount of tackle I bring to the water.
So those are the baits I’m going to war with this pre-spawn except for my soft plastics, that’ll be covered shortly in another post.
Not many baits can produce year round in almost any condition and the jerkbait is one of them, especially in cold water conditions. Mainly because you aren’t tricking bass into biting with a jerkbait, you’re forcing them too.
You play on the bass’s instinct and causing them to lash out at your lure, rather than dangling a nice snack in front of them.
Key things to keep in mind:
- The colder the water, the slower your action. If the water is mid 50 degrees, wait 5-10 seconds before each jerk and adjust from their as water warms
- Carry super natural colors, and super obscure colors. Natural colors intend to fool the bass into lashing out, bright and bold colors have better drawing power and often times trigger fish to be aggressive.
- Make sure your bait is never swimming. You need it to just cut through the water. Even the slightest wobble at the end of our snapping motion will stop a bass from hitting it. Make sure to pay attention to what it’s doing in the water.
Lipless cranks are absolutely DEADLY in the spring. They are a great search bait, perfect for covering water, and you can fish it at almost any depth.
Lipless especially shines around grassy areas where you can run it right along the edge and when you get caught on a piece of grass, rip it right through aggressively and that’ll be when fish come unhinged to go eat.
Key things to keep in mind:
- Throw a lot of red in the spring. This goes for most of the baits you throw. Fish are feeding up on crawfish and this will be your most productive color at this time of year, regardless of your water clarity.
- Make sure you are changing up you retrieves. Burn it fast across the top the water, stop and go, or work it off the bottom just like you would a jig.
Another bait lots of anglers turn to in the springtime is the Squarebill. It’s great for working through shallow structure that bass will be warming around.
Throw it around rocks, wooden laydowns, stumps, even rip it through grass to get a nice reaction bite.
Work over areas very thorough with a squarebill. You may not get it to strike the first or second cast, but keep going because the more that bass see’s your lure the more pissed it’ll get and more likely to lash out.
Key things to keep in mind:
- Make sure you’re hitting the bottom when you retrieve. Your crank should be knocking off the bottom for the majority of your cast, otherwise it’s completely useless.
- When the water is still in the colder temps (50’s-70’s) you’ll want a tighter “wiggle” on your crank bait as opposed to a wider “wobble”. Cranks with flatter sides like the Rapala DT6 will perform better than rounder baits like the KVD series squarebills.
- I am typically sticking to just two color patterns for crank baits and that is crawfish (red, what you see above) and bluegill. This is because bass are beginning to think about protecting they beds and both bluegill and crawdads are intruders to the bass’s bed as they will eat the bass eggs. Keep on these color patterns until post spawn, or when you see baitfish activity on the surface of your fishery.
No matter what time of year it is I will always have a jig tied on. They are fish catchers any day, any season, any condition. Regardless of what season but especially in the spring because of how active crayfish are and how much the bass are targeting them.
The most important thing about your jig is the trailer. If you don’t know much about trailer selections I have a blog about it here.
Chucking a nice jig around is probably your best chance of catching your PB this spring, aside from big swimbaits.
No, I didn't leave out the Texas Rig..
I LOVE the T-rig in the spring just as much as the next guy. But since the Texas Rig is everyone’s bread and butter during bed fishing season and the fact that
I have so much damn knowledge I have so much to talk about I thought it best to give it a spot in it’s own separate blog.
Yeah, that’s a little teaser for yah. Little something to get excited about. Little something to wet the beak with. I know I’m just as excited as you are. So go ahead, send me the pictures of your 10 pounder you caught with the baits I gave you today, and tweet at me @bassinwithburg on twitter.
As always don’t forget to reach out with anything you want covered in an upcoming blog, I’ll always respond. And like us on Facebook because I guarantee at least a 5 pounder if you do.