Springtime bass tactics and lures are all about catching fish. In the springtime, bass will be getting prepared to spawn. These tips and tactics will help catch bass prior, during, and after the spawn. The bass behaves different at each stage of the spawn. Knowing how they behave at each stage helps catch the bass.
The different stages of the spawn need the correct choice in the lures presented. Lure type is likely more important than color in the spring but colors do matter. In other words, the right lure whether a finesse or reaction lure will get the strike. Knowing where and when to use each lure is the key in springtime bass fishing. Then colors come into the choices.
Springtime Bass Tactics
The where and when is determined by the stage of the spawn, water temperature, and time of the day. In the spring the water will be colder especially in the morning. When the sun comes up it will warm up the northern shallows quicker than the other waters. As spring progresses, the water warm-up across the lakes leading to stable temperatures. The post-spawn period happens around this time of the season. This results in the bass becoming more active.
Where to Fish for Springtime Bass
The location is based on cover and structure. Since fish rely on theshelter for various reasons. The northern sections of a body of water will warm up faster but it has to have structure leading into the area. If the structure leads into the area look for the cover the species of bass prefer. Largemouth will seek areas with weeds for spawning. Smallmouth look for a sandy or gravel bottom in the shallows.
Regardless of the species, the spawning area will be near a deep water area. All fish use deeper water while not feeding or spawning. Once the fish start spawning, they inhabit the shallows. This is only for a short period. Afterward the fish return to the normal pattern of seeking deep water or cover for refuge. Understanding the movements during the spawn is the key to finding bass.
The Different Waters
The waters away from the northern sections will hold fish also. These bass will tend to be less active. The water is going to stay cooler until later in the springtime. It may delay the spawn or need the use of different lure tactics. Small lakes and rivers will have the spawn occur at the same time throughout the body of water. Since water temperature triggers the spawn. A large lake has more depth and warms at different rates at the dam and in the shallows where streams enter.
As a result, the spawn will take place at different times in each area. Start by fishing the shallow ends of big lakes. Once the fish start spawning move to the deeper sections for the pre-spawn bass. Bass on the nest will strike lures but it is unlawful in some states to target fish on beds. Additionally, some anglers consider bed fishing to be unethical or not a challenge. In any case, it does disrupt the fish’s spawning habits. After the spawn return to the shallows for the post-spawn bass.
Bass hold near the bottom in early spring seeking stable temperatures. Choose techniques that present the lure at or close to the bottom. At 50 degrees, the bass starts feeding to prepare for the spawn. Which happens between 55-65 degrees. After the spawn, water temperatures are generally high enough for summer tactics. When the water stabilizes at 65 degrees or higher summer tactics start working. The spawn occurs at different times in each geographic region also.
Springtime Bass Lures
Base the lure selection on depth and bass activity levels. The pre-spawn bass will hold in deeper water. During the spawn, the bass are in the shallows and afterward, they spread out. You will need lures that can reach the proper depth. Lures at the proper depth catch fish and lures not at the depth are not seen by the fish.
The most important aspect of spring bass fishing is working the area . Anglers tend to get impatient and move on too fast. The lure has to be presented closer in colder waters. Bass are less active in the early spring and likely to hold in the cover. Fancast and repeat casting all the cover several times with different lures. The fish will let you know what lure is effective in the area.
Crankbaits are an option for pre-spawn bass since they get to the depths the fish hold. The lures come in various models that run from only a few feet to over twenty feet for some. A thin body crankbait is better in the colder water with a tighter wiggle. Instead of the erratic wobbling action of a fat body crankbaits. Bass seem to prefer the wiggle in cooler waters. The square bill or long lip models both come in narrow bodies so you have choices.
The lipless crankbait is the other option. The lures will cast farther and sink to the desired depth. Before the spawn bass may be in water over 15 feet making other crankbaits ineffective. Since it takes time to get to the depth. Once at the depth, a billed crankbait is only down there a short time then starts coming up during the retrieve. On a 50 yards cast the lure will be in the strike zone for about 15 yards. A lipless crankbait will go down to depth for most of the casted distance.
When bass are not active enough for crankbaits a jerk bait can be the answer. It has a large body profile and is retrieved at a slower rate. Lethargic bass need a slow retrieve since they will not chase a fast lure. Jerk-baits have the pause in the retrieve letting the fish have time to strike. Besides, jerk-baits have a larger range of sizes.
Bass in colder water may seek bigger meals sometimes. So they do not have to spend as much energy with repeated chases. The cold water technique is often using a smaller lure but there are times a larger bait is better. Try different sized jerk-baits in every area before moving on in the cooler waters. Size matters as much as color in some instances.
Soft Plastics and Finesse Bass Fishing
Springtime for bass, you need to use finesse techniques. The bass holds to the bottom most of the time seeking stable water temperatures. Using a jig or rig made for bouncing along the bottom puts the lure where the bass are staying. Soft plastic rigs are many and all will work but hair jigs can be highly effective also. It is best to have a good assortment of soft plastics. This allows an angler to change up the presentation for all situations. Sometimes a jig works but at other times a Texas rig is the best performing bait.
The largemouth is a lake-dwelling fish. Soft plastics or finesse baits have to go into weeds and not get hung up. Use a weedless rigging style on worms, creature baits, and tube jigs. The crawfish type of plastics works well in the spring using natural crayfish colors. Certain shades of red, brown, green or gray seem to be the best for bass.
The drab tone of the colors looks more natural to fish instead of flashy bold colors that work in summer. This element is more important in shallow clear waters. A bright or flashy color can spook bass in the shallows especially when they are under stress. The spawning activity is a stressful time for bass. They are fighting for the best spawning area with another bass. Fishing pressure is not the only thing affecting them.
The river is the home of smallmouth although some lakes have smallmouth. A smallmouth in a river will be near current until it makes the spawning bed. Use the edges of current to your advantage. Work a jig downstream along with the current where the bass will see the lure coming. A smallmouth sees this as an invitation to eat. Tube jigs tend to hang up less then other rigs in rivers but use another rig if it is working.
The jig or rig should move naturally in the current flow. A jig too light will move too fast and too heavy will snag. The weight is crucial fishing current edges and seams. You will need jigs ranging from 1/8 to 1/2 of an ounce. A 1/4 to 3/8 is usually going to work in many instances but have other weights. In addition to tubes, grub tails and smaller creature baits work also. Hellgrammites are a favorite of smallmouth in the waters they are present.
Catching bass in the spring can be easy using the correct lure and technique. It does take the experience to learn which lure to use and when. You have to go out and fish the body of water and track the conditions. Keep a logbook for the waterway and time of year. Every time you go fishing record the weather, where and how you have fished, and the results.
This will provide a reference for later on. Adding to the information will result in gaining knowledge. “Knowledge is the key to successful fishing” according to Buck Perry. An old-time legendary bass angler. Any professional angler will tell you the same thing. They have spent years honing techniques based on experience.
Keeping fishing simple for tight lines and bragging rights