- GoWild’s Spring Bass Fishing Guide | Lures, Strategy & Tips
GoWild’s Spring Bass Fishing Guide | Lures, Strategy & Tips
By: Dylan Hayward
Spring bass fishing comes with its challenges, but when it is fished correctly, it can be one of the greatest times of the year to be on the water. This is the time of the year when bass move from deep water, into more shallow and sunny pockets.
This is also the time of the year that bass transition into pre-spawn and spawn stages. During these moments, bass can be extremely susceptible to anglers throwing the right lures out. This provides its own difficulty as the bass in shallow waters tend to be much more paranoid, but with the right strategy, you could land your biggest bass ever.
A lot of bass activity can be predicted based on the weather conditions. Like most animals, bass are creatures of habit and rarely stray from their normal routines. As the water temperature heats up, bass move into their pre-spawn phase where they feed heavily. This phase can transition into spawn with just a few upticks on the thermometer, so timing can be crucial.
Where I live in the midwest, spring weather seems to have some sort of identity crisis. One day it’s sunny and 75, the next day a massive cold front comes in and the temperature drops below 40 degrees. With these dramatic temperature changes, you may find that bass activity is hit or miss, but sticking it out and adjusting your strategy based on the conditions is key. With the colder temps, you may want to try a weighted lure that will get you into deeper water.
I’ve heard countless stories about how moon phases drastically impact bass activity. From my personal experience, it doesn’t seem to have a major impact. However, some anglers live by this rule and say that the new moon and full moon are some of the best times to fish for bass.
Locating Spring Bass
A wise angler once gave me advice on bass fishing, he said “Go where the fish are”. This is a bit cliche, but it’s true, especially for spring bass. In late winter, bass are typically in deep water, but as the mercury rises, and pre-spawn begins to happen, bass migrate to shallower flats in preparation to lay their eggs.
If you can find these migratory routes, this will make your fishing a whole lot more successful. These generally look like steep drop offs, canals and ridges. Finding these spots is key during early spring, as bass like to hang out here before they start spawning.
Pay attention to the water clarity during this time. Bass can be extremely paranoid, if the water is crystal clear, they will naturally seek deeper areas for better protection. When the water is murky, they will likely edge towards shallower banks. Be careful as you approach the bank, as they can get startled easily by movement and seek deeper pockets.
Finding stumps, branches, tall grass, rocks, or any type of thick cover can be a bass honey hole this time of the year. This holds true for pre-spawn and spawn as bass are looking for thick cover to stay hidden. Back portions of creeks, an old log, or even a dock can make excellent fishing spots during cloudy spring days.
It can also help to use different bass fishing apps to find the bass and figure out what to throw to them.
I always like to take note of my surroundings when selecting my bait. Bass aren’t particularly picky eaters, but during this time of the year, they have a lot to choose from in regards to food, so I prefer to pick something I know they will like. In spring, I like to use a lure with heavy movement that can linger in the strike zone for a good amount of time to really entice the bass.
Soft plastics can be really effective this time of the year. In my opinion, there aren’t many lures that beat a 3 inch craw with a texas rig using a ⅜ oz bullet weight. The appendages on these craws make a good amount of movement that can drive a bass crazy. Pick a color that will attract the fish but that also matches your environment.
Jerkbaits can be extremely deadly in the pre-spawn phase. A 3 ½ inch suspending shad style jerkbait is a great lure to use in those spring staging areas such as drop offs or ridges. Longer pauses in the beginning work fantastic for those early spring months.
Using a lipless crankbait works really well for the more shallow waters when the bass are starting to lay their eggs. Finding a spot with a lot of vegetation is the perfect scenario to cast this bait out, reeling in consistently, allowing the lure to bounce off and drag against any vegetation or debris, which will trigger an immediate strike response from a spawning bass. Using a bait like this that covers a lot of water, can be very effective.
Spring Time Overview
Spend some time figuring out where the bass are located and what they’re feeding on, and make sure to monitor the water temperature. This can be one of the best times of the year to catch magazine quality bass if you go in with the right strategy, and the right gear to implement it.
You can’t predict the weather, no matter where you live. Check the forecast days before you’re going out and prepare accordingly. Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, you can always adapt with a new strategy and catch some lunkers!