Pre Spawn and Spawn Bass Fishing Strategies & Best Lures To Use
By: Dylan Hayward
Before I get into strategies on how to fish the Pre Spawn and Spawn, I feel the need to explain what these terms represent, because most of the people have no idea what they mean, or how to take advantage of them.
Pre Spawn is essentially the time of the year before the bass move up into their beds and Spawn. Well that’s all well and good but what does “Spawn” mean? Spawn is just a term for when fish (specifically bass in this case) deposit their eggs. For a more high level view of Spring bass fishing be sure to read the article "GoWild’s Spring Bass Fishing Guide | Lures, Strategy & Tips".
Pre Spawn Bass Fishing
Pre Spawn can be one of the best times of the year to catch some monster bass. The time of the year can vary greatly depending on where you are located. But generally, Pre Spawn occurs in late winter/early spring, around the month of March, here in the midwest.
This can vary greatly based on the water temperature. Bass typically will start spawning in the Spring when the water temperature reaches 50-60 degrees. However, this can fluctuate as the bass try to avoid drastic temperature changes such as a big cold front coming through, or a period of drought, so monitoring your weather patterns can be crucial.
Locating Pre Spawn bass can be easy if you know where to look. Finding shallow pockets, ledges, brush piles, or even docks is a great place to start. A lot of anglers call these “staging areas” where bass will hold up, waiting for the perfect time to start spawning. The depth of where they hold up can vary depending on the water you’re on. On clearer water, the bass will feel more comfortable deeper, between 15 and 30 feet. If the water is murky, you can expect this to be much more shallow, around 5-10 feet.
Bass Lures to Use for Pre Spawn
There are a variety of lures that I will use during the Pre Spawn phase, depending on what the temperature and conditions are. For example, what I use in the morning could be entirely different from what I use later in the day as the water temperature heats up, and maybe the action has died down slightly. For a comprehensive overview of different bass lures to try check out the article titled, "GoWild's Bass Fishing Lures Guide | Lures, Rigging Types & Retrieving".
One of my favorite lures to use during Pre Spawn when the bass just don’t seem to be cooperating is some form of soft plastic. This could either be a 3.5 inch craw or a 4 inch senko with a Texas rig.
Jerkbait seems to be one of the more superior lures to use during Pre Spawn, especially if you’re fishing clear water where the bass aren’t too deep. Googan Squad Scout is typically my go to. This is a great lure to use when that strike zone is just a little tougher to define.
Crankbait is another great lure to use during Pre Spawn, you can vary your lip selections based on how deep you want to go. Googan Squad Steady Crankin’ is one I use a lot. It’s a round billed crank which is perfect for that 8-12 foot depth sweet spot.
Spawn Bass Fishing
Bass fishing during the Spawn can be killer when using the right methods. Bass like to start making their beds and laying eggs when the water temperature is around 60 degrees. There is a decent window for when this occurs through the US, as here in the midwest this could occur in late April/early May, whereas in the south, this might occur in early March.
When looking for spawning bass, I tend to focus on the back of creeks, stumps, brush, or really anywhere there is shallow water with hard bottoms, as that is generally where bass prefer to make their beds. It’s also important to note that these shallow pockets have warmer water temperature, so a specific body of water could have multiple spawning phases.
Bass want to protect their eggs, so finding a spot that is tucked away from wind, and hidden from predators is what you want to focus on. This is especially true during the early stages of the Spawn.
Lures to Use for Spawn
Using a swimbait trailer with a bladed jig can be a great choice for targeting bedded bass in shallow water. A 5 inch bluegill swimbait is an ideal choice for when I am trying to catch spawning bass.
Carolina Rigged Craw
A Green Pumpkin Speed Craw with a Carolina rig and a lighter weight such as a ¼ oz can be great to use for those shallow areas with lots of cover. Dragging it over stumps and grass can really get those bedded bass fired up.
Using a squarebill crankbait can be really effective in shallow waters where there is lots of cover. Using the square bill will allow it to get beat up and run through branches without getting hung up.
Try using a shad-style suspending jerkbait when the bass seem to have disappeared and aren’t responding as well. Patience is key, especially in periods of bad weather when the fish are harder to spot.
Stay in the Game
This is the time of the year when bass fishing is incredible. Lousy weather and poor activity can make you feel that you’re doing something wrong, or cause you to abandon strategy. This is especially true during cloudy days when the hope of spotting fish goes out the window. Have patience, and fish slow. Bass can be extra paranoid this time of the year, so having a plan going in and being strategic with every move can make all the difference. Stick it out and you’ll be amazed by the kind of fishing the season brings.