Top 5 Spring Crankbait Bass Fishing Favorites

Top 5 Spring Crankbait Bass Fishing Favorites
April 15, 2022

By: Jacob Knight

Every bass angler waits for the Spring like a kid anticipates a fat guy with presents creeping into their house sporting red, crushed velvet. The pre-spawn and spawn periods are some of the most productive times to be a bass angler. If you had the funds and time, you could travel the country fishing both of these magnificent bites as the water warms across the US.

Let’s break down some of my favorite crankbaits for Spring bass fishing and even into early summer.

Rapala DT-6, Demon

There’s not one color that says Spring to me more than red, orange and fire variations. Call it what you want, Demon, Fire Craw or Rayburn Red, these colors get bit in the Spring. I love the Demon color from Rapala and the consistency of the DT-6 lineup. I know what I’m getting when I break open a new DT-6 package and the swimming motion of this crankbait is great. The lip perfectly deflects the bait around rocky cover and that 6 feet diving depth is right where I want my lures when the bass are pre-spawn and moving shallower. I like the variation of the greenish blue back on the Demon color because it seems more natural than a vibrating Cheeto running through the water. I have yet to catch a live bright crawfish this color where I fish, but this dude works! This crankbait works for me in ponds, lakes and rivers where that 6 feet depth can have it banging across rocks.

Rapala DT-6, Dark Brown Crawdad

This is one crankbait that I feel matches the hatch of my local crawfish very well. When I see this color, it instantly makes me think of my favorite smallmouth creek where the fish gorge on crawfish that look just like this. Again, the DT-6 puts this lure in the strike zone of creeks with some deeper holes or lakes and ponds with rocky bottoms. Fishing this on more soft bottomed waters has not produced for me nearly as much as the rocky ones. This is a color that I will use all spring and even into early summer. Just as with the Demon, bounce this crankbait across the rocky bottom and even let it rise up for a second after hitting cover, before getting back after it on your retrieve. There are always some shallow fish, so don’t put this one away after the spawning season.

Rapala DT-6, Helsinki Shad

If you are fishing a lake that has a shad population, you definitely want to have a shad crankbait in your arsenal. Last Spring I was fishing a lake that has a strong threadfin shad population and witnessed bass pushing the shad into bait balls and into the shallows. That was enough for me to switch to a Helsinki Shad DT-6 and start working it around the bait balls. If you are seeing fishing feeding like this it’s a no-brainer, but if not, I still recommend throwing a shad pattern around ledges and areas where bass will stage during pre-spawn as they come shallow. When the Spring spawn is on, slowly working this crankbait past beds could get a reaction strike from a bass that is doing anything it can to defend its bed. When you do catch these fish, make sure you release them as soon as you can to keep defending their nest.

Rapala Original Floater 05, Silver

Your grandpappy used one. If he passed it down to you, you’re lucky. The Rapala Original Floater is one of those lures that you can bust out when you just need to get a bite. The 05 size is a more compact lure, but I like this size in the Spring because let’s face it, bass fry get eaten. The silver color with a black back does a great job mimicking minnows and small bass that are chilling in the shallows. The versatility of this lure is where the magic is, since you can fish it like a topwater that dives down on your twitches, steady twitched fast or slow, or you can retrieve on a steady crank to swim back to you. It is a great shallow water lure, not to mention a pond dynamo! Large bluegill and especially rock bass and sunfish will bust this thing too. It’s one of the first crankbaits that my kids get to you, because it is so easy to work and catch fish.

Rapala Original Floater 05, Gold

Sounds so nice, make it twice. Everything I just said about the Original Floater in Silver applies to the gold version, but I think this color does and excellent job mimicking small bluegill or sunfish. It’s hard to imagine what bass hate around their nests more than bluegill or sunfish. So, in the springtime when bass are making and guarding their nest, run one of these guys through there and be ready for the bite. Play around with both colors, because you’ll find that they work better in certain conditions. If it’s cloudy with clear water, I’m going gold. If it’s sunny with stained water, I’m going silver. If there are minnows or shiners present in the water, I’m matching those to pick my color choice. I’m not kidding, I love these simple crankbaits that have been around forever. They work great at getting a bite and are extremely easy to fish for beginners too.

This bundle of crankbaits can be fished on a spinning or baitcasting setup, but I favor spinning tackle for the Original floaters since they are lightweight. Keep in mind that any time you fish a crankbait, the line you are using can change how the bait performs. The heavier the line, the more drag there is and the shallower the bait will run, conversely, lighter lines will allow you to get more depth out of the lure. My go to setup is a crankbait specific baitcasting rod, a low gear ratio baitcasting reel with an extra lightweight spool to deal with the light lures and fluorocarbon for the added invisibility. I can’t guarantee you fish, but this group is about as safe of a bet you can make when you’re crankin’ for bass.

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