The weather is finally warming up nicely and the bass are more active. These are the first beautiful signs of springtime in the bass fishing world and anglers all over the nation are getting excited. More reaction bites on the “fun stuff” as I like to call them and plenty of big mommas on beds for our fishing pleasure. It’s time to stock up on hard baits and beef up your plastics selection for this upcoming fishing flurry. Don’t leave your house without these five springtime bass lures! Let’s get into it.
A spinnerbait or “blade” is perfect for handling a variety of situations out on the water. This effective little reaction bait can cover water quickly and effectively, especially when the bass begin positioning themselves in the shallows near coves and creek arms. When there is moderate wind or lower water clarity a spinnerbait is even more effective as it emits enough flash and vibration to draw strikes.
Spinnerbait Retrieve Techniques
Personally I don’t go too crazy with the retrieve. Most of the time I’ll simply make a long cast close to shore, let the bait sink for a few seconds then start with a steady retrieve. Occasionally I’ll pop the rod tip once or twice throughout the retrieve to make the bait flash erratically. You can also give your reel handle a quick turn to achieve the same results. Some anglers also like a yo-yo retrieve in which they let the bait hit bottom, lift up a foot or two, drop and repeat. A steady retrieve through shallow waters will most definitely work well, but play around with a few retrieve speeds and techniques to see which one produces the most fish that day. I go into more detail about this in spinnerbait fishing tips you can’t go without.
There are a number of features I look for in a spinnerbait. A thinner wire arm will allow the blades to pulsate more, resulting in more vibration. I prefer a Willow blade over a Colorado blade spinnerbait because it provides less drag through the water and gives off more flash. I don’t really have the need for a Colorado blade until I hit murkier or deeper water. My favorite spring colors are any shad/minnow pattern and also any red/black crawfish patterns.
- Damiki Gladiator
- River2Sea Ish Monroe Bling
- Revenge Spinnerbaits
Drop Shot Rig
Bass are bedding and it’s time to invade. A drop shot has always been a solid bed fishing fishing method for potential big fish. The reason a drop shot is more effective than a jig is because it is able to stay in one spot much longer. When you throw a jig on a bed, every twitch of the jig will move it forward an inch, eventually moving you completely off the spot. With a drop shot you’re able to stay planted on the bed and irritate the bass long enough for them to strike.
Drop Shot Tackle
- 8-10lb Fluorocarbon Line
- ¼-½ Ounce Drop Shot Weight
- Size 2 Gamakatsu Drop Shot Hook/Owner Mosquito Hook
Favorite Drop Shot Worms
- Roboworm 6” Straight Tail
- Zoom Trick Worm
- Jackall Flick Shake 4.8”
Drop Shot Techniques
Typically I’ll use a ¼ ounce thin sinker for my drop shot fishing. If you find that you are moving too far off the bed, however, you can bump up to a ⅜ or even ½ in most extreme cases (heavy wind, etc). If the fish is not completely on the bed you can make a cast directly onto the spot, but if the fish is directly on top then cast past it and slowly twitch your way forward. As a general rule of thumb you should twitch the worm 2-3 times on slack line and pause for a few more seconds, repeating the process for however long you need until you catch their attention. Other anglers will either leave the worm sitting still for extended periods of time or continuously twitch it in place for a more erratic action.
If you’re able to find shallow vegetation then a flipping rig is a must. Flip inside shallow coves and other sheltered areas for the best results. Any patches of vegetation, timber and brush are prime fish-holding locations in the springtime and there’s much better chance of landing decent quality bass in these types of cover.
Flipping Gear & Tackle
You definitely want a designated flipping rod for this technique. A specialized rod will allow you to set hook firmly while still providing a rather flexible tip to detect bites with. A flipping reel can be any low-profile baitcaster that can hold a decent amount of either 50-65lb braid or 17-25lb fluorocarbon line.
- Powell Max 3D 736
- No.8 Tackle Blackout 7’11” Heavy
- Phenix Rods M1 7’5″ Heavy
- Daiwa Fuego 100HS
- 13 Fishing Concept A 7.3:1
- Shimano Curado i 100HS
- 6th Sense Lures Peg-X Weight Stoppers
- ½-¾ Ounce Tungsten Flipping Weight
- 3/0-4/0 VMC Flippin’ Hook
- 4-5” Soft Plastic Craw
- Strike King Rage Craw
- Netbait Paca Craw
- Gambler Mega Daddy
- Berkley Chigger Craw
I would definitely recommend a tungsten weight over lead because tungsten gives you so much more sensitivity. Depending on the thickness of the cover I usually stick to around ½ and ¾ ounce. I want my bait to fall at a quick rate yet avoid plummeting to the bottom too fast. Also pay attention to how you get bit and what depth your strikes occur, as these aspects will help you properly recognize a bite pattern. Remembering what kind of cover you get bit in will also help you find other fish. Whether it be hydrilla, tules, hyacinth, etc. make sure to locate similar cover once you get bit to try and pattern the fish throughout the day.
If you haven’t seen the action of a weightless fluke darting around then you’re missing out on some amazing spring fishing opportunities. Usually fished on a spinning rod with 20-30lb braided line, a weightless, weedless fluke will effortlessly dart through vegetation and timber, perfectly mimicking a dying shad, minnow or bluegill. A weightless fluke will cover more water than a traditional wacky-rigged Yamamoto Senko and will allow you to fish more efficiently.
Fluke Fishing Techniques
As mentioned before, this rig is usually fished on a stiffer spinning rod setup with 20-30lb braided line. If the bass are super finicky feel free to add 2-3 feet of fluorocarbon leader between the fluke and main line, connecting both lines with a Reverse Albright Knot. Make a cast past any vegetation or timber, twitch the rod tip downward on slack line and you’ll make the fluke dart back and forth in an irresistible swimming motion. Play around with the delay before each twitch and you’re all set.
Favorite Fluke Colors
Since there is only one true Zoom Fluke, we’ll go through the color options instead of brands.
- Watermelon Red
- Pro Blue Red Pearl
- Tennessee Shad
- California 420
A squarebill crankbait is an absolute must when fishing in the spring. The ability of a squarebill to crash through timber and vegetation and emerge snagless makes it perfect for drawing aggressive reaction strikes. Since the bass feed heavily on crawfish during the spring season, a squarebill is great as it perfectly mimics the swimming action of a live craw.
Squarebill Fishing Techniques
Since squarebill crankbaits aren’t meant to dive too deep (4-5 feet at most), cast parallel to shore and use a steady retrieve all the way back to you. If you’re on a boat, cast the squarebill right up against shore and work it back to the boat, remembering what depth each fish hits. If you find yourself contacting a good amount of rock on the bottom, slow your retrieve and feel your way over every rock instead of burning the bait straight through the structure.
I’ve simplified my color selection down to three main categories: Baitfish Imitation, Crawfish Imitation and Murky Water Situations. My baitfish imitations include anything from shad to minnows and my murky water baits include Chartreuse Black Back, Powder Blue Chartreuse, etc.
- 6th Sense Crush 50X
- Lucky Craft BDS 3 & Fat BDS 4
- Jackall Aska SR
- River2Sea Biggie Poppa Squarebill
Now you’re all ready for some spring fishing! Remember to work the shallows and bring a few of these awesome reaction baits to get your fishing action flowing again. If you have any suggestions regarding your personal favorite spring lures please leave them in the comments below. We’ll gladly say our goodbyes to the cold winter months and embrace spring with open arms.