It is a known fact that red baits and Spring bass fishing go hand in hand. But why? The short answer is simply: we’re imitating crawfish. In many lakes this time of year the crawfish begin to molt and become an easy meal in their state of vulnerability. Pair that with the bass moving up in great numbers to feed up before the spawn and you have yourself a perfect storm where a reddish, brownish, orangish colored bait just perfectly fits the bill.
Red (and craw pattern) crankbaits are a must-have in boats across the country. There are even some lakes that are notorious for this style of bait, so much so that it’s nearly believed you can’t cash checks on those lakes this time of year without a craw-styled crankbait in hand. But a craw patterned crankbait can be productive wherever you are. If I am targeting shallow wood or rocky banks, I will have a Squarebill like the SPRO E-Series Hunter 65 in my hand for much of the time. I want this bait grinding into and around any cover available. If the primary cover in the lake is grass, I will lean toward a lipless crankbait like the Strike King Redeye Shad. In the same way, since I am imitating crawfish, I want this bait close to the bottom and in contact with the grass.
Bladed jigs, specifically the Z-Man Jackhammer, took the world by storm a few Classics ago when it was won handily. The Firecraw colored chatterbaits became a staple around the country. And there is good reason for this. 1. It can take the place of either of the crankbaits I mentioned and be a suitable choice for fishing in and around wood, rocks, grass, or any other cover. 2. A jig has always been the number one imitator of a crawfish. 3. It has shown these bass something a little different than the typical craw colored crankbait. All in all, a bladed jig is a versatile, craw imitating machine that should definitely have its place in your boat this spring.
While red baits have been utilized for years, the allure still hasn’t worn off. Bass still move shallow, crawfish still molt, and you still have a perfect storm this time of year for red- and crawfish-colored baits to really shine.