Top 5 Pre-Spawn Bass Lures!
One of my favorite times of year to catch bass (when they are most likely at their heaviest) is the pre-spawn period. While pre-spawn is a relative term, it has many factors that contribute to when that magic moment occurs. Most people assume it is a water temperature only factor, but the length of daylight is a driving force also that is genetically planted in their brains. Water temperature can fluctuate with passing cold fronts and drive bass back from shallow flats to deep water in a matter of days but the increasing duration of active sunlight keeps them close to bedding grounds.
Ask 5 fishermen what their favorite pre-spawn baits are and you’ll get many different opinions based on many factors. There is however a few that always remain in the top 5. Here are some of those favorites not in any particular order.
Jerkbaits are a standard pre-spawn go to bait especially in lakes with clearer water. They imitate a variety of baitfish and can be worked in a methodical twitch and pause pace. The colder the water the slower and longer the pauses. Try and match the specific baitfish colors and sizes when selecting the best choices. 10 to 12-pound fluorocarbon or mono on a rod that has a medium to medium-heavy power rating, with a moderate fast to fast action and one that is under 7 feet long. Reels need to be 6.3:1 or slightly higher for optimum performance.
Crankbaits both lipped and lipless are excellent search baits for schooling or staging fish. The lipless baits work extremely well in flats and shallow points while deeper lipped baits can be the ticket for deep points and the edges of ledges and humps. Retrieve styles and speed can be a serious factor during this time. The lipless baits can be retrieved in a steady motion or yoyo style for vertical presentations on suspended fish. For lipped baits, an average 7 ft medium heavy rod with a moderate to moderate fast action and a 5:1 gear ratio will be a good choice. For lipless baits try a 6 ½ foot medium action rod and a 6:1 or better reel. Most anglers today lean towards fluorocarbon line for ultimate stealth.
The old time tested jig. I have caught some of my largest bass on a jig and craw trailer in heavy cover when the pre-spawn bite was on. Especially during the occasional cold snaps that frequent the south in the early spring. Nowadays, there is a myriad of options for jig styles and trailers compared to the old jig and pig days of yesteryear. The best jig rods are 7ft heavy power with fast action tip. Fast gear ratio reels of over 7.0:1 will allow for less time between casts and make your time more efficient. Most anglers use a heavy braid 50-65Lbs and a fluorocarbon leader of sufficient strength for current conditions.
Vibrating jigs like the Chatterbait often are excellent choices used in and around grass flats, stump fields and shallow points. There is just something magical about the vibration of these baits that make them irresistible to hungry bass. These baits work best on a 7 to 71/2 ft medium heavy rod, Heavy braid/ fluorocarbon leader setup and a fairly fast gear ratio (this combo is a great choice). Experiment with different retrieve speeds and trailer choices.
Lastly, the deadly Alabama rig can surely make for an exciting day in pre-spawn conditions. This bulky bait can catch fish all year but can really shine during the weeks prior to the spawn when large females can school together in an area close to bedding banks. While it can catch bass at any time the best use is to locate a big cluster of fish and cast/lob the bait past the school and count it down to the depth of the school and begin a slow retrieve. Make sure to have at least a 7-foot rod, heavy braid and a 6:4.1 heavy duty reel.
All in all the pre-spawn can be a great time to bass fish. Always keep an eye for approaching cold fronts at this time of year and if possible fish up to the front passing for more aggressive fish.
That's all for today! Please be sure to check back in with us next Tuesday for more tips from our expert staff and pro staff around the country.