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Why Balsa Crankbaits Excel for Prespawn Bass

Prespawn bass fishing is synonymous with shallow cranking and few baits outperform balsa wood crankbaits. Pro bass angler Patrick Walters shares several reasons why he feels balsa baits outperform plastic in cold water and how color can factor in as well.


Despite cold water, you need to fish swiftly to locate pockets of scattered bass when they first start pulling up. A mid-sized balsa crankbait is the ideal blend of efficiency and fish-triggering action. Balsa, in particular, provides greater buoyancy than plastic baits while retaining a tighter, more natural action. Patrick explains how this buoyancy equates to less snagging while also being a more accurate representation of crawfish and shad.

Like any specialized presentation, the right rod, reel, and line have a significant impact on performance. Walters details his ideal cranking setup for ‘worming’ crankbaits in and out of cover and keeping bass pinned after hooking up. Variations in water color and forage also make it essential to pack a variety of colors with Walters sharing a few of his favorites.