Bass fishing in the spring brings out more anglers than just about any other time or type of fishing. Largely because it’s also the best time to catch big bass and predictable bass. While it can probably be said that just about any lure you own will probably catch a bass at some point in the spring, there are a handful that are proven effective tools for finding bass through the various stages of spring bass fishing.
While there are a multitude of what we consider the best bass lures, a handful of these lures really excel in the spring. Because they either cover the water depth zones efficiently or they fit the mood of the fish in the spring. We’ll explain that as we go.
Here are the top 7 picks for spring bass fishing lures:
- Small Cranks
- Creature Baits
- Wacky Rigged Senko
- Floating Worm
In the spring when fish are pushing up out of the depths of the main lake, they start pushing into bays, creeks and major pockets. Sometimes they go to the bank. But a lot of times they go to high spots in the middle or drains and ditches head to the back. And a small crankbait can be a great way to entice bites and find groups of fish.
We recommend three types of small crankbaits in the early spring period:
- Flat sides
- Lipless cranks
- Small shad bodies
A flat-sided crankbait generally has a subtle wiggle, doesn’t make a lot of noise and can sneak into a strike zone when fish are first moving up in dingy to clear water. The small profile, action and movement are perfect for getting lots of bites and also big bites. Baits like Spro Little Johns, Rapala OG Tiny, Berkley Fritts Side and a Strike King Chick Magnet Jr. have become staples for that prespawn spring bite with a flat sided crankbait. But the new more custom made flat sides are works of art and pretty sick fish catchers in their own right.
A lipless crankbait covers water maybe better than any fishing lure out there. You can throw it a mile, rip it and burn it and slow roll it and it always runs right and putts off a subtle vibration with a clicking noise fish have proven to love in the spring. Countless tournaments in the spring have been won on the staple lipless crankbaits like a Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap, Strike King Red Eye Shad, Cotton Cordell Super Spot, Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe, and other lipless crankbaits.
A shad bodied crankbait like a Rapala Shad Rap, a Rapala DT6, a SPRO Rock Crawler, a Storm Wiggle Wart, and the Berkley Money Badger all dive to that depth range just off the bank and are very unobtrusive. These baits can find fish and get bites with the subtle action. When the bass are coming up to feed before the spawn these baits really clean house. Some of our best days in the prespawn have been on small shad crankbaits.
A Z-Man Chatterbait and other vibrating jigs like Strike King Thunder Crickets and Berkley Slobberknocker offer anglers a way to cover water where the crankbait might be too obtrusive or the cover not as conducive to treble hooks. A Chatterbait really excels in grass and cold water that is warming. And it works in clear water and dirty water alike. That’s what makes it such a powerful tool.
We reach for bladed jigs anytime we want to cover water and we’re not sure what type of cover and water clarity we may face. It’s a good starting point in the spring and the nice thing is it works from the early prespawn to late into the post spawn. It’s just a flat out fish catcher. Don’t be afraid to downsize or use bright colors if the conditions call for it. A red craw Chatterbait has become a popular choice in the spring.
The old staple spinnerbait catches bass in a variety of situations and water depths. It fishes equally well in shallow water and deep water and on wood or vegetation alike. And when you want a big bite in the spring in muddy or stained water, a good spinnerbait is usually the tool that will get that for you.
When spring rains bring the lake levels up, a lot of debris that fell along the bank over the winter is picked up and put into the lake. A lot of lures get fouled in all the debris, but a spinnerbait is one of those lures that will usually fish clean through there for you and catch those fish underneath the added obstacles floating on the surface.
We reach for a spinnerbait shallow in the prespawn, and then again deeper in the post spawn around brush and ledges after the fish move out to recuperate from the spawn.
When the bass are all the way shallow and about to spawn, spawning and just got done spawn and are still shallow, a buzzbait can be one of those lures that gets you a really big bite not to mention some heart-pounding action. There is nothing like sling that buzz bait under and around cover with a whirr, then being lulled to sleep by its trance-inducing gurgle until a giant bass explodes the water around it.
A buzzbait covers water quickly, agitates aggressive spawners and roamers and can get through a lot of gnarly stuff and come back clean. It’s a dynamite bait to catch big fish in the spring.
This is the most versatile of all plastics in the prespawn. Whether you are talking about pulling it on a Carolina rig on points and humps in the prespawn or pitching it to likely spawning areas where bass might be guarding a nest. And even later in the spring when the bass are guarding their fry in cover like bushes, laydowns and grass mats, a creature bait can be punched and flipped into cover to draw out big post spawn bass.
Baits like Zoom Lizards, Zoom Brush Hogs and Brush Craws, Strike King Rage Bugs, Yamamoto Flapping Hogs and more make great baits for Carolina rigging, Texas rigging, bed fishing, flipping, punching and more.
A creature bait’s versatility gives anglers a lot of options to catch bass in the spring when bass are aggressive and look to feed up before and after the spawn or just keep creatures out of their nests and away from their fry.
Arguably the most user friendly lure you can fish in the spring. The lure does all the work for you. Cast it out, let it sink and do its magic shimmy and then watch for your line to get picked up and start moving off, or reel it in and cast it to the next spot. If you wacky rig a senko though, you can fish it all the way back to the boat and pick up a lot more fish.
A wacky-rigged Senko can be skipped around docks and shallow water and make very quiet and subtle presentations when bass are shallow, skittish and on-guard. We will usually skip it up to a spot shallow on a wacky rig. Let it settle to the bottom and then just pop it along with a series of short pops and then let it sink to the bottom again. Every time you hop it up and let it sink, that bait is shimmying and shaking in front of the fish. So many fish have been caught just casting a senko out and letting it sit. There really is no wrong way to fish it. But letting it do the work is the key.
On the flip side, we really like a weightless straight tail worm on an offset worm hook, often referred to as a floating worm, although most of them don’t float. And that’s okay. Without a weight on it, you can cast it out, watch it sink just slightly out of sight and then hit it with a small rod twitch and it will dart back up towards the surface. You will often get a strike after one of these darts and just as it goes out of your sight. You will see the line pop or go straight and that’s usually all the indication there is a bite.
But a floating worm is another addictive, fun and stealthy way to creep along and catch bass even in ultra clear water that are just out of your sight. You can draw out and catch a ton of fish before you even get close to them. We often will use this bait in the spring to cover water ahead of us as we stalk through the shallows trying to see big bass up roaming are guarding. We like a Zoom Trick Worm in Bubble Gum or Merthiolate so we can see it at a distance. And bass seem to like pink and orange in the spring.
We love spring bass fishing and having this handful of lures will cover most of your bases. Like we said, spring is the prime time of bass fishing and most every lure will work at some point in the spring. But these 7 lures can cover from the early cold prespawn period up to the late post spawn period before all the fish move off deep on most major reservoirs. They are search tools and also big fish catchers which is what you want since bass are usually their largest in the prespawn in the spring.
With these 7 lures you can have lots of options, cover the water lots of different ways and find bass quickly as you cover water.