Spring is known for excellent bass fishing, but there’s an underutilized technique that can easily turn good fishing days into outstanding ones. As anglers target the shallows in hopes of intercepting big, transitioning bass, Big Bite Baits pro Russ Lane does the same—with one minor difference. During all phases of the spawn, he’s a huge believer in dyeing soft plastic bass lures.
While many of us only reach for our bottles of dye when faced with short-striking bass, Lane has developed a solid soft plastic dyeing system that produces more bites and bigger fish.
Throughout most of the country, prespawn water clarity is often limited. With abundant winter precipitation muddying many fisheries, Lane looks to a specific dye color to combat the cold, murky water.
“If I’m fishing dirty water in the 50-degree range, I put orange dye on all of my plastics,” Lane said. “More times than not, I catch prespawn fish that spit up orange and red crawfish pinchers, which tells me they’re primarily feeding on crawfish.”
Not only does Lane look for crawfish in the mouths of these bass, but he also inspects the color of their mouths. When he notices their crushers and teeth stained red or yellow, he knows it’s time to break out the orange dye.
“Whether I’m flipping and pitching a Big Bite Baits Russ Lane YoDaddy or using a Big Bite Baits Chunk, I just dip the pinchers in the dye,” Lane said. “It’s a perfect imitation of a crawfish and it gets me a ton of extra bites.”
When the water temperature hits the 60-degree mark and the bass start to get locked onto their beds, Lane still dyes his plastics, but he opts for a different color. Although it’s a subtle change, it makes a big difference in his success.
“I use chartreuse dye on all of my plastics when I’m bed fishing,” Lane said. “Just a little bit of chartreuse on the tail helps trigger a lot of aggression from bass protecting their beds from bluegill and bream.”
While the chartreuse dye generates more aggressive strikes from bedding fish, it also aids in his ability to see the bait. Dark-colored soft plastics can be tough to see when bed fishing, but the added color helps Lane detect bites faster, resulting in more fish catches.
As the bass finish spawning, sunfish, such as bream and shell crackers, move into the shallows to do the very same thing. During this time period, Lane continues using chartreuse dye, but for a very different reason.
“When sunfish get on bed, their colors get really bright and their yellow tails are highly visible,” Lane said. “Female post spawn bass will often stay in the shallows to feed on them, so a Big Bite Baits WarMouth or Big Bite Baits Russ Lane Coontail Worm with a chartreuse-dyed tail fished around bluegill beds is a great way to catch some big post spawn bass.”
As spring winds down, Lane still utilizes chartreuse dye, but becomes more selective. When the bass first move to their summer dwellings, such as humps and river ledges, a Big Bites Kreit Tail Worm dipped in chartreuse works wonders for him.
“If the water clarity is less than 2 feet, I always use chartreuse dye to give the bass a better look at the bait,” Lane said. “In clear water, however, I prefer more natural colors unless there’s a lot of cloud cover.”
As you knock the dust off of your fishing gear this spring and head out to enjoy warmer temperatures and spawning bass, make sure to remember your soft plastic dye—sometimes the smallest modifications yield the biggest results.