I’ve spent hours in the garage this winter stocking, organizing, and tweaking my fishing tackle for the upcoming season. With hundreds of baits to choose from, deciding what to tie on first isn’t always easy.
To help out, here is a quick list of the 5 best baits for fishing early in spring.
Spring is just around the corner, and to me, that means one thing: BIG. FAT. BASS. After a long winter, I’m jacked up to start slinging baits and ripping lips.
Lipless crankbaits have tight wobbling action, which help trigger strikes from fish less willing to chase erratic baits. Lipless crankbaits sink, which allows you to fish this one bait at different depths effectively.
Silent But Deadly
In clear water, I use the quieter, more subtle silent lipless crankbait. Silent baits spook less fish and can trigger bites when fishing in a crowd. If everyone else is throwing loud rattling baits, try using a silent version.
The loud rattles from a lipless crankbait help call in fish from far away. Fishing in stained water or windy conditions are times when I pick up a bait with loud rattles. Use crawfish colored lipless crankbaits and target river channels, secondary points, and sunny banks in the spring.
A slow and steady retrieve is my favorite technique during this time. Covering water and keeping a slow and steady retrieval speed has helped me to stick the most fish.
A suspending jerkbait holds all of the characteristics I look for in an early spring bait, and they’re also a fun way to catch fish.
With a simple twitch of the rod, anglers can’t mimic the action of a wounded or fleeing shad with their trusty old jerkbait. Traditionally, I’ve fished suspending jerkbaits from brands like the Rapala or Lucky Craft. While I still love both of those brands, I’ve had the most success recently fishing with the new Googan Squad Scout jerkbait.
I use a twitch, twitch pause retrieve with my jerkbaits in the spring, typically letting my bait rest for at least 2 seconds after the second twitch. In cooler water, I will add in an even longer pause. Most of my jerkbait bites come during the pause.
Arguably the best jerkbait angler of all time, Kevin Van Dam, once said that you should never use your reel to bring in a jerkbait but instead use the rod. The reel is just there to pick up the line as your rod brings the bait in. I always try to remember that when I fish jerkbaits.
When bass aren’t chasing my moving baits, one of the first things I switch to is a finesse jig.
A finesse jig gives me exactly what I need from a jig but in a downsized profile. Fish can be finicky this time of year and I feel like a finesse jig provides me with a few extra bites when compared to jigs with larger profiles.
Rocks, docks, metal, and other hardcover warm up quickly when the sun rays beat down on them. Bass gravitate to these areas to warm up during the early parts of the year.
The chatterbait is a tight wobbling bait that set-ups perfectly for springtime fishing. Covering water is key this time of year, and there are few baits better than the chatterbait.
While chatterbaits put off an insane amount of THUMP, they do this while maintaining a streamline swimming profile. I think this is the perfect combination for early spring fishing. The chatterbait’s blade calls fish in, and the streamline swimming action convinces fish into taking a swipe.
When it comes to chatterbait trailers, it’s all about the Yamamoto Zako for me. The Zako puts off an inviting swimming action without taking away action from the bait.
Soft Plastic Craws
In clear water, there are few better baits than a soft plastic craw. Clearwater fish rely heavily on sight, so having a bait that looks similar to what fish are used to eating will result in more bites. With so many rigging options available, a soft plastic craw is an easy lure choice for this time of year. Texas rigs, shakey heads, and Carolina rigs are three of my favorite ways to fish a craw during this time.
The north side of lakes and ponds receive the most sunlight and therefore warm up the fastest in the spring. Target these areas with the baits we’ve covered today and your season should be off to a hot start.