The ice season left a lot to be desired this year, even after an early lock gave us hope for a long a successful hardwater winter. With temperatures yo-yoing and the weather keeping us guessing, many are looking forward to pulling the boat out of storage and boating those early-season lunkers. Here’s five lures for spring bass you’ll find tied on in my boat.
There’s a full review of this buzzbait coming. I wasn’t able to use it nearly enough last year because of my hospital stays, but here’s what I can tell you. It’s the most versatile buzzbait I’ve ever thrown. The blade above the head allows the bait to plane on the water, which means it can be fished slower than other buzzbaits. For pre-spawn bass that are relating to shallow cover and will chase a bait, but aren’t at late-spring activity levels, a slow-rolled buzzbait can catch a surprising number of fish. The key is being able to keep the bait above water, when fishing it slow. The Warpath delivers.
Shallow crankbaits allow pre-spawn anglers to cover a lot of ground and key on active fish. The Aska from Jackall is a silent runner, which I prefer for cooler water conditions when fish can be skittish. The square bill means a tight wobble, and better-than-average deflection capabilities. I prefer the 60 series size, as a balance between a subtle presentation, but still presenting a target throwing enough vibration to attract the attention of big pre-spawn bass. The internal balancing weight improves casting distance, which makes working big spawning flats easier than ever. Designed to run four feet deep, the Aska delivers everything you need in an early-spring shallow running crankbait.
My affinity for the Shadow Rap is well documented, even if my time with the lure was short. The slight sink paired with the exaggerated kicking action infuriates suspended bass, and can pull lethargic lunkers that are holding tight to cover, out to play. Early in the year I like working jerkbaits just off of breaks and last year’s weedline, especially along blowdowns that extend to deeper water or submerged stumps or pilings. That jerkbait dancing just beyond the break is often enough to produce strikes from fish looking to ambush baitfish transitioning into cover.
The 360GT is a brand new swimbait from Storm. The closer you can replicate forage the more success you are going to have, and the 360GT does that. No tricks, no secrets. Cast it out, reel it in. The toe-in boot tail design provides enough thump for bass to pick it up, even in stained water, while also imparting a realistic swimming motion on the lure. Molded rigging holes ensure the bait is in the proper position every time to take full advantage of the 60° extended tie-on leg that keep the lure in the most natural swimming posture possible. The 360GT is going to be tied on early, and may not come off all year.
Few lures have the early-season reputation of a jig and trailer. Fished properly it can imitate early-emergent crawfish that bass love for a high-protein snack, or a dying baitfish. They can cover entire water column, and with the right trailer can be fished at any speed and still give a desirable presentation to hungry bass. I like the Terminator Finesse jig for the half-skirt and single-wire weed guard that cut down on the profile of the bait. While many anglers go with a craw, pork, or bug trailer, I prefer to use a finesse worm, straight or curly tail, to keep the profile down. As the water moves closer to 60° than 50° I’ll go for larger jigs, and more lively trailers, but early, I prefer the smaller profile for its quieter water entry around skittish spring bass.