Five Lures for Spawning Bass

 

Five Lures for Spawning Bass

by Ted Lund

Spawn conditions during the Spring can be one of the most challenging times for anglers. Largemouth bass tend not to chase prey too far, and one of the keys to success is finding artificials that present a realistic profile with little action; during this transition time, less is more, and covering ground is the key to success. Here are five popular artificials that should be in your pre-spawn bass arsenal.

 

Suspending Jerk Baits

These artificials are perfect for prospecting, especially in deeper water, especially over points and humps. Although bass don’t normally chase baitfish aggressively, it is hard for them to turn down a handout. And that’s exactly what these lures represent; baitfish that are dying or stunned by cold water temperatures.

The prototypical spring jerk bait strategy is to cast the artificial past the structure you are working, then reel quickly to get the bait to its prescribed death, then working the bait with a jerk-pause action. Action simulating a wounded or dying baitfish is imparted by varying the sharpness of the rod pulls and the amount of time between jerks and pauses. Experimenting can be key here, varying things while trying to establish a pattern with fish. On each strike, try to note the retrieve you were using to further hone in on the pattern.

And don’t overlook the importance of the pause; most fish hit jerk baits when they are suspended dead-still. Often times, they’ll hit the lure, taking up the slack and hooking themselves.

 

Finesse Jigs

Keeping with the realistic profile and minimal action, nothing represents a good prey item for pre-spawn bass like a hair jig with a crawfish trailer. They are deadly effective as bass move into the warmer water around natural rock outcroppings or in-between dock posts as they wait to move into spawning areas.

These jig-and-pig combinations allow for a slow, subtle presentation mimicking the crustaceans rummaging around on the bottom.

Regardless of whether you opt for a chunk or soft plastic craw body, anglers should remember to match the color scheme of the jig.

The next consideration is color. In cold, clear water, green is a go-to color. Tanin stained waters call for browns and oranges, while truly dirty water sees black and blue combinations producing best.

With regards to trailers, fishermen need to consider the profile and amount of movement. Smaller, less active trailers work best in colder water, but as waters warm or when targeting bigger fish, bulk is key.

Remember to work the jig with a slow-and-low presentation. Lifts and hops of the jig must be slight, so much so that just dragging the jig from cast to retrieve is often effective. When in doubt, fish slower, managing to move the jig only inches at a time.

 

Lipless Crank Baits

As fish start to move into areas of sun-warmed, submerged vegetation, anglers can capitalize with lipless crankbaits, which feature a tight wiggle that imitates dying, stunned baitfish while emitting sound and vibrations that help attract fish.

Lipless crankbaits also give anglers ultimate control over the swimming depth through retrieve speed and rod positioning. They also cast long distances, allowing more in-water time when prospecting.

Deadstick retrieves, where anglers simply cast and retrieve can be the most effective, especially when holding the rod at a high angle. The idea is to fish the bait just over the top of vegetation; a good tip is to slow down if you aren’t feeling the vegetation. Conversely, if you start snagging the vegetation, speed up a little.

Another effective strategy is to pause the bait, allowing it to snag in the grass, then rip it out of the vegetation with a pop of the wrist. That action generally draws strikes as the lure pulls free.

Lipless crankbaits in the 1/2 ounce size are a good all-around starting point; for mimicking larger forage or getting a little deeper, bump up to 3/4- or 1-ounce lures.

Bright red is a popular spring color, imitating crawfish. Other popular colors include chrome with a blue or black back, imitating a wide range of baitfish.

 

Crankbait

One of the most difficult types of artificials to apply to pre-spawn patterns are traditional crankbaits due to differences in size, profile, wiggle and diving range. But those differences also allow anglers to finetune their selection and dial down to more specific patterns.

Speaking in general terms, a crankbait with a tight wobble and narrow profile works well for imitating cold-stunned baitfish and appealing to bass looking for an easy meal. A rounder profile with a wider wobble and deep-diving capability pushes a lot of water and makes a good imitation of crawfish rooting around in the bottom.

When fishing clear water where bass are feeding on shad, natural shad colors are the best. When working the bait across the bottom and bouncing off rocks, greens, oranges, and browns suggest crawfish. When prospecting in dirty water, a splash of chartreuse increases visibility.

The retrieve should be slow, and holding the rod tip low helps keep the lure hitting cover without having to crank quickly. The goal is to hit as much structure as possible with every presentation while working the crankbait as slowly as possible without forgoing good action.

 

Finesse Worm

Last but not least is one of the bass anglers most versatile artificials: the finesse worm.

The finesse worm is a favorite when fishing gets tough, whether fished on a shaky head, drop-shot or Carolina rig.

The shaky head allows fishermen to cover the territory and a wide range of depths by casting shallow and working down structure. Drop-shot rigs work well in vertical presentations when fish move deeper and become extra finicky. When fishing the deep ends of points, the Carolina rig works well.

As a rule, worms less than five inches in length with a simple tail fit into the finesse classification. Other variables include the diameter, softness of the plastic, available colors and tail configurations. Tails that don’t produce much action, along with small profile worms work best particularly in natural and translucent colors like salt-and-pepper or watermelon seed.

The best presentation calls for working the bait a bit before pausing with the line just tight enough to feel everything going on without imparting any more action in the bait. On the bite, the line may go slack, tick or lunge. Any change in line tension calls for a hook set.

 

Although pre-spawn and spawning conditions can be among some of the most challenging bass fishermen can encounter, but adding these five baits to your tackle bag, you can conquer just about anything Mother Nature throws at you.

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Original Source; Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

 

 

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