There are only a few basic bass lures needed in spring, tubes, spinnerbaits, soft plastic jerkbaits, soft plastic worms, jigs (with a chunk), top water baits and crankbaits. These basic lures can accommodate all the basic spring time patterns from shallow water to deep structure where the bass will be found from the pre spawn through post spawn in late spring.
Different lures for different situations
A tube jig is a good presentation for spawning bass. It can be fished as a craw-fish or a baitfish threatening the nest. A tube can be rigged with a lead head jig inserted, on a Carolina rig, Texas rigged or as a drop shot rig depending on what the situation calls for. The tube is an overall excellent bait choice for bass throughout the spring season.
The spinnerbait is a favorite of many anglers allowing them to quickly cover a large area of water. The lure is excellent for the depths that bass are found in the spring from a few inches deep to ten to twelve feet in depth. The lures relatively weedless presentation and retrieve speed variations make it a versatile choice for the seasons changing bass. The spinnerbait is also a great choice for clouded to muddy water for which spring rains can change overnight.
Another popular favorite in spring is the soft plastic jerkbait and the classic soft plastic worm. These baits are very successful when the aggression of the prespawn bass has somewhat diminished. Fished weightless and allowed to free fall, they are often taken by bass that can’t seem to pass up an easy meal. In the post spawn they are successful when fished on a drop shot rig or Texas rigged to get them into the strike zone.
The bass jig is considered by some to be the ultimate lure to get big post spawn bass out of the cover of matted grass and heavy wood cover. The addition of a chunk trailer adds to their profile and presentation as well as gives the bass something they will hold onto a little longer.
Crankbaits that run deep are great for deeper structure and shallow running and lipless crankbaits are good for the flat spawning areas. These baits are a staple in spring tournaments for professional anglers due to their ability to quickly search for bass in a large area.
And last but not least are the top water baits. Chuggers, poppers, walkers, and those that buzz are the favorite of many anglers. Top water season is in its prime just after the spawn, and something that many anglers wait for all year. Heart pounding explosions and adrenaline filled excitement make these baits top sellers.
How to decide what to choose
Now to decide when to use what lure can be a difficult decision. In the pre spawn when the bass are active, the size of the presentation is not as critical as it is in post spawn when things begin to slow down. Matching the hatch for post spawn is helpful. Many anglers agree that a subtle lure presentations in clear water and larger brighter colored lures in stained water is a simple way to begin lure selection. Many simply match the lure to the color of the water and sky. In the cool water of early spring noise is not as much as a bite influence as it is in the warmer water of post spawn. In the cooler water smaller lures with slower presentations work well and then late spring will require larger and faster presentations. If bass are running from an anglers cast, this is a good indication to use a softer approach, such as worms or soft plastic jerkbaits. When fishing jigs in cover in the spring, move the lure slower than is done in late summer. Going weedless for bass in the cover is a good idea. Top water can be the best choice in early morning and late afternoon and over cast days.
These seven basic lures with a common sense approach will build confidence in the lures and in you as well. Fish the conditions and the location you find the bass, and then let the bass tell you what they want. The spring is a great time to experience bass fishing, and it is an even better time to introduce children to our sport. Part of being a responsible angler is passing good fishing ediquite along to the next generation.