Written by Andrew Schadegg
For bass fishermen, early spring is the most wonderful time of the year.
This is when most anglers are coming out of their winter hibernation, getting out on the water for the first time. Of course, if you’re lucky enough to live in warmer climates you’ve probably been on the water for weeks, possibly even months. For the rest of us, we’re getting into the time of year when the bass are getting really active. The first few warm fronts of the year have started moving them from their winter homes up into the shallower areas.
To get you started off this fishing season the right way, here are three tips to locating and catching early spring bass:
1. Focus on Water Temp – One of the great things about bass is that they are predictable creatures of habit. Their entire lives and behavior are predicated on some very basic instincts. The instinct to eat, mate, be safe and be comfortable. That’s pretty much it. Most of these instincts are influenced by time of year and water temperature, so it’s absolutely imperative to pay attention to what the water temp is doing in the early spring. It’s fairly universal that largemouth spawn somewhere between 55-60 degrees. Before that, in the prespawn, when the water temp rises up to around 48-55 degrees, you’re typically going to see bass start to get really active feeding up. This is the best chance all year to catch a giant.
2. Search with Reaction Baits – Once those water temps get up to that prespawn temperature, it’s time to start covering some serious water. Start out deep near the main lake points or common deep areas that bass like to hang out and work your way more shallow. Jerkbaits, crankbaits, A-rigs, walking baits and swimbaits are just some of the moving baits that are essential to have rigged up. Keep moving until you find the fish. Once you do, it can be fast and furious. Make sure that you have some finesse baits rigged up to follow up if you get short strikes. A stick bait or Senko style bait weightless is a perfect option.
3. Look Below the Surface – More than any time of the year, in the spring it is really important to pay attention to what’s going on under the water. If you have a boat, make sure you have some decent electronics that will alert you to fish activity where you’re fishing. When you don’t see bait and fish, move on. Invest in a decent pair of polarized sunglasses and spend some time looking in the shallows for bass moving up into their spawning flats. Keep in mind that if you see smaller males around, the big girls aren’t far away. Pay attention to that area where you can barely see the bottom. Many times, you’ll spot a bigger fish cruising in and out of your visual area. Get away from the little fish, pull off the shallows a bit and target that slightly deeper area. This can pay off huge this time of year.
Nothing beats time on the water to really learn and pattern bass behavior, so make sure to get out in the spring as often as you can. Try and follow the bass as they go through their transitions. It will teach you more than any article or video possibly could!