Mar 10, 2015

Selecting Baits For Spring Bassin’

By: Glenn Walker

After the long, cold winter in the Midwest, many anglers are getting ready to grab their gear and head out to their favorite body of water and chase some bass.  Bass fishing in the spring can be feast or famine at times depending on the weather and water temperature.  If you have prepared yourself properly and have these lures ready to hit water, then you have upped your chances for having a successful day on the water.

Fishing a jig in the spring is many anglers, including mine, go-to lure presentation.  It can be flipped around laydowns and stumps, skipped underneath boat docks or drug around rock and sand, this is why the jig is such a versatile lure choice during the first month of open water. 

The jig’s profile catches a bass’s attention and depending on the water clarity, the color of that jig and trailer can be adjusted to match the conditions an angler faces.  The vast majority of the time I’ll use a ½ oz jig in a black/blue pattern but, if I’m fishing cleaner water, I’ll switch it up to a natural colored green pumpkin jig.

I’ll switch up the size of my Zoom jig trailer from a Super Chunk to a Super Chunk Jr. depending on the water temperature, thus affecting the rate of fall a bass wants.  If they want a slower rate of fall, I’ll go with the Jr. size, where as if they want a faster fall and bigger profile bait the Super Chunk gets rigged on that jig.

Since the amount of vegetation in the spring is non-existent or minimal, I’ll use a Fluorocarbon line, like the Double Structured Seaguar TATSU line in 20 lb. test.  The line provides an angler with two important characteristics, high abrasion resistance and super sensitive.

Many times in the spring the water has a slight stain to it, due to runoff from snow melting or spring showers.  This is why the spinnerbait is a tried and true lure to coax spring time bass into biting. 

Depending on the water clarity, I will throw a single Colorado blade spinnerbait when the water is more stained.  The single Colorado blade puts off a lot of vibration for the bass to key in on when the water clarity is poor.  If the water is cleaner, I’ll go with a tandem blade combination with a Colorado and willow leaf blade on the front.  Some of my favorite spinnerbaits include a ¼ or 3/8 oz. BOOYAH with an all-white or white/chartreuse skirt.  These colors work on many different bodies of water and lure big bass in from a distance.

I like to fish spinnerbaits in any areas that have emergent vegetation or laydowns.  Fishing a spinnerbait across flats where bass could be staging to or spawning is also a good pattern to pursue.  At times, with a spinnerbait, you’ll need to slow the roll the bait, letting it sink all the way to the bottom and then just crawling it back.  This requires patience, attention to detail and a low gear ratio reel, such as the Wright & McGill Victory 6.2:1 model. 

Fishing a lipless crankbait such as a Strike King Red Eye Shad or XCalibur Rattle Bait has been one of my most successful ways to catch big pre spawn smallmouth bass.  Fishing this lure on wingdams, rip rap banks and flats trigger violent strikes from these fat pre spawn bass!  If your lure gets hung on a weed, be ready for a strike. Many times a bass will hit as your lure comes free.  My key color for any rattlebait in the spring is a red craw.

Numerous times, anglers have issues with losing bass on rattlebaits, because it is easy for bass to throw the lure.  I combat this by using a Wright & McGill Tessera S-Glass Crankbait Rod, which has a very soft tip. It gives when the fish makes a run or jumps out of the water, but at the same time it has a good backbone so you can muscle in those brute spring bass!

Another way to help increase your hooking percentage with these types of baits, is to swap the stock treble hooks that come on the bait with specialty treble hooks.  I like to use the Round Bend Lazer TroKar Treble hooks, as they are super sharp and keep fish buttoned all the way to the boat.

Many times, when fishing for bass in the spring, you’ll locate a hot stretch of shoreline or a key section on a flat.  This is when multiple casts are needed and there is no better way to combat current on a river or a brisk spring breeze than dropping a shallow water anchor, such as the Minn Kota Talon.  By doing this, I’m able to focus more on fishing and less on keeping my boat in the right position.

With another bass fishing season upon us, keep in mind these presentations for spring success on the water.

Glenn Walker has been fishing tournaments for over ten years, spreading his passion and knowledge of the sport via articles and videos.  He keeps busy fishing events across the Midwest and on the Mississippi River.  Glenn's sponsors include:  Ducky Products, Humminbird, Jeff Belzer Chevy, Mercury Marine, Minn Kota, Plano, Rayjus, RC Tackle, Seaguar, Simms, Snag Proof, The Rod Glove, TroKar, Wright & McGill and Zoom Baits.  For more information check out or on Facebook at