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5 essential baits for catching early spring bass

Last Updated: 24.04.24


With early spring comes hungry pre-spawn bass plus cold water. You may not even need plenty of tackle since all you really want is to keep things simple. Here are five baits you absolutely should have in your tackle box:


You want simple and small plastic baits. The baits should exhibit simple darting and gliding action on the water. You wouldn’t want any flappy appendages. Pair simple and small plastics with a 3/16 ounce jighead. Have them skim relatively quickly along the bottom.

The plastic should nosedive to the bottom speedily and should be light enough not to get weighed down in the grass. Dipping the tails in chartreuse can give you a little extra advantage, although you may prefer to stick to natural hues.

Plastics are best fished on spinning tackle fitted with 6- to 8-pound fluorocarbon line. Use a medium-action rod to maximize the casting distance using a light bait and also to enable you to release more line during the hook setting process.



Designed to offer consistency in bass fishing, jigs work well in cold water. The versatility of jigs sets them apart. They offer comfortable pitching towards lily pad stems just as they do when dragged slowly off a break line 20 feet away.

A jig matches the profile of a crawfish or bluegill perfectly.

You want the jig to execute a slow dive into the cold water. A ⅜ ounce upskirt jig offers the best such action. Go for a chunk-type trailer that is not overly frisky.

Stick to natural-color jigs. In dirty water, you would want browns, greens or perhaps black/blue jigs. A few strands of orange paired with a green pumpkin trailer would be nice. Bass often feed on small bluegills so you may want to mimic them by dyeing the jig tips in chartreuse to match the look of the small fish food.


Jerk baits

You can capture smallmouth bass in spring by using a suspending jerk bait. You  might even succeed capturing largemouths as well. The wind can get a jerkbait moving realistically. The wind stirs the surface of the water enough to actually fool the fish that they are biting into the real thing even at the pause since they would not be able to give a good look over of the bait before biting it fully.

The wind also helps thanks to how it seems to position the jerk bait in a more predictable manner, schooling the fish up for competing to bite the lure.

It is highly noticeable that when you bring a jerk bait fish to your fishing boat, there are bound to be other fish swimming with them, waiting for you to release the bait into the water.

You have the option to be quite flexible in the number of jerk baits you use between pauses and pause lengths since there is no suitable cadence needed to fish such lures. Match the color with what the bass feed on.

A jerkbait with a matte finish might be best during dark and cloudy days. In other instances, monitor the bait constantly during the retrieve. Without the right cadence or right color, the fish will just follow the bait and not strike at all. Make some color switches as needed by removing the jerk bait split rings and replacing them  with a snap. Quick and easy, right?

Blade baits

Although just a simple piece of metal, a blade bait could really do the trick. A blade bait can be fished pretty fast. It can target fish that tend to dwell in the bottom, as compared to other baits that perform well up in the water column.

You can start with a blade bait by doing a simple lift-up till the blade seems to vibrate, and then drop back to the bottom. Most fish bites occur on the bait fall. A good starting point would be a ⅜ ounce blade finished either in silver or gold. Add quality treble hooks or split rings to replace the hooks.


Lipless crankbaits

Once the fish move shallow, a lipless crankbait ripping through the weeds can be unbeatable as it offers a speedy means of covering a lot of water. Use a braided line to glide through the grass with ease and cut the bait free.

Using a rod with a slow action is critical to ensuring the mouth of the fish doesn’t rip the bait out and pull it of the fish’s mouth.

Start with a red lipless crankbait and make your way from there. Not all crankbaits are made equal, starting with the sound alone. At other times, fish will be enticed by a worn-in sound. Often, you might want to check out a number of new baits to find one with the perfect sound for you.


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