Spring is one of the best times of year to get out on the water and target largemouth bass. Anglers can catch bass on a wide range of lures this time of year. However, there are a handful that shine.
As winter rolls into spring, bass anglers all over the country begin to get anxious and excited. The best time of year to target the all elusive largemouth bass is here. As the water warms, giant female bass begin to move shallow to spawn. Anglers can have some outstanding, unforgettable days on the water during the spring. Bass are super active, very protective of their beds, and extremely aggressive. There’s a lot of fun ways to catch bass this time of year and today, we’re going to break down some of the best options!
Springtime often means stained or muddy water in many fisheries throughout the country. That’s what makes a spinnerbait an excellent choice this time of year. A spinnerbait’s blades are designed to provide a large amount of vibration and flash when brought through the water. This allows bass to home in on it better and feel its vibration from further away.
Spinnerbaits excel when fished around shoreline cover and structure, such as grass, lily pads, reeds, boat docks, and seawalls. They are one of the best lures for fishing in windy conditions as well. Anytime I face windy conditions, I have a spinnerbait tied on. They are one of the best choices for targeting bass during the spring.
The Booyah Baits Tandem Blade Spinnerbait and the Strike King Bleeding Spinnerbait are my top choices when selecting a spinnerbait. Chartreuse is my number one color during the spring because it stands out better in stained water.
Link to Booyah Baits Tandem Blade Spinnerbait: https://amzn.to/35GN2AO
Link to Strike King Bleeding Spinnerbait: https://amzn.to/3iHEeOP
Another lure that really excels in the springtime is a crankbait. Both lipless and squarebill crankbaits come into play during the spring, as they are exceptional baitfish imitators as well. A lipless crankbait shines when fishing open water structure or cover, such as sandbars, shell beds or submerged vegetation. I usually go with a ½-¾ ounce lure depending on water depth and clarity. The deeper and dirtier the water, the heavier the bait.
A Strike King Red Eye Shad is my top choice when lipless crankbait fishing. During the spring, Delta Red Craw is the best color. A lot of bass are feeding on crawfish this time of year and red just seems to catch more fish in the spring.
Link to Strike King Red Eye Shad: https://amzn.to/3cbAAKk
A squarebill crankbait is a better choice when fishing shoreline structure, like rocks, fallen timber, or tree stumps. Banging a squarebill crankbait off this hard cover is what triggers bass to strike. When fishing clear water, a silent bait with little to no rattle works well, while in stained water a noisy crankbait excels.
I prefer a Rapala BX Brat when throwing a squarebill during the spring. It has a tight wobble and simply works better in the still chilly spring water. Again, I’ve seen from experience that some shade of red or craw color will excel during the spring of the year.
Link to Rapala BX Brat: https://amzn.to/2EafijO
A hard, suspending jerkbait is another awesome option during the spring. Jerkbait fishing is a very visual technique, which is why these lures excel in clear bodies of water. Bass can spot a jerkbait from a good distance in clear water and will often track it down from a long way away. When fished with the proper jerk, jerk, pause retrieve, a jerkbait has extreme erratic action and movement. It appears to bass as an injured or fleeing baitfish and an easy meal. It mimics the shad in most fisheries this time of year and excels when fished around open water structure, such as brush piles, rock piles, submerged grass, ledges and drop-offs.
Anglers can’t go wrong with a jerkbait anytime they’re fishing clear water. However, if the water isn’t clear, I don’t even bother fishing a jerkbait and instead, opt for a spinnerbait or crankbait.
The Rapala Shadow Rap 11 is my preferred jerkbait during the spring and any time of year. I like a bone colored lure for most situations.
Link to Rapala Shadow Rap 11: https://amzn.to/3hAFJgg
4. Swim Jigs/Bladed Jigs
Jigs are another great springtime bass lure, especially swim Jigs, and bladed jigs, or chatterbaits. These baits are extremely versatile and can be fished so many ways to catch bass. Whether fished through grass, along laydown trees or rocks, skipped underneath boat docks, or swam through lily pads and reeds, anglers can’t go wrong with a jig. Not only do they catch large numbers of fish, but tend to trigger larger bass to strike. Their large, bulky profile draws the interest of bigger fish.
There are multiple different jig trailers to choose from, however, anglers can’t go wrong with a craw or swimbait trailer. If fishing slowly around rocks or wood, a craw trailer tends to work better, because its legs allow the bait to have a slower fall to the bottom. If fishing the lure faster throw grass, a swimbait trailer excels, because it doesn’t have as much drag and comes through the vegetation with ease.
The Strike King Tour Grade Swim Jig is my favorite swim jig. I most often pair it with a Strike King Rage Tail Craw as a trailer. The Z-Man Original Chatterbait paired with a Strike King Rage Swimmer is my preferred bladed jig setup.
Black and blue is always a good color, especially for swim jigs. However, similar to crankbaits, I like to change it up and throw a red bladed jig from time to time. It’s a color a lot of bass haven’t seen much of and mimics crawfish really well. I’ll paired my red bladed jig with a red Rage Tail Craw.
Link to Strike King Tour Grade Swim Jig: https://amzn.to/3hJLoR8
Link to Strike King Rage Tail Craw: https://amzn.to/2REgqiV
Link to Z-Man Original Chatterbait: https://amzn.to/2ZJyGeX
Link to Strike King Rage Swimmers: https://amzn.to/2H31GYG
If anglers are interested in experiencing some epic surface strikes, they can’t go wrong with a hollow-bodied topwater frog. These epic lures are awesome for fishing thick vegetation, such as grass or lily pads. Hollow-bodied frogs often appear to bass more like bream struggling at the surface than they do actual frogs. Frogs are completely weed less and come through vegetation very well. Anytime dense cover is present, anglers should certainly consider throwing a topwater frog during the spring.
My top choice when throwing a frog is a Booyah Baits Pad Crasher. The bait appears very real in the water and has great action.
Link to Booyah Baits Pad Crasher: https://amzn.to/35HXubj
The soft plastic stick bait, known to most anglers as a senko, is an outstanding lure no matter what time of year it is. It can be fished a number of ways and is arguably the best soft plastic lure ever made. A senko provides a very simple, subtle presentation and presents an easy meal for bass.
Some of the best ways to rig a senko during the spring include Texas rigged for flipping vegetation, Carolina rigged for dragging along offshore structure, and wacky rigged for skipping boat docks. All three of these techniques catch giant bass during the spring and are awesome ways to fish a senko.
My favorite stick bait is the original senko, made by Yamamoto Custom Baits. It has a high salt content and falls fairly quickly to the bottom, making it an ideal bait for wacky rigging and weightless Texas rigging.
I also like the Yum Dinger stick bait, which is especially good for Carolina rigging. This is because it doesn’t have a high salt content, allowing it to not sink as fast. Therefore, when Carolina rigged, the Yun Dinger flutters through the water column behind the bait and stays in the strike zone for longer periods of time.
Link to Gary Yamamoto Senko: https://amzn.to/2FQbBAw
Link to Yum Dinger: https://amzn.to/3c7sd2F
7. Soft Plastic Lizards
Another soft plastic bait that works great during the spring is a lizard. Soft plastic lizards are excellent choices for finesse fishing this time of year. Bass move up shallow along the shoreline and spawn during the spring. They hate it when real lizards try to invade their beds and eat their eggs. Artificial lizards imitate real lizards extremely well and excel when fished around shallow spawning areas with cover nearby, such as sandy flats, coves, and creeks laden with grass or other vegetation.
Texas rigging a soft plastic lizard is typically the most effective way to fish the bait. A 3/0 or 4/0 offset hook and a small 1/8-¼ ounce tungsten sinker allow a lizard to flutter slowly to the bottom and appear very natural to bass.
The ZOOM lizard is my preferred bait of choice. It has the most life-like appearance and holds up to strikes well.
Link to ZOOM Lizard: https://amzn.to/3kqVk3H
Link to VMC Offset Widegap hook: https://amzn.to/32DJux5
Back to You
That wraps up my lineup of top lures for springtime bass fishing. As the weather begins warming up and bass start to become more active, it’s a great time to get out on the water and target largemouth bass. Be sure to give some of these outstanding lures a try the next time you find yourself bass fishing this spring. I’m sure they won’t disappoint.
Thanks for reading!
Happy fishing and keep you hooks wet!