With winter fading away, fishermen all over the country have their eyes on the first bass of spring.
The coming season has a reputation for producing some of the biggest fish of the year, but bass fishing in the still-chilly waters of early spring can be notoriously hit or miss.
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Without a game plan, even the most seasoned angler can be sent home empty handed.
Size and Speed Matter
Seldom is the size and speed of a lure more important than in early spring. At the dawn of the season, when waters are still in the 40s, big bass are sluggish and often unwilling to chase a big, flashy lure.
Jig-and-pig combos in a natural color are often productive, and a suspending jerkbait like the Rapala Husky Jerk in the 3 1/2 or 4 3/8 inch size is also an excellent lure for spring bass fishing. With both baits, a slow, methodical start-and stop retrieve is usually the way to go.
Working With the Weather
Bass fishing in early spring means watching the sky as much as watching the water. A warm, sunny day — or better still, a series of three or four warm sunny days — can really get bass moving, allowing fishermen to use more aggressive techniques.
The best time to be on the water is the first overcast day following several warm sunny days. The warming trend will have gotten bass more active, and the cloud cover will have them feeding actively. The best area to focus on is the first major drop-off in the lake, as well as the shallow water nearby.
Set Your Sights
Spring is a great time for sight fishing, and big bass can often be seen cruising in the shallows. Armed with a pair of polarized sunglasses, anglers can stroll along the bank or use their trolling motor to make their way slowly through shallow water, casting to individual fish as they see them.
Stealth is the name of the game. Big bass can be easily spooked in shallow water, so it’s important to keep noise to a minimum and try to avoid letting bass see your shadow. Soft plastics like stickbaits and soft jerkbaits are great options for sight fishing.
Let us know how you catch the first fish of the spring in the comments below.