Wherever you're fishing in the world, there comes a point when the days get longer, the sun shines a little more, and the water in your favorite fishing hole gets warmer. Once water temperatures reach a certain point and the light begins the penetrate it, large and smallmouth spring bass start getting active—and it's not long before they realize how hungry they are.
The bass feed differently this time of year in the springtime compared to other seasons, with their increased appetite and preparation for spawning season. That means to hook em, you need to have the best spring bass lures on hand.
The good part of spring bass fishing is that whether you are targeting smallies, spots, or largemouths, everyone in one area tends to like the same thing, giving each bass angler a good amount of success with one lure. But because your spring bass might be swimming deep in cold water, hanging out in murky flows, or moving into spawning zones, it's smart to keep an arsenal of different bass fishing lures to mimic the different natural bait of the area.
If you want to earn that sore arm from all the fish-fighting battles, check out our other early spring bass fishing tips and our run down of the best lures for bass the rest of the year. As for your tackle box, here are the 10 best spring bass lures to load up on.
1. Z-Man Jerk ShadZ
One great rule-of-thumb when fishing early spring or cold-front bass is to use finesse baits in deeper water. After Jeff "Gussy" Gustafson won the 2023 Bassmaster Classic in part by using the Z-Man Jerk ShadZ soft plastic bait, bass anglers were able to better understand how early season bass relate to forage.
With 30 different color patterns to choose from and four, five, and seven-inch sizes, the Jerk ShadZ has the ability to imitate spring minnows that are just starting to emerge, which will help locate fish and get more strikes.
2. Rapala DT6 Series Crankbaits
For covering deeper strike zones while keeping your bait above the fish, a good crankbait—particularly in a crawfish pattern—does the job nicely. The DT6 dives to roughly six-feet deep with all the great motion that Rapala baits always offer. Red and orange designs for spring bass fishing go hand-in-hand; emerging mud bugs are often active in murkier water, giving this pattern a great chance to be detected by foraging bass.
3. 6th Sense Quake Lipless Crankbait
The grip-and-rip of any good lipless crankbait is what keeps bass anglers coming back, especially since they're highly versatile with bass of all types loving them. When you take into account the early season pattern of sunfish, bluegill, or shad colors, you have all the makings of a spring bass lure that covers a lot of water and attracts feeding bass like no other. Add to that its bass-attracting rattles and wiggling action, and it's no wonder the pros throw many versions of these.
4. BOOYAH Covert Tandem Spinnerbait
Key in early spring bass fishing is using some or all white and chartreuse to your color pattern selection, which is great reaction bait. Working a spinnerbait along areas where spring bass are moving into spawning zones will always find fish that are actively feeding during their pre-spawn pattern. Not many spring bass lures create the feeding frenzy and crushing strikes of a good quality spinnerbait, and BOOYAH's is one of the best.
5. Z-MAN Evergreen Jack Hammer Chatterbait
Quality chatterbait is a good choice as a reaction bait, especially during the spring. Tipped with the right color pattern of a soft plastic swim bait, you have a great option for finding and attracting fish that are sometimes in a neutral feeding pattern. Chatterbaits can cover a lot of water while keeping your offering in the strike zone longer, for greater success.
6. 6th Sense Fishing Provoke 106x Jerkbait
Jerkbait and spring bass fishing go together like peanut butter and jelly. Anywhere there is a forage base of baitfish (e.g., some kind of shad, minnows, or shiners) there is room for a jerkbait in your tackle box. In the spring, topwater offerings that mimic wounded baitfish such as these go a long way toward finding and catching bass that want an easy meal.
7. Strike King Rage Swimmer Swimbait
Both smallmouth and largemouth will eat swimbaits with equal aplomb in the spring, making these bass fishing lures a great option. With many color pattern options, paddle tail baits such as these fill tackles boxes and bags of every bass-fishing enthusiast around the world.
These easy-to-use finesse baits challenge bass to either swallow them on sight or follow them to the boat for those last-second strikes that will stop your heart.
8. Strike King Hack Attack Flipping Jig
Spring bass like to hang out in heavier cover; this is ultimately where they'll spawn, but even big bass are starting to move into these coverts more. Here, a good quality flipping jig at the 0.5-inch size, along with a top notch trailer like the Berkley PowerBait (Maxscent Chunk), will help you to get in close. These are some fo the best spring bass lures as they mimic the year's first crawfish incredibly well, making them hard to resist.
9. Yamamoto Yamasenko Worm
Whether you prefer the traditional wacky rig or the newer Neko rig version, "pencil" style worm rigs get a bass' attention and keeps it focused. The Neko rigged version is essentially a weighted wacky rig with a weight inserted into one end of a Senko worm, giving the bait a unique action as it falls, all while allowing it to stand upright on the bottom.
Either way, this soft plastic presentation is deadly on bass in the spring—or anytime of the year for that matter.
10. BOOYAH Pond Magic Buzzbait
If you haven't thrown a buzzbait for spring bass then you don't know that you're missing. Bass staging for the spawn or ones who are already actively feeding are both suckers for the surface bubbling action that these baits put out.
These single-hook lures can be thrown into fairly deep cover and brought right over it, or used in clear water or shallow water next to obvious weeds, logs, docks, overhanging trees, or other areas where bass find themselves lurking for an easy meal.