Spring can be one of the most productive times of the year for bass anglers. With the warmer temperatures, spring bass will begin to make their way toward more shallow water, where they will begin their annual spawning routine. The unpredictable weather of this season can make it difficult to pattern fish and understand when and where they will show up.
Being successful at catching bass in the spring requires you to be able to adapt to the different patterns and use the right kind of lure. In this article, we’ve listed 14 of the best spring bass lures that you can be sure will work depending on the right conditions and water temperatures.
14 Spring Bass Lures That Always Work
Avid bass anglers have a select number of baits that they rely on during the spring to produce bites. Some of these options will prove to be better depending on which stage of the spawn bass are in, but each one has its own particular value for catching fish in the spring. We’ve listed the key categories of lure below and a favorite or two in each one.
Lipless crankbaits are widely considered to be the most effective lure when it comes to fishing wide sections of clear water in a short amount of time to get a sense of where the fish are. The tight wobbling motion the lipless crankbait has as it is retrieved through the water is what attracts spring bass to strike. Most anglers start fishing cold water during this season with a jig or other bait, but an angler can use these to cover deeper water or to fish shallow areas as well using various retrieve speeds.
The Strike King Red Eye Shad is easily one of the top lipless crankbait lures for spring bass fishing in clear water. This lure is specially designed to have a tighter wobble than others that are made to appeal to fish that are in the pre-spawn feeding stage. The Red Eye crankbait is able to dive to about 8 feet deep, and Strike King made this bait with an internal rattling system that fish find irresistible.
The Rapala Rippin’ Rap features a much taller frame lipless crankbait and is specially made to produce bites in low visibility conditions during this season. The overall design gives this bait a higher vibration rate than most other lipless crankbaits and allows you to fish it with a variety of retrieve styles through vegetation or clear water.
Early spring can sometimes be tough as the water is still quite cold, and bass are not yet feeding aggressively. Using a suspending jerkbait above vegetation is the ideal approach to draw strikes from lethargic fish without forcing them to expend much effort.
The Megabass Vision Oneten is a favorite among professional bass anglers when it comes to targeting early spring bass. This lure is made to give you all the same distinct darting and diving motions that make jerkbait so productive, but its true value is in the lure’s ability to remain in the strike zone longer.
Square Bill Crankbaits
Once bass reaches the shallow areas of lakes and other waterways that have more structure or vegetation, a square bill crankbait is a solid lure choice. Bass will still be looking to feed on shad or small bait fish in these areas, and the square bill design helps this lure avoid being snagged on cover for the spring fishing season.
The Yo-Zuri 3DB Series Squarebill Crankbait 1.5 is a bait an angler can cast in and around heavy covers like docks, trees, stumps, and brush piles in the spring fishing season. The lure’s shape and square bill allow it to bounce off of cover and travel through the water in a wide, wobbling motion that makes it appear like a shad that’s hunting for its next meal. You can use a slow or fast retrieve technique with a lipless crankbait to catch bass this time of year.
When bass are staging in very shallow sections of water during spring fishing, you are severely limited to the types of lures an angler be able to effectively draw strikes with. A good swimbait is capable of attracting big bass this time of year to move in for a closer look during the pre-spawn.
There are plenty of different types of swimbaits you can use during the spring, but few have the lifelike shad action and appearance that the Optimum Baits Fred Roumbanis’ BoomBoom Swimbait offers. This is an excellent choice of bait for going after monster bass. You can rig it with a weight, but it’s available in a variety of different colors that are made to mimic shad and allow for you to fish in and around cover as well.
Soft plastics are one of the most popular types of lures used by anglers in the spring. In shallow water, bass will waste no time striking at anything that remotely resembles a decent meal, and there are plenty of different types of soft plastic baits that allow you to mimic their favorite choice of prey.
When it comes to bass fishing along any type of depth change, a YUM Ribbontail Worm is an excellent choice of soft plastic finesse lure in the spring. This type of bait allows you to search the bottom and bounce or drag it along to draw strikes from bass that are at or near the bottom. You can fish this plastic finesse bait using a Carolina rig or virtually any other style to catch spawn fish.
Sometimes the best approach to spring bass fishing is using a simple plastic lure. The Gary Yamamoto 5-inch Senko is a soft plastic lure that can be fished in a variety of forms from Texas to wacky rigging to catch spawning bass in shallow water. This lure is a bass fishing machine and is a must-have soft plastic for any angler in the spring.
A solid finesse worm-like NetBait’s most popular model works wonders on spring bass that are spawning. You can use this lure with a wide variety of presentations depending on the type of cover and depth you’re fishing. Whether you’re using a Carolina rig, shaky head, or Ned rig, the NetBait Finesse Worm is a must-have for springtime bass fishing.
The Z-Man TRD BugZ is an ideal selection for bass fishing for spawning fish that are on the bed or prowling the shallows. You can fish this lure Ned rig style or with a variety of different presentations. The ribbed body of this bait helps trap tiny air bubbles that form as it works along the bottom near the bedding bass.
Spinnerbaits are the perfect “seek-and-destroy” lure for spring bass fishing as you’ll be able to cover lots of water and quickly locate schools of bass with ease in the pre-spawn. When bass move towards the more shallow portions of a waterway, it’s best to go with a smaller spinnerbait that won’t be prone to getting snagged so easily. These are a good choice of lure when water temperatures are in the mid-50s, and you’re fishing in stained water or deeper in the water column.
The right kind of spinnerbait will usually produce both reaction strikes and predatory chasing from hungry bass in the spring. The Terminator P1 Pro Series Double Colorado Spinnerbait is the ideal type of spinnerbait lure for spring bass fishing as it allows you to fish in shallow water that might be anywhere from 8 feet in depth to just 1 foot. It features a baitfish-style head with oversized eyes for added realism in clear water conditions.
Jigs and Chatterbaits
If bass aren’t in the mood to chase after crankbaits or spinnerbaits, it’s a good idea to slow down your bait and try using either a jig or chatterbait. When nothing else seems to be working, switch to a jig or especially a chatterbait to draw strikes from hard-to-catch bass that are a bit finicky during spring season bass fishing.
If there’s one lure that’s emerged as a bonafide game-changer in the last few years of bass fishing, it’s the chatterbait. Z-Man’s ChatterBait JackHammer StealthBlade is easily the most popular style of chatterbait available today for a number of reasons. You can fish this bait as slow or fast as you please, and there’s also no limit to when or where it will catch fish. Why it’s such a productive fishing bait still remains a bit of a mystery to most anglers, but there’s one fact that you can count on: it works from the pre-spawn through the late spring season.
If you’re not fishing with tungsten-style bait, it’s time that you start now. The Picasso Tungsten Little Spotty Jig is by far the best all-around finesse jig that you can employ during the spring to probe shallow water cover and changes in the bottom. This jig might be less effective for fishing in clear water, but it is a good choice for fishing in deeper water in the spring. The tungsten jig head is perfectly-shaped and designed to give you extra sensitivity so you can feel those subtle bites or when the jig ‘ticks’ against rocks or stumps along the bottom. Black and blue colored jigs are best for covering water that's deeper in the spring.
Topwater Frogs and Lures
There’s nothing quite as exciting as the first topwater bite of the year when a bass explodes on the water’s surface on your bait. There’s no shortage of the different types of topwater fishing lures available to bass fishing experts today, but a select few will be more productive than others during the spring months before the summer heat sets in.
Bass will typically begin seeking frogs once the water starts to warm up close to 70 degrees in most areas. Using a subtle yet lifelike style of frog lure like the Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog 65, you’ll be able to tap into a bass’ instinctual drive to attack a frog near heavy cover. Frogs are not going to be very productive until late spring, but you should start throwing this bait once the water temperature reaches about 60 degrees.
The buzzbait once emerged decades ago as a true enigma among bass fishing lures. Nobody could truly pinpoint just why it was so effective at catching fish, and it was even banned from tournaments for a spell. The Molix Lover Buzz SS Mini Buzzbait is one of the top styles of buzzbait today that you should incorporate into your spring bass fishing arsenal. This smaller-profile buzz delivers the tight, bubbling movement along the water surface that drives bass crazy in the spring, summer, and fall.
Bass Spawning Stages and Fishing Techniques
Early Spring Bass Fishing
The early spring pre-spawn can be the toughest phase of bass fishing during this season, but it’s also the best time to catch the biggest bass. As the water temperatures climb from the cold winter levels, fish will continually move toward the shallow water areas where they will spawn. A strong cold front will push them back towards deep, clear water, which makes it hard for some anglers to figure out where they should fish during the pre-spawn.
The best strategy for early spring bass fishing is to use lures like lipless crankbaits, suspended jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and others that allow you to search wide swaths of water and locate fish when they’re biting. Don’t make the mistake of fishing too shallow during this time, as pre-spawn bass will either be in deep or moderately shallow water. It should be noted that early spring is the best time to catch big pre-spawn bass.
For most of the United States, the bass spawn will kick into high gear during the middle spring phase. The larger females will move toward the shallows, following the smaller males who first come in and fan out the bed areas. When you start to see muddy spots along the banks in the spring, there’s a good chance that this is due to spawn fish fanning the beds and preparing for females to lay eggs in them.
You can target these fish with square bill crankbaits, but they will mostly be after slower-moving lures that you can work along the bottom near their spawning grounds. Jigs, creature lures, and any type of soft plastic rig will truly shine during this period, as you can catch a giant bass that’s just about to lay eggs by fishing along the northern shores of any lake. The northern portions of any shore will receive more sunlight, causing the water to warm more quickly than other areas. This means bass will first spawn along the northern shorelines of any body of water during mid-spring.
Once bass has laid their eggs, it can be tricky to figure out how to catch them during the late spring. Females will often take several days to rest and recuperate after the rigors of the spawn. Once the female has left her bed, the males will often stay close by and continue to guard the fry once they begin to hatch for a short while.
It’s best to stay close to shallow water cover during this period, as bass will usually be looking to feed heavily and regain the weight they lost during the spawn. Bass will begin hiding in and around various types of cover and ambushing their prey during late spring. You can make use of virtually any type of lure we’ve mentioned in this article during this time, but it’s recommended that you throw a chatterbait if you have trouble getting bites.
Final Thoughts on the Best Spring Bass Lures
Bass fishing in the spring is often a mystery, but it is also the most exciting time to be on the water. Each lake will have its own characteristics and patterns during spring fishing, and the best way to understand how to make use of each type of lure we’ve mentioned is to get out and fish with them. If you’re looking to catch a big bass, there is no better time than spring bass fishing.