Time to look shallow, or close to it

Time to look shallow, or close to it

The spring is upon us. Well, most of us anyway. For those unfortunate monster-bass chasers to the North, the cold is still here to stay a while. But the sun is starting to shine on the rest of the bass fishing world, the days are getting longer, and the water is starting to warm. This means it’s time to look shallow, or close to it. 

Pre-spawn - 

As bass ready for the spawning process, they’ll move from the main lakes and rivers into creeks, pockets, sloughs and flats. In these areas, the bass can feed up before making the last push to nearby shallow waters to spawn. 

During this pre-spawn season, bass can be caught by targeting these mid-range areas with football jigs, Ned rigs, medium diving crankbaits, small swimbaits and lipless cranks. You can use a combination of these baits to sample different portions of the water column in these areas. The bass will sometimes suspend up off the bottom, where they are susceptible to a lipless crank or a small, paddle-tail swimbait rigged either on a jighead or an underspin. 

If the bass are sitting closer to the bottom, football and finesse jigs drug slowly across rocky bottoms work well at drawing the attention of these fish. Ned rigs are also particularly effective in these situations if the fish are a little smaller or the bite is extremely tough. 

Using a mid-range crankbait to cover water can be another effective way to catch bass when they’re a little more spread out, or to locate pods of bass that are isolated on certain stretches or pieces of cover. Taking a MONSTERBASS Seeker 8 Crankbait in Crawilcious and running a 45-degree rocky bank for instance will give you a good chance at catching bass during the pre-spawn. 

Imediate pre-spawn - 

The Immediate pre-spawn period refers to the time frame when the bass move into the areas where they will inevitably spawn, but just before they actually go onto the beds. Since not all bass spawn at the exact same time, this immediate pre-spawn phase can stretch on for multiple weeks, as new waves of fish push shallow. 

During this window, spinnerbaits, lipless cranks, vibrating jigs, squarebills and flipping baits all work great. You can target isolated cover like stumps and logs with the jig, spinnerbait and squarebills to pickoff bass that are feeding up shallow. 

Moving out into more open water situations, lipless crankbaits and vibrating jigs work extremely well on flats that are either bare or covered with submerged vegetation. Reeling these baits along the bottom in clean areas works well, as does ripping them through the cover when there’s vegetation present. 

Color selection - 

Color selections of these baits for the pre-spawn and immediate pre-spawn seasons will vary depending on your location, the water color, the local forage and other contributing factors. However, there are some good standard colors to use in certain situations. 

Reds work well with the lipless cranks, squarebills and even vibrating jigs when fishing lakes and rivers with a good population of crawfish. The typical shad patterns work well when shad are the main forage. Brighter and two-tone colors, like chartreuse and white or chartreuse and black do well in muddy water with baits like spinnerbaits and squarebills. 

Black and blue is a great go to when flipping jigs in shallow mud, green pumpkin being another favorite in clearer water. And it’s good to use a green or brown jig deep with a splash of color— chartreuse, orange, purple and blue being some of the more popular choices. 

In conclusion - 

Do not get discouraged if you don’t catch fish right away, as bass tend to group up early in this season and those groups can have considerable space between them. But as the fish move shallow, you’ll find they spread out more and establish their own little areas to hunt or lie in wait for passing prey. 

Using these baits in these colors in these situations will help you boat more bass during the pre-spawn and immediate pre-spawn seasons. This is a perfect time to catch your personal best targeting these fish that are fattening up for the spawn!


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