Springtime in the upper-midwest comes abruptly and doesn’t last long! However it is one of the best times to fish for largemouth bass and it presents a great opportunity to bring a friend who doesn’t fish much or even better, introduce a kid to fishing. Largemouth bass move up into the shallows this time of year and become predictable and usually easy to catch. If you’ve been thinking about bringing someone new to fishing out, now is the time to do it! Find a shallow bay with warmer water and some vegetation and you are in business. Below are my favorite springtime largemouth techniques and baits.
1. Swim Jig
The swim jig is an old standby for many bass anglers in the spring for good reason. It is great when fished shallow and comes through vegetation awesome. A couple of my favorite swim jigs are Outkast Tackle Pro Swim Jig or a Super-K Swim Jig paired with a craw or grub trailer like the Berkley 4” single tail grub. The big grub trailer has a nice action and keeps the bait up in the strike zone when you are fishing shallow. The swim jig acts as a great search bait that you can use to cover water quickly. I like to shake my rod tip a little as I'm reeling it in to give the bait an erratic action. Once you locate some fish, you can slow down and use my next favorite bait; the stick bait.
2. Stick bait (Senko)
A stick bait is probably the best fish catching bait there is in the spring. A traditional Yamamoto Senko is fantastic, and I also like Arsenal Fishing’s Boomstick, especially in the spring. The Boomstick is a little lighter weight than a Senko and falls very slow, which can be great in shallow water. Wacky rigging is awesome, it gives the bait a lot of action, but if you’re around vegetation, don’t be afraid to texas rig a stick bait with a 4/0 worm hook (weightless). This gives the bait a little different look, and keeps grass off your hook. This is an awesome technique for newbies as well, it’s very user friendly and straight up catches them.
3. Texas Rigged Craw
Sight fishing in the spring can be phenomenal. My favorite bait to throw when I’m looking at them is a Texas rigged craw style bait, like the Strike King rage craw. You can make extremely accurate pitches to fish you see with this bait. I also like a Net Bait paca craw because it will fall tantalizingly slow because of all the action in its claws. I like to throw these on a straight shank flipping hook with a pegged tungsten weight.
4. Hollow Body Frog
Once the water is in the upper 50’s a frog will catch them, but it especially shines when largemouth are in their post-spawn phase (closer to 70 degrees). I stay in the same areas where I have seen bass bedding, but throw the frog around the next available heavy cover. I also see bass suspend under docks a lot during this period and frog worked under and around docks can be dynamite. I like a Spro Bronzeye frogs as they are durable and come stock with a great hook.
Below is a list of the baits I love to use, and I hope this helps you narrow down your arsenal this spring. It’s all about finding fish fast!