Bass is cold-blooded.
Cold-blooded animals don’t expend metabolic energy maintaining their internal temperature. Instead, the temperature inside their bodies matches that of their outside environment. When the water is hot, the fish is hot. When the water is cold, the fish is cold.
When attempting to maximize your bass fishing strategy’s effectiveness, you must take those facts into consideration- especially in the springtime.
So, how do you take advantage of the spring bass fishing opportunities? Here are four tips to help you out.
Hungry Bass in Early Spring
During the winter, the water cools, and the bass get cold. Cold bass are slow and unaggressive compared to their summertime selves, and that means they’re feeding less often. Two things happen as a result of this: the bass lose weight, and the bass get hungry.
Luckily for fishermen, the bass carry that hunger into spring. And a hungry bass is the bass you want to be fishing for.
Hungry bass will be more willing to expend the energy necessary to feed aggressively. Also, because more bass are feeding, there is more competition for food. This creates feeding frenzies where bass are less particular about what they’re eating.
Know the Water Temperature
The truth is, Bass don’t care what season it is or what time of the year it is. The temperature of the water determines their biological clock, and their biological clock is what effects their feeding and breeding habits.
The key to catching bass, no matter what, is understanding their feeding and breeding habits.
In the spring, there are two major events in a bass’ life: the pre-spawn period and spawning. Understanding these two events will help you pattern the fish, and catch more of them.
The prespawn occurs in the early spring when water temperatures are around 48 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the time period when bass are the most hungry, which means it’s also the time when they’re the easiest to catch. Also, since the breeding fish are preparing for the spawning period, this is when even the biggest bass will be feeding aggressively.
To take advantage of the promising opportunities of the prespawn period, focus on fishing in shallower water near the backs of creeks, as well as in and around shallow pockets.
And keep an eye on the weather. During the prespawn period a warm front can push more fish into shallower water. This creates more feeding competition, and makes the fish easier to find.
Bass spawn when the water temperature is between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
When bass are spawning they will be found in sheltered areas with a sandy or gravel bottom. These areas are usually in quite shallow water, so be sure to wear polarized sunglasses so that you can see the fish before it sees you.
If you find bass on their beds, make note of their behavior. If the fish sees you and runs off, it will likely be difficult to catch. But the territorial fish that see you but stick around will tend to be aggressive, and more likely to take your lure.
It is important to note that spawning bass should be released after catching. Have fun catching them, but be sure to handle the fish carefully and respectfully so that they can reproduce successfully.
Spread Out Your Approach
More so than other times of year, bass tend to be on the move in the spring. Where you catch fish one day may be completely devoid of life the next.
So, it’s important to stay aggressive this time of year and to cover as much water as you can. In general, most experts advise fishing in the deeper areas of water and slowly working towards the more shallow places.
Fish Reaction Baits
While on the move, reaction baits are particularly useful in helping determine where feeding fish are. Swimbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and Alabama rigs- basically anything big and loud will help you find where the bass are feeding. Use these lures while you’re working in an area, and wait until you start getting hit.
Once you find the fish you can then slow it down to a rubber worm or rubber lizard. This tactic will help you to catch the less aggressive fish in the area that missed your bigger lure.
Fish Top Water
Fishing for bass with topwater lures is my personal favorite method of attack. It produces good numbers of fish, good sized fish, and the strikes are more exciting than any other method.
One of my favorite times of the year to fish on the top water is in the middle of the spring.
When the water temperatures are approaching 70 degrees and the water is calm, I take my boat out in the afternoon to find shallow, flat areas on the lake where aquatic vegetation is beginning to reappear. In these areas, I’m looking for small fish darting around, chasing bait.
Once I find them, I begin casting the smallest topwater lures that I have. Fishing this time of year can be exhausting, as you’ll be physically drained from reeling in small bass all day.
But once the sun starts to dip lower, these same areas begin to attract bigger fish. So, don’t get too worn out reeling in the little guys while the sun’s out because their big brothers are just waiting for the evening feeding.
Bass fishing in the spring is just like fishing any other time of the year: find the fish, determine what they’re eating, and start casting.
But bass do behave differently in the spring and understand that fact will help you catch more fish. Take those 4 tips into account, and get to work. We’ve got fish to catch!