they will almost always be a red shade. It is no secret that red craw patterns excel in the spring and they do so in a wide range of water clarities.
One counter to this is using a chartreuse squarebill as it can be an excellent way to catch super shallow smallies. The shallower the bass are, the more aggressive they are, as they are either there to eat or spawn and chartreuse appeals to both.
Most of my spring cranking is done in less than 10-feet of water, so the baits will range from a squarebill to one that can reach ten to twelve- feet of water.
SWIMBAITS SMALL/LARGE: Swimbaits
have become my go-to way to catch a spring giant, and one of my favorite swimbaits is the Optimum Boom Boom in the six-inch rigged version. It appeals to larger fish and the treble hook design on the bottom of the bait allows me to catch fish that can’t eat the entire bait.
I will also use larger swimbaits and glide baits but more as search tools to locate fish. The mouth size of this prized fish does not always equate to landing them with bigger baits, but they will follow them and give away their location. A quick cast with a slower moving bait will catch those fish more times than not.
DROPSHOT AGGRESSIVE/SUBTLE: The
dropshot has proven to be one of the most effective ways to fish for smallmouth no matter what month it is.
Swimbaiting an Optimum Boom Boom
In the spring, I usually use larger baits than I will in other months since the fish are hungry and preparing to spawn. Instead of a three-inch bait, I like to dropshot a five or six-inch worm and fish it both nose-hooked and wacky-rigged depending on the bite.
If I am noticing aggressive bites, I wacky-rig the bait since the action is more pronounced. On the other hand, if the fish are biting lightly, I nose-hook the bait and create a more subtle movement.
JIGS AND TUBES: You can also add a Ned Rig
into this category as it does many of the same things as a jig and tube and has been an excellent choice for me smallmouth fishing any time of the year.
Having a lure that can be fished slowly along the bottom or hopped while imitating a crawfish is a must early in the year. Any of the many Green Pumpkin shades for all of these styles of baits will allow you to match what the fish are eating and keep it simple.
While smallmouth bass have a reputation as a nomadic fish with the ability to disappear in moments, their movements and tendencies during the spring are relatively predictable. Knowing likely areas and targeting them with proven baits is the best recipe for success. •