Three Lure Choices For Early Spring Bass

One of the most endearing things about living in Ohio is the way it teases us that Spring is coming. A few of those 50 – 60 degree days this past week has me day dreaming about what I will tie on my rods for our first trip out in a few weeks. Considering the conditions we will be fishing in, here are my top three lure choices for early Spring bass.

Our first trip out is always our “home lake” – Portage Lakes, just south of Akron, Ohio. Portage Lakes has had thin ice on and off since mid-December, so the fish have had a break from anglers for a couple months. This last blast of balmy temps, however, had me watching bass boats drive down the street headed for the boat ramp. As I type this three days later, there is a thin coat of ice on the lake and snow flying in the air. This will ensure a few more days of rest for the fish.

Portage Lakes is typically very clear in early spring. Sunning fish in shallow northwest bays are abundant. Many fish will still be in deeper waters. We expect to see water temps in the 40’s. These are the conditions I am considering when making my lure choices.

No surprise that a spinner bait is my first choice, but let’s expand that to include chatter baits, a-rigs and other blade baits. This category of lure is perfect search bait. It can help you locate hungry, active fish from shallow to even 5 – 6 feet of water. For spinner baits, I like bigger blades for slow rolling  in colder early Spring waters. This year, I plan to have two rods rigged with two different sized spinner baits – 3/8th oz. and 1/2 oz.  This will allow me to vary speed and depth as well as size and color to see what “flavor” the fish favor. For more information on springtime spinner bait fishing, read this article.

Another option for you would be to try two different style lures from this bladed category. For example, and a-rig on one rod and a chatter bait on another. My partner uses chatter baits and a-rigs on the front deck, so I will stick with my “main squeeze”, good ole spinnerbaits as a follow up.

My second lure choice will be a jig – in my case, a swim jig. For many bass anglers, this is a go-to regardless. Personally, I feel it is a great vertical bait to target deeper fish. A finesse version might be a ned rig. I am a cast and reel angler, so I prefer a swim jig that I can slow roll in the last foot above the bottom. I use a soft plastic paddle tailed body to create a wider wobble. My only other vertical technique is dragging a jig or creature on the bottom, and this body seems to work fine for that as well. I am honestly not the most skilled jig angler, so that will be my two cents on that subject. But I DO feel strongly about having a vertical, slower moving lure for those deep fish.

I wrestled with my third choice. I love using crankbaits in the spring. The weeds aren’t tall enough to tangle your hooks in and you can work them fast or slow at various depths. When I considered the rest of my rigging, however, I settled on topwater. Whether I use a traditional frog or a jerk bait (I love the Spook Jr.), topwater bites in early spring can be some of the most memorable moments of your day! Honestly, I will have both tied on a rod. For Portage Lakes, I choose a black frog  and love my spooks and crankbaits to have a silver side or bottom. I have been most successful with these colors, although my partner has no trouble catching with a white and chartreuse frog either.

There you have it. My top three lures on five rods. I am giddy with a case of Spring fever and can hardly wait to cast my first line. Let’s go fishing!