Aaron's Picks for Spring Bassin'

We recently had 2015 Bassmaster Elite Series AOY sit down and outline some of his lure choices for spring time bass fishing. He wanted to make sure all of his suggestions weren't portrayed as absolutes and explained how different conditions can be not only generally between geographic regions, but more specifically even between bodies of water separated by just miles. Below he takes us through some general suggestions for our current early spring season.

Shallow Crankbaits

Shallow Crankbaits

When bass begin migrating toward the shoreline in search of spawning grounds, they often use pieces of cover as a sort of trail to where they will eventually pair up. The first place I look up shallow in early spring is around larger objects like laydowns, slabs of rock or stump fields. Since the bass are staging, they do move around a lot so they aren't just directly against the cover. For that reason, I really like shallow running crankbaits during this time of year.

You can find a lot of good options, well maybe not a lot, but more than other baits. I like a squarebill like the 6th Sense Crush 50X for rip rap and pea gravel between the larger pieces of cover. A Rapala DT-6 has always been that sort of go-to for the deeper banks or right after a cold front. And a new addition I've played around with is the Deps Evoke, again, this is just something I am testing out, but it has a really unique action. In spring I usually like black/chartreuse and craw colors, but as it gets later in the season the citrus or brighter colors become more of a factor.

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Swimbaits for Bass

Swimbaits are probably best this time of year, they are good all year, but during the spring they are as good as any lure if used correctly. Everyone says swimbaits are finally getting back east, but that's not true, everyone has been using them for a long, long time - just different I guess. I don't use the 10" - 13" swimbaits very often, sometimes they work better actually, but it's not realistic for most of my fishing. I prefer baits like the Osprey Talon Line Through Swimbaits - 6" or 7" both are good. It's good for windy, sunny days right before the full on spawn.

Actually, right now, with the full moon and warming temperatures... Oh, wow, I bet someone catches a giant this week on one. Another bait that is amazing all over the country is the Little Creeper Trash Fish. I use it everywhere. The best way to fish it is by just dragging it and reeling up the slack. Like a Carolina rig. The other swimbait I use a lot, and everyone else does too, literally everyone uses this on the Elite Series: the Keitech Swing Impact Fat Swimbaits - both the fat and regular. There's really nothing like it. It's awesome.

Right now I'd rig a 4.8 size it on a Gamakatsu Weighted Superline Spring Lock Hook for shallow water after big largemouth. If I'm fishing for spotted or smallmouth bass I like a 1/2oz jig head way better and in the summer, out deep I'll use a jig head as well.

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Craws and Beavers

Soft plastic craws

Craws and beavers are one of my favorite baits to use once you start seeing a few bass head up to beds. Typically, I'm using these for very precise targets like reeds, grass mats, laydowns or docks. Some people really like the big craws, I just never have. I feel like it's a lot of excess plastic and if you look at most crayfish at the lakes, and I have, you'll see they are small. So I stick to 4" or less for craws. If bass are bedding I really like using the Strike King Baby Rage Craw. I'll rig it on a 3/8oz Picasso Tungsten Flipping Weight and a 3/0 Gamakatsu Finesse Flipping Hook tied on 20lb Sunline Flipping FC.

If I'm just blindly flipping wood I might also rotate in a Zoom Speed Craw. If you're in the southern United States, you'll see bass on beds already and lots in grass or laydowns close to those beds. For heavier cover I might also use a beaver style bait. I stick to natural colors with some vibrant flake or hues. So a green pumpkin or watermelon with purple and green is always good. Darker water black/blue or junebug.

This year, I think you're gonna see a lot of neon blue though, everyone has been using it. I'll say at some tournaments, 55% of anglers will have a neon blue plastic on. Watch, it's going to be very prevalent. Try it, I'm telling you it's good.

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Finesse Worms

Finesse Worms

I use finesse worms all year, but in spring they can be really good for certain situations. Lakes like the Ozark region or spotted bass fisheries are where you can really do well with a finesse worm right now. Basically, I'm looking for different types of hard bottom composition where I think bass might be staging up. Banks with pea gravel and chunk rock mixed in are perfect, docks are really good too and points can work as well. I don't use the drop shot as much this time of year, more shakey head or Texas rigs.

I might be the last person still using Texas rigs, and I don't know why, they can be way better than a shakey head, especially right now. For example, I'll Texas rig a 6" or 7" Roboworm Straight Tail with a Roboworm Rebarb Hook and a 1/4oz Picasso Tungsten Worm Weight and I'll just shake the slack on it.

I'm using 10lb Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon usually, it's strong enough for anything if you tie a good knot. I've caught some really big fish doing that in early spring. A Zoom Trick Worm can also be really effective this time of year using a shakey head or Texas rig. As for colors, I obviously really like the green/purple in Aaron's Magic so I stick to that mostly right now.

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Vibrating Jigs

Vibrating Jigs

No one really uses spinnerbaits anymore, I do, I don't really know why people don't want to anymore, but they don't. Spinnerbaits can be so good, but now everyone has substituted the spinnerbait for chatterbaits. They are totally different and, like I said, I still use spinnerbaits, but I too have started using vibrating jigs more and more. Right now, you could probably go to any body of water not covered by ice and catch bass on a vibrating jig. It's so good this time of year. If you've got high, stained water you could just put almost all the other rods away and fish. Obviously, I like the Picasso Shock Blade and the FX Shock Blade - the new one with hair and feathers. I like the 3/8oz - 1/2oz size.

You can add a lot of different retrieves in so kind of speed up and slow down as you fish and work it over and around targets like wood, docks and grass. The colors I like right now are green pumpkin/orange or red, Aaron's Magic (it's new) and a white/chartreuse with a gold blade sometimes. I fish it on 16lb Sunline Shooter Fluorocarbon.

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I really don't use a stick baits a ton right now, but when the situation is right, it can be absolutely killer. There's really just a few conditions where I like it right now: bodies of water with lots of vegetation, fish spawning where I can't see them or for spotted bass. For grass lakes, you're kind of fishing the holes in the grass where fish could be staging up or they are buried in the reeds. A place like the CA Delta is really where that comes to mind - there's I'll use the Senko 9L 6" mostly. Otherwise, I will use a 5" Senko for spotted bass. You want to wacky rig it and use a little nail weight in the head. I'll rig it up with a Gamakatsu Drop Shot/Split Shot Hook rigged through an O-Ring weighted with a tungsten nail weight.

It's a killer technique on the lakes I fished on the west coast. It's not just a spotted bass technique, but for the spring, it's better. I really like pockets with chunk rock or longer points with one side that has a deeper drop on it. Spotted bass typically stack up on those types of points. For colors I like watermelon/red, Monster Shad and also something a little darker with gold in it.

Megabass Flap Slap

Megabass Flap Slap

The last bait I have been using a lot lately is the Megabass Flap Slap, it's really reminiscent of a Rapala Glass Shad Rap or similar lures not quite a jerkbait and not quite a crankbait. It's got such a unique action to it, I don't have a lot of experience with it yet, but it really works well for that pre-spawn water temps in the high 40's and low 50's. If you find a nice spawning flat, you can absolutely crush them with this thing. I fish it with 12lb Sunline Shooter Fluorocarbon and I mix up the retrieve with a consistent reeling action and some twitches mixed in.