Last Updated on March 6, 2023
The pre spawn bass season is hands down one of the most exciting times of the year. If you don’t ice fish, you’ve likely been dormant all winter and are itching to get back out on the water.
Pre spawn bass are actively feeding and looking to bulk up before the spawn, making them more willing to bite.
This is a highly aggressive time to fish for bass and one of my favorites.
In my experience, the best pre spawn bass lures are lipless crankbaits because they mimic baitfish and cover a lot of water which is great for bass that are chasing down schools of fish.
In this guide, we’ll cover the best pre spawn bass lures, why we chose them, and how you can use them to score more bass as soon as the season opens up.
Table of Contents
Lipless crankbaits are a versatile and effective lure option for pre spawn bass. These lures have a unique, vibrating action that mimics the sound of baitfish, making them irresistible to hungry bass.
They can be fished in a variety of ways, including a steady retrieve, yo-yo style, or even ripped through weeds before they’ve had a chance to really sprawl out early pre spawn.
One of the best things about lipless crankbaits is their ability to cover a lot of water quickly.
This makes them a great choice for targeting pre spawn bass that are actively moving around in search of food. They also work well in both clear and stained water conditions.
When choosing a lipless crankbait for pre spawn bass, look for one with a natural color pattern, such as silver or gold with a black back. You can also try brighter colors like chartreuse or orange to trigger a reaction bite.
The Rapala Ultra Light Rippin’ Rap is one of my favorite options because it comes in a large number of colors and its smaller size works great if the bass aren’t biting.
This could be because the water temperature hasn’t caught up with the time of year yet. Keep in mind that pre-spawn bass fishing relies entirely on the water temperature and bass anglers need to be willing to work with that.
The color you choose should depend on the condition of the water. You’ll likely be dealing with a lot of muddy conditions so darker more natural color patterns are typically best.
Suspending jerkbaits are another great option for pre spawn bass. These lures have a realistic, darting action that mimics injured baitfish, making them an irresistible meal for hungry bass.
They can be fished with a variety of retrieves, including a steady retrieve with occasional pauses, or a jerk and pause retrieve.
One of the key benefits of suspending jerkbaits is their ability to suspend in the water column, allowing you to target bass at different depths.
This makes them a great choice for pre spawn bass that are holding in deeper water or near drop-offs.
They’ll hold their position when left untouched and then quickly dart through the water as you start to work them. This is what gives them that “erratic” presentation that make bass think they have an easy meal on their hands.
The Rapala X-Rap is a great option that provides you with this exact presentation. It’s a hard suspended jerkbait with an erratic action.
You get a lot of choices with suspended jerkbaits which makes them one of the best early spring bass baits. There are jointed options that break in the middle and even soft swimbaits that help convince the bass to strike the lure harder.
When choosing a suspending jerkbait for pre spawn bass, look for one with a natural color pattern, such as silver or gold with a black back. You can also try brighter colors like chartreuse or orange to trigger a reaction bite.
Soft Plastic Worms
Soft plastics are one of the best lures for early bass season and a clear cut favorite of mine. There’s a ton of variety and you can fish them in almost any condition.
I like to go with a shaky head finesse worm because it can cover a lot of water. Drop shots are also a solid choice if the bass are pushing deeper and the feeding is a little more fussy.
I’d highly recommend using a more natural salt and pepper color for this because you don’t want to be too intimidating with your presentation.
It’s also important to remember that bass feed on crawfish through the early spring so this might be a good time to pull out a craw creature bait and see if they’ll take that.
Finesse crankbaits are a smaller, more subtle version of traditional crankbaits. These lures have a tight, wobbling action that mimics small baitfish, making them a great choice for spawning bass that are feeding on smaller prey.
I like to use these crankbaits when the bass are feeling a bit finicky. They work great in clear water too.
The Rat-L-Trap is a great finesse crankbait. It’s lipless and comes with the red crawfish design that bass love to eat this time of year.
You’ll want to toss these out near shallow cover, work them slowly, and go with something that mimics the current surroundings in terms of color. Keep the presentation and everything as natural as possible.
A bladed jig is also called a chatterbait but these are one of the more effective lures for catching bass pretty much throughout the entire year.
I love using these when the bass are biting and that makes them a great choice for early spring when they’re usually feeding hard.
The blade produces a vibration that creates quite a disturbance in the water. When you toss it out near bridge pilings, docks, secondary points, and tight grass – it’s known to pull the bass out really quick with a reaction bite.
It works great in small ponds and backwater fishing, this is where I’ve used these with a lot of success.
The color and all that isn’t as important with the jig just make sure you get one that has a natural-colored skirt and realistic-looking eyes. Those are the two most important things I look for in my jigs.
Finding the best early spring bass lures is sometimes as simple as thinking about what bass are eating this time of year.
Usually, pre spawn bass are chasing schools of fish so you want to try and mimic real baitfish however possible.
Swimbaits make this pretty easy to do.
Swimbaits are a realistic, lifelike lure option for pre spawn bass. These lures have a natural swimming action that mimics a variety of prey, including shad and bluegill.
They can be fished with a variety of retrieves, including a steady retrieve, stop-and-go retrieve, or even twitched like a jerkbait.
One of the key benefits of swimbaits is their realistic appearance and action, which can be highly effective in clear water conditions. They also work well when targeting larger pre spawn bass that are looking for a substantial meal.
I’d suggest going with a shad or bluegill pattern on your swimbait. The Berkley Swimmer is a great option that comes with a rainbow shad coloring.
It has a ribbed body that vibrates through the water and a realistic action and presentation.
If you’ve paid attention at all up to this point, you should already know why I’m going to suggest using an umbrella rig for pre spawn bass. The best lures for march bass fishing are fish…plain and simple.
So, why not literally use something that is going to look like an entire school of feeding baitfish?
That’s what an umbrella or Alabama rig is. It’s basically an umbrella designed lure that carries a bunch of swimbaits on it. This lure has been a secret weapon of many professional anglers over the years.
It looks a little complicated to use for beginners and that’s because it is. But, if you can figure it out, you’ll be able to pull big bass out of the cold water.
I like to toss a few Zoom Super Flukes onto my umbrella rig but don’t get complacent on that.
You’ll want to have a lot of options to test out because weight is a big factor. If it’s too heavy, the rig will drag across the bottom in the shallow water so you’ll want to be ready to make some adjustments if needed.
I’d recommend working this wherever you can identify travel points for bass.
Pre spawn bass are typically moving from the deeper waters to the shallows to feed during this time so if you can use a fish finder to determine their travel path, you can clean up with this rig.
Frequently Asked Questions
What color lure for pre-spawn bass?
The best color lure for pre spawn bass is usually something natural that mimics the baitfish they’re chasing after during this time.
How do you catch bass before spawning?
The best way to catch bass before spawning is to know their travel path.
Bass are swimming from the deep water towards the shallow to feed so if you can intercept that path, you’re sure to catch something.
Where do bass go pre spawn?
Bass are traveling from the deeper waters to start nesting. The males are usually the ones going out to feed and they won’t travel too far from the nest.
If you can identify the nesting areas, you’ll hit the jackpot.
Identifying the best pre spawn bass lures will help you clean up during the beginning of the new fishing season.
I’ve spent a number of years out on the water perfecting these strategies and I know with absolute certainty that these are the best lures for early season bass.
Keep a combination of these in your tackle box at all times when you’re fishing in the early Spring. Good luck out there!
If you have a pre spawn bass lure you don’t see in this list, be sure to leave me a comment and let me know what it is!