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Finding prespawn bass can be easy when you know what their patterns are. This will usually vary depending on the body of water but bass will tend to move closer to the shallows and can be anything from several feet to several yards or more.
When Is Prespawn Season?
Anytime from around late winter to spring is usually when bass begin their prespawn behavior. However, it’s not an exact science and will tend to depend on the water temperature reaching around 50 degrees.
Prespawn season can vary between states and even between different bodies of water in the same state. Shallow lakes and smaller ponds may heat up earlier in the year compared to larger or deeper waters, as the sun and air temperature can have more of an effect on smaller or shallower bodies of water.
Water at high elevations or with glacier-fed streams may also delay the time of the prespawn because these will tend to be colder for longer.
The prespawn can be a time of heightened feeding activity for bass, as they try to bulk up ahead of the spawn, when they will often not feed at all. This means it can be a fantastic time to catch them, as they move from their wintering zones along their migration channels and closer to the shallow flats where they will spawn.
Places To Find Prespawn Bass
During the prespawn bass are in a transition period, moving from their winter habitat to their spring spawning habitat. This means that they can often be found in the migration routes that link the two seasonal habitats.
If you know where the bass spawn, you could have a good chance of finding them in the deeper water close by. Deep channels and ditches can provide an ideal highway for the bass to move along, allowing them to have access to both deep water and shallow water, whether it’s for feeding or hunkering down in bad weather.
Wherever the water warms up first can be a good spot to look for bass. Bass will often be attracted to the warmest water in the lake during the prespawn, which is often in the shallowest areas.
Shores and banks on the north side will often warm up first since they have south facing shorelines, meaning the sun will hit those areas for longer compared to other banks. Sandy areas and rocky bottoms can also heat up more quickly and can be good places to look for prespawn bass.
Points can often provide excellent holding locations for bass no matter what time of year it is, but during the prespawn the points that are between areas of deeper water and shallow areas can be prime territory for bass.
Video: Catch Spring Bass – Locate Pre-Spawn Fish
Points that are along the migration routes that run from wintering zones to spawning zones can be especially lucrative, as this is often where bass will wait for the water temperatures to increase, signalling spawning time and a move into the shallows.
Ledges close to shallow flats can also be worth checking out, as these can usually provide bass with access to both shallow and deep water, where they can move more easily between the depths.
Bass like places where they can shelter, find food and stay comfortable, and vegetation can often provide them with these essentials, even during the prespawn when there may not much vegetation around. But even with reduced vegetation due to the early season, bass can still favor grasses and brush because it may create added warmth.
This can be the case whether the vegetation is on the top of the water or under it, as both can provide warmth and cover for prespawn bass, especially if the vegetation is adjacent to deep water and/or spawning flats.
What Are Good Lures To Use?
Crawfish And Jigs
Bass are likely to be feeding on crawfish during the prespawn because of its high energy and high protein content to feed up after their inactive winter and before the energy-draining spawn.
Crawfish lures can be perfect for targeting prespawn bass when fishing along the bottom. Soft plastic lures can be rigged on their own or can be used as a trailer on a jig, such as the Terminator Pro jig (below).
Jigs can be useful in many situations and prespawn bass fishing is one of those situations. They can be fished in and around cover and can be fished along the bottom to mimic crawfish, with added movement from the skirt and vibration from rattles. And for a bigger bite you can increase the jig’s profile by adding a crawfish trailer.
The prespawn can be a great time to fish with jerkbaits and can be ideal if the water is still cold. They can be useful for fishing around points and underwater structure that is near to deep or open water. These lures should be retrieved and paused every so often to create attention.
The Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait (below) is designed to suspend and imitate injured baitfish. Slower retrieves may prove to be more productive during colder spells.
Lipless crankbaits can be one of the most useful lures for prespawn bass fishing, as they can let you cover water quickly and let you target the shallows where the bass should be nearby.
Lipless crankbaits are also designed to wiggle and move like a baitfish to create a more realistic appearance when you reel them back them. They can be fished fast and slow, letting you mimic the movement and vibrations of a baitfish.
The Strike King Red Eye Shad bait (below) features rattles for added noise and vibration and is designed to move from side to side when retrieved.
The prespawn can be one of the most active times for bass, which means it can be one of the best times to fish. It’s a time when bass will generally be on the move so scope out those migration channels near their spawning beds and you could find the perfect spot.
Do you have special tactics for catching prespawn bass? Let us know and then share this guide to help out your fellow bass anglers.