Lakecaster Online

Early Spring Bassing
by Wade Middleton

It's that time of the year when you get three or four warm days in a row and then WHAM a big northern rolls down out of Canada and it's cold an blustery with north winds around 20 for a day or two. It's those late winter and early spring conditions that make or break us all when we're on the water. How many times have we heard it They were here yesterday. It can be without question one of the most frustrating times of the year to catch fish on a consistent basis but there is one bait that for some reason or another always catches fish this time of the year.

The lipless crank bait flat out catches fish day in and day out in any water anywhere but it's when water temperatures are in the mid 50's and the fish are moving into that spawn mode that the lipless crank bait really stands out. Personally I love to fish this bait. The thought of making long casts to a point of hydrilla, cranking the line a few times till I feel the grass and then RIPPPPPPPING it out.. the bait just stops and your rods starts to quiver a bit and she jumps in the distance with a body so big she can‘t get it all out of the water! That's heart pounding fishing at it's finest. However it's not as simple as you'd think. You can't just tie one on and go casting in fact this bait is far from being the idiot bait that many call it I've asked a few touring pros to help explain the in's and out's of fishing this bait.

Jeff Kriet Bassmaster Classic qualifier says to first get the bait down into the grass and rip it clean. He says if your not ticking the grass and ripping it clean your not doing the right deal His key equipment for fishing a lipless crank bait is a 6.10 Castaway Jig-Worm rod in Medium Hvy action with fluorocarbon line on a high speed Daiwa TDX013 reel. He makes his line size choice based on how deep the grass is and will use between 12-20 pound test when on the water. The bait of choice for Jeff is the Yo-Zuri Rattlin Vibe. He says bar none without a doubt that bait is best lipless rattling bait out on the market today. He says all you have to look is look at results of major events and see who is using them. His key colors in spring are: Hot Tiger, Red, and Chrome-Blue Back.

For many of us losing fish on a lipless crank bait is something that happens often and in all reality is something that we expect when using this bait. You often make really long casts and when fish are just swiping at the bait and not taking it in will often jump well away from the boat and leave you with nothing but a fish story back at the ramp. However there are steps that can be taken to fix that. Bassmaster Classic qualifier Jeff Reynolds another full time touring pro suggests the use of a fluorocarbon line when using a lipless crank bait. This low stretch line helps drive the hooks home when you get a bite. He also says to check your hooks and change them if you've caught a lot of fish on them already. His last tip is to have several different colors of baits tied on till you find the one that the fish are taking into their mouth. If your hooking all your fish well outside of the mouth you might not have found the perfect color to trigger a better strike.

To sum it all up anybody not tying on one of these fish catching baits this time of the year may just be missing out on some of the best fish catching action of the year. Rip it Clean and set the hook hard When you get that reaction bite out of the grass. Good luck! Wade Middleton is the host of Fishing and Hunting Texas and a longtime fishing and hunting guide. You can reach Wade at or catch his show on one of the many networks that air it. For more information go to

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