Springtime Crankin'

I can't think of a better time of year to throw a crankbait than April. Whether you are fishing from the bank or a boat, a pond, lake, or river it doesn't make any difference. The bass are coming to the shallows to feed in numbers and crankbaits are just hard to beat.

I'm going to be looking at creeks on the north side of the lake first, because this is where it will warm the fastest. Big bass will go super shallow this time of year because of the water temperature. Usually there is rain on and off, creating rising water, which bring nutrients into the water and that, encourages baitfish to move shallow and feed. Also you will have some color to the water which again will put bass super shallow. When this occurs, I like to fish big crankbaits like the Bagley BB2 or BB3 in the shallow lip version. I fish these lures on a 7'4" Woo Daves' Bass Pro Shop Extreme pitchin' rod with 20 lbs. Bass Pro Shops' Excel line. The long rod allows you to reel with rod pointed high, coupled with the 20 lbs. Bass Pro Shops' Excel test line making the bait run as shallow as a foot or less. The big slow wobbling baits are irresistible to big bass. I usually go to the back of the creeks, especially if they have a flat in them and start fishing my way out. Always keep your eye on your Raymarine S600X unit for any ditches or slight depressions in the area.

Another key pattern is to look for long sloping points that the bass can run shad up on. Here I will fish a lure like the Bagley Shad-A-Lac. If I'm using a steady kind of slow rolling technique I will use the ¼ oz. model. My favorite retrieve this time of year is a pump and drop method. Just rip the lure a couple of feet and let it settle to the bottom, as this is deadly, around grass, flats, ditches and points. You have a lot of shad that die off. This is the perfect lure for this situation. Look for loons or seagulls and you can usually find the shad.

Probably the biggest key to this time of year is the wind. Let the wind be your friend when it comes to fishing. So many people want to get out of the wind and this is a big mistake in April, go to the wind. When the wind blows it stirs up the bottom creating algae and such for the baitfish to eat. Also the warmest water is blown to the windy side, thus baitfish are pushed to this side. Now is when I want my 36 volt MotorGuide so I can stay in the wind and fish. Is it easy or comfortable, no, but yes, it does produce bass. Start running windy points until you catch fish and then pay attention to the area where you caught the fish. Was it rocky, stumpy, sandy, red clay, or pea gravel? Was the water clear, stained or muddy? Then try to find another point with the same characteristics and you could be on the winning pattern.

In the spring, color can make a big difference because you have so many different water conditions so keep several colors with you in chartreuses, shads and crawfishes. Clearer waters go with shads; stained waters go with crawfishes, and muddy go with chartreuses. The new Color Selector can be a valuable tool for you, to help you select the correct color.

Remember the fish sometimes can be deeper first thing in the morning and as the water warms up, they move shallow. You might start out fishing 5 to 10 ft. running lures and progress to shallower lures later on. There are a lot of big bass caught around mid day, so don't give up if you start out slowly. I can't tell you the times I've fished till after noon without a fish then catch numbers of bass late in the day. So stick with it in the early spring and you will be able to fill your Nitro's livewell.

Good luck on your next trip and may God Bless You.

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