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 Baits of Spring

Article: March, 2004
Lake Fork Pro Jim ReaneauI wrote this article several years ago and thought it would be a good time to redo it.
The spring is and exciting time of the year. Whether you are a beginner or expert you will be able to catch fish from the bank or a boat. The shallows will be alive with all species of fish. Most all fish start spawning at the same time. Crappie, bass, perch, and many others.
First I will start with the most popular the spinner bait. This bait is the easiest to fish as you throw it out and reel it back. This sounds easy, but sometimes this is all you have to do. This bait doesn’t hang up as much as other baits. As long as you keep it moving it will slide over limbs and stumps. There are many sizes and colors to choose from. I like a three quarter ounce because I can slow roll it and it will stay down and not fall over. The lighter baits will rise quickly when retrieved quickly. This may not be bad as the stop and go retrieve is a good pattern. Colors are pretty important but I like chartreuse and white with gold and silver blades. I like willow leaf blades. This color will work well in muddy and clear water. Fish this around the grass and timber or parallel to the bank as this will be the best strike zone. I fish this on a medium heavy Falcon rod with a Shamino curado reel. When you get a strike set the hook hard and hold your rod up to get the fish coming towards you.

The lipless crank bait is the next easiest bait to fish. You can chunk it a country mile which we all do. But this is not a good ideal as with all that line out it will be hard to set the hook. Everyone thinks just because it has two treble hooks the fish will hook them selves this is not true. Bass can close their mouths over a bait and hold on till they break water and out the bait comes. This bait comes in many colors and sizes. Lake Fork is known for red baits. So red would be a good color. The fire tiger and lemon OB are good colors. Some days the fish want a half and some days the quarter ounce is the size. Try both sizes and let the fish tell you what they want. The way to fish bait is cast it out and start your retrieve soon as the bait hit’s the water. Keep it moving just fast enough to tick the top of the grass or just off the bottom. If you get caught in the grass jerk the bait out and let it fall and sometimes this will trigger a strike. Some days the fast retrieve will work better than the slow retrieve. Remember when the fish hit’s the bait set the hook quickly and firmly.

The Lizard is another popular bait. It is one of the fishes biggest enemies. Bass will attack this intruder on site. The salamander which is what the lizard looks like will invade the nest and eat the eggs. I like to fish the lizard on a light weight Carolina rig. I use 20 pound big game and a quarter ounce weight pegged about a foot up the line. Cast this around trees and parallel to the bank. The fish will attack this bait aggressively. Some times they will grab the bait and swim out of the nest and blow it out before you can set the hook. Their protective nature this time of year is to kill it or remove it from the nest. Colors can vary from the water clarity. I like pumpkin with a chartreuse tail, black with a blue tail, and watermelon. I use a 3/0 hook on this bait because of the length. This is a good bait to pitch around trees and brush.

Weightless baits are a good choice as they will fish over the grass and slim that invades the shallow water in the spring. These baits come in different styles.

The New Tiki Bamboo stick is a great bait for dead sticking. Lake Fork Tackle Ring fries, flukes, and big lizards are other good baits for this style of fishing. They all will come through the grass and slim. You will need a wide gap hook in the 3/0 or 4/0 size. Don’t use any weight or if you do use a one thirty second weight. Finish nails can be inserted into the body of these baits to give them weight. You don’t want much as this will take away from their action. Cast the bait out and let it sit for as long as you can. Then sweep your rod up slowly or twitch it slightly. You don’t want to over work the bait. I fish these baits on a medium heavy Falcon six six with fifteen pound line. When you get a strike let the fish have the bait for a two count then set the hook.
This will cover only a few of the popular spring baits and I hope this will help you catch more fish.
Thanks and Good Fishing,

Fishing Tip by EX Lake Fork Guide Jim Reaneau


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