In Missouri, spring is always one of the best times to catch your biggest bass of the year.
With an unusually warm winter and early spring, the bass are already hungry and ready for the spawn. The bass have already moved into the shallows and are pretty predictable. This time of the year, a variety of lures work well, and at times, it seems like you can catch them on about anything. So let the mood of the fish, wind and water conditions dictate which lures will work the best for you.
When you find that the bass are still pre-spawn, concentrate on the water color. A jig and craw combination is a Missouri staple. If the water is clear, try brown and orange; if the water is stained or muddy, switch to black and blue. Cast your jig around any cover you can find (big rocks, stumps, logs, brush and docks). Dock walkway supports are among my “secret spots”; a place where a bass can feel secure in shallow water.
If you find yourself facing a windy spring day, switch to a spinnerbait. Slow roll the spinnerbait just off of the bottom. A spinnerbait is a versatile lure that fishes well around rocks and wood cover. A chartreuse and white combination will work just about anywhere, anytime.
What should you do if you find the bass in the spawn and locked in on their nests? I like to fish a Texas rigged big tube right through the beds. Cast past the bed and drag your lure into the nest. Watch how the bass reacts to the lure. You can tell a difference in their mood and actions when you find the “sweet spot.” Let the lure sit right in the nest and shake it occasionally. You may see the bass nose down on the lure and inhale it in an instant.
You might try dragging a plastic lizard across the nest, too, but I find the lizard is often best right after the spawn. The bass are close by protecting their eggs and fry.
A variety of critters are trying to eat their eggs and fry and a protective bass won’t hesitate to grab a pesky lizard that might be around to cause harm.
As the bass start to move out of the spawning shallows, I like to fish a finesse worm on a shaky head trying to intercept them before their first stop, which will be out on long points as they migrate toward the main areas of lake. That’s when they will start transitioning to summer patterns.
I hope these tips help, and stay tuned for more Missouri bass fishing tips to come as we approach June.