Now that the weather and water have warmed up some this will cause the schools of baitfish to move toward shallow water and bring bass with them.
During this time of year bass feed on shad and baitfish as their main food source, so using a bait that looks and acts like live baitfish will give you a good chance to take advantage of a natural feeding habit. There is bait that does exactly that — crankbaits.
Crankbaits are among of the best baits to fish when bass are moving in and out of shallow water in early spring. Crank baits are broken down into three categories —shallow, medium and deep diving models. The shallow baits run from the surface to around five feet deep. The medium baits will run from around six feet to about 10 feet, and the deep diving baits will run on down to 20 feet or deeper.
The size and design of the bill will determine how deep the bait will run. The larger the bill the more resistance the bait will have as it is reeled through the water on a retrieve or when trolled. When water pushes against the bill it will force the bait deeper and the speed of the retrieve will also affect the depth the bait runs. This time of year the shallow and medium running baits work best.
Most baits are made in several sizes and colors and different patterns. Start with the smaller baits and stick to the more natural colors like shad colored, black and white and silver colors or the chartreuse and black mixed. This color pattern is sometimes called a fire tiger pattern and is very good in early spring and through most of the warmer season.
Look for spots that have large flat areas with cover and deeper water close by. If you find baitfish present then fish this area well. When fishing a crankbait the right type of rod is very important. You want to use a long rod in the sevenfoot range. A good crank bait rod will have a long handle and a strong backbone with a long limber tip. Most rods have their style listed on them. Use light line in the 8 to 12 pound test range. Make long casts and vary your retrieve to make your bait run at the most productive depth.
The good thing about crankbaits is they let you cover a lot of water quickly and search for feeding bass.