“Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.”Herbert Hoover
For avid anglers, spring is the most wonderful time of year. Bass fishing can be just as fun as an Easter egg hunt where the net is your basket and the fish are the surprise in each body of water. Also like any other egg hunt, the more perceptive and quicker the better your odds are at finding active fishing spots.
Largemouth bass seek protective cover such as logs, rock ledges, vegetation, and man-made structures. They prefer clear water, but are tolerant of a variety of other habitats. In the spring, like many other game fish, they rise from cooler depths. Spring bass shed their winter fat during spawn – which occurs between 12.7 to 15.6 Celsius or 55 to 60 Fahrenheit. After their spawn, bass are hungry and become aggressive hunting for small prey such as bait fish and insects near warmer and shallower water.
Choosing the type of bait or lure in your fishing spot greatly depends on temperatures and the environment largemouth bass can hunt in. Usually with early spring one of the best options involves live bait with minnows or worms given their natural scent and the distress signals. Live bait is very versatile in coaxing out bass near structure in shallower areas under 1.5 meters (5 feet) or the ability of fishing deeper as the waters warm.
Spinnerbaits are also a fantastic option for early to mid spring. Start with a quarter-ounce tandem-blade model, perhaps with a smaller Colorado blade followed by a larger Willow-leaf blade. Some of the best lure colours to use would be white, bright yellows, chartreuse or orange.
For those with two or more rods, crankbaits are a great alternative to switch to for spring bass fishing. Try a super-shallow running version in extreme shallows, and a slightly deep running version in 1 to 1.5 meters (3 to 6 feet) of water. Vary you retrieve speeds, pausing the lure occasionally is very effective. Just remember, Ontario Fishing Regulations only allows one line in the water at a time per person.
With spinnerbaits and crankbaits, a sign that you’re fishing too fast is getting “bumped,” which is what happens when a bass nips half-heartedly at a lure. You can sometimes see or feel this happen; when it does, fish slower, try a stop-and-go retrieve, and/or use a different type of lure, especially if its a hard plug that suspends.
Bass tend to be on the move in the spring, more so than other parts of the year. Some areas will be stacked with fish one day, may be completely barren the next. It’s important to stay aggressive in spring, covering as much warm water as you can. Fish-finders are great indicators whether fish are here and can improve your odds at catching. Fish an area for 20 – 40 minutes. If there is no activity, move to a new fishing spot.