By Tommy Martin
Well, we all asked for it and the lure companies gave it to us. I'm talking about all the different colors lures come in today. How many of us have called lure companies and said. "If you would just add a little green on the back, this lure would kill em." We are all guilty.
The truth is that we do need a good selection of colors and, they are fun in the tackle shop. However, with a few tips you can keep it fairly simple.
It's probably the best time for big bass because of the spawn. Springtime means the water is warming and so is the atmosphere. And that usually means showers and rising water. Most reservoirs will get a little extra water from rising creeks and rivers. This will muddy things up a little, so now is the time to use bright colors and noisy lures.
I like using Traps in crawfish patterns in bright red and orange for the early bite. Many of the lakes are full of crawfish, a favorite snack for big bass. Remember bass are opportunist and crawfish are slow and easy to feed on.
Keep in mind the Louisiana mudbugs can get real big and the bigger they are, the more color they put on.
When working the banks in the spring, you can't beat a Rat-L-Trap. It's easy to cast and will cover a lot of water quick. A Trap and a spinnerbait can do a lot of damage in a short time. My favorite color for shallow water is chartreuse or bright green.
Here's why. Have you ever taken time to notice how many small bream and perch are under docks and around the banks of any lake? The majority of them will fall into the yellow or green perch family. It's an endless food supply for any predator. If you catch one and look closely you can see on the tips of the scales highlights of green and chartreuse. That's why chartreuse and white colors work so well in the spring.
A good tip to remember is that bait in shallow water are a little harder to catch and usually move quickly to avoid being eaten. Using a faster retrieve can trigger more strikes.
Get ready for things to slow down. With the water warming, fish will try to find a constant temperature zone.
Points or flats that are close to deeper water offer great holding areas for bass. It also gives them a great ambush point for unsuspecting shad that raft over the edge.
Take notice of where the eyes are located on all predator fish...towards the top of their head. They can see everything that moves above them. Bass can lay and wait off a deep point and rocket to the surface in a split second to bust the school into oblivion. It's a perfect scenario for a Rat-L-Trap. Cast beyond the point and bring it across, then let it fall for a few seconds. I've caught a lot of fish like that.
There are three colors that work well in this situation; chrome, chrome, and chrome. More fish have been caught on a Chrome Blue Back Rat-L-Trap than any other lure I can think of. It's the no brainer. It's kind of an old saying. "If nothing else works, tie on a Chrome Trap". I've heard this on the circuit all of my life and it still stands true today. It's the go-to bait for a lot of fishermen.
Cold fronts and cooler temperatures usually mean feeding frenzy prior to the front passing through. It's nature's dinner bell. Usually bass will "stock up" or gorge to protect themselves from long periods without abundant food.
When water temperature starts to fall, fish react much like a bear prior to hibernation.
The main source of food is still shad. However, the water is now super clear from the lack of substantial rain during late summer. Shad will start to take on a different hue with sunlight penetrating the clear water. They will appear to have some blue, green, brown, and even red tints in their scales.
Rat-L-Trap offers the perfect color series for this bite. They are shad patterns with variations of colors on the sides of lure and have white bellies with markings like a shad. These natural patterns are perfect for this time of year. It's been my experience that light colors like pearl, bone, and white are also good producers in clear water.
Clean your boat, reels, camp, and spend lots of time with your bride. Not necessarily in that order.
Tommy Martin won his first tournament at the age of 32 on Ross Barnett Lake in 1972. He has now been a Pro for 30 years and loves teaching and motivating others to fish for bass, and teach others to respect other pros and anglers during tournaments. He is the winner of 19 national tournaments, has had 54 top 10 finishes, was a Bassmasters Classic winner in 1974, and has fished in 19 Classics. He is one of the pioneers in professional bass fishing.