Springtime Jig Tactics for Bass
By Scott M. Petersen
When you are talking about springtime jig tactics for bass, for many of us in the Midwest this is what kicks off the new bass season. Bass that have spent the winter months under hard water are now starting to make their ways into the shallows first to eat and build up energy then second to get ready for the upcoming spawn. Knowing that the bass are on the move what are you fishing for springtime bass?
If I was limited to just one choice of lures when it comes to the spring bass bite, my choice would have to be a jig and pig combo. In fact to narrow it down even more, I would pick an Outkast RT Jig tipped with a few different plastics as a trailer.
As bass start their ways into the shallows they will make a few stops on the way before they get to their shallow destination. Point and drop offs will be the target when they start to move. If I had to choose one I would favor points first then drop-offs second. One of the best ways to find these areas is have a lake map. You can do this in two ways you can get a paper copy or use a nav chip that will show you the lake right on your GPS. I prefer to use both. With a paper map I can pre-scout areas that I think will hold bass before I even put my boat into the lake. Then with my Humminbird 997 w/GPS and my Navionics chip I can drive right to these spots take a quick look to see if fish are present and start fishing. This way I am spending the majority of my fishing time on high percentage areas that should hold bass at this time of the season.
When the water gets warmer, bass will start to use the shallows more, fanning out when they hit the shallows covering more water during their day as they look for food. If the weather holds, they will move shallower every day getting to new areas. But if they are faced with cold front conditions they will pull back to the areas that they are coming from the points and drop offs. The magic depth bass will hold in is 8- to 12-feet.
One key here look for points and drops that have green weeds. Green weeds are the first cover bass will find as they move shallower. If you are fishing a lake that the weedline is shallower the bass will be shallower or if the weedline is located deeper the bass will start there. Outside weedline depth will have to do with the water clarity, the clearer water lakes the weeds will grow deeper than they will in dirtier water lakes.
As long as we are on the water clarity issue, use these two different clarities to your advantage when springtime bass fishing. In the spring dirty water lakes will warm faster than clearer, deeper water lakes. Use this when you start the season and when the bass in the dirty water lakes start to spawn. The temps in the dirty water lakes can be as much as 3 to 5 degrees higher than a clear water lake located a few miles down the road. Bass in the dirty water lake will be active and start their springtime rituals before the bass in the clear water lake will. As the bass start to spawn in the dirty water lake bass in the clear water lake will just hit the drops waiting to move into the shallows. When the bass are finished spawning in the dirty water lake the bass will just be starting to spawn in the clear water lake. By using the two different water clarities against each other you will have a better chance at staying on active bass through out the early part of the springtime season.
Once you have found the areas that you think are holding bass come the fun part fishing. To cover all fishing conditions carry all three sizes of the Outkast RT jig in your box and a few different colors. The RT jig comes in 3/8-ounce, ½-ounce and ¾-ounce. My favorite colors are Pumpkin Chart (PC), Green Crawdad (GC) and my standard Black Blue (BB).
For trailers I use a few different Outkast products. For the majority of my fishing I will use an Outkast Chunk (3.25). If want or need a smaller profile I will use the (2.75) size chunk and team this with a 3/8-ounce jig for a smaller profile bait or again with the 3/8-ounce jig if need a faster fall when the bass are aggressive and feeding. If I am looking for a different look or if I am doing a combination of fishing the RT Jig in a traditional way on the bottom or if I am mixing in a swimming retrieve I will use a Fat Tail Grub as my trailer. I will especially use this combination in shallower water conditions when the bass move into the shallows letting me not only target pinpoint areas but cover water in between too.
One new combination that I have been playing with the last few years with great success for bigger bass has been to tip my RT Jig with an Outkast Naughty Bug. This larger profile appeals to larger bass and give the bass a new look that they have not seen before. The Naughty Bug is a bigger profile than the Chunk or the Fat Grub Tail making the jig fall at a slower rate, staying in the strike zone longer. Also the bigger profile of this bait seems to attract bigger bass to bite the jig. The combination of these two factors just seems to add up to bigger bass in the spring.
So if you are looking for big springtime bass make sure you tie on a jig. When fishing during the springtime play with your trailer combinations to make your jig offering not only change its look but change how the bait acts.
Please remember to practice CPR (Catch, Photo and Release). The future of fishing is in your hands.
For more timely tips and tactics for bass please log onto fishinginsider.com