Secret Japanese Baits For Spring Bass Fishing (These Work!)

Spring Bass Fishing
Join Bassmaster Elite Pro Masayuki Matsushita as he unveils the secrets of fishing through spring's changing conditions. Discover the depths to probe as temperatures rise, the baits that intrigue bass in various scenarios, and the techniques that have given him an edge. Learn how he leverages the spawns of different fish combined with lesser-known Japanese techniques to optimize catches in both US and Japanese waters.

Baits and Gear

Deps Sakamata Shad Soft Jerkbait -- 

Deps Barbute Craw Chunk Trailer --

Deps Silent Killer -- 

Deps Bullshooter 160 Glide Bait -- 

Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon line -- 

7.1:1 Shimano Bantam MGL A Casting Reel - 


Hi, BassResource. My name is Masayuki Matsushita, 2023 Bassmaster Elite Pro.

This time, I would like to introduce fishing throughout the four seasons. First of all, in the low water temperature of spring, I start by looking for fish from deep water. After that, I look for threadfin shad, which serves as bait in the lake, by observing their range on the finder. If the water temperature exceeds 10 degrees Celsius, I also check the shallow waters. 

For lures used in these conditions, I often use this one for finding shad in deep water. It is a jig head with a Deps Sakamata Shad. To use it, cast it into the deep water and shake the rod, making it roll. Because bass are less active during low water temperatures, flashing it several times over a short distance can effectively lure the fish. It is a very good bait rig.

Actually, this bait is popular at Lake Biwa in Japan, but it’s not yet well-known in America. It has long been a secret bait among Japanese anglers competing in America. However, as it is gradually being exposed, more people are beginning to recognize it. Now, if the shad size gets bigger, like Giza Shad, I will use 6, 7, or 8 inches. Essentially, I attack the deep waters starting from about 10 feet with this.

As the water temperature rises in spring, fish move to shallower areas. Then, I switch to this one - the Deps Barbute, a type of craw worm. I use it with a free rig, which is a Japanese technique similar but slightly different from the Texas rig. The advantage of the free rig is that the sinker is free, allowing for a no-sinker state for longer periods in both shallow and deep waters, making it highly effective for inactive or suspending fish. I often use the Deps Barbute with a free rig in shallow wood covers or grass areas.

In mid-spawn, I often cast the Silent Killer Junior in shallow areas, targeting female bass that are roaming around beds. I don’t just reel it in; I make the lure’s head swings with rod work, allowing multiple appeals over a short distance, similar to topwater frog fishing but submerged.

After spawning ends, I often cast topwater lures. Bluegill beds start forming, and bass begin roaming for food. At this time, I cast the Deps Bullshooter at the bluegill beds and retrieve it with a mix of reeling and pauses to catch the bass targeting bluegill.

So, in the spring, I fish based on various spawns, whether it's bluegill spawning, bass spawning, or shad spawning.