How to Catch Pre-Spawn Bass on a Spinnerbait

The weather is warming; the fish are moving shallow, and the spinnerbait is picking up steam. If you’re like me then you’re getting your sharpener out and honing your favorite spinnerbaits because now is the time for numbers of fish and possible kickers.

Direct tying to a spinnerbait can change your fate for the day. Not only is it more sensitive but also more secure when setting the hook.
Direct tying to a spinnerbait can change your fate for the day. Not only is it more sensitive but also more secure when setting the hook.

Throwing a spinnerbait can be exhausting both mentally and physically if not equipped for the job, that’s why I throw mine on a 7’ Medium-Heavy with a Fast tip with a reel in the 7:1 ratio range attached to 30-40lb braid. The exact setup I’m throwing consists of a Denali Rosewood and a Pflueger Patriach, though my usual partner prefers his on a slower reel in the 6.4:1 ratio range to help him slow down and keep it deeper for the rest of the season. Also, while you’re up shallow your standard sonar won’t do too much for you which means Side Imaging is very important at these depths to locate fish holding cover.

When looking for numbers of fish you’ll usually be putting your Minn-Kota on high and trying to create foam with your spinnerbait in roughly 2-8 feet of water depending on water clarity. The spinnerbait shines as one of the most effective powerfishing lure because of its versatility; in shallow water your spinnerbait should be darn near flopping on the top or creating a large bulge as it comes through the water. For this technique I prefer to use an Advantage spinnerbait in Bluegill with a double willow configuration. This configuration will allow me to move the bait quickly through the water with a lot of flash in water with 2-3ft of visibility, giving me the ability to cover a lot of water very quickly.

Being able to cover this water will help you to determine two things; how fast you should be going and where the fish will be moving to/from. When beginning I’ll usually begin on edges next to main basins, from there I’ll progressively move shallower until I find the “sweet spot” this sweet spot will usually be a type of vegetation or transition line the fish are relating to before moving up for their final spawning position. While casting it’s important to keep an eye on possible movement of baitfish splashing around on top or birds diving at sub-surface baitfish.

Most of the year we’d be throwing spinnerbaits with trailer hooks but since I’m usually bulking up my spinnerbait and throwing it into shallow water I’ll forego attaching a VMC trailer hook until I’m back into the 4-8 foot zone. Remember, the key here is to get reaction bites and in shallow water its hard to get a reaction bite if your spinnerbait is stuck on a log.

Throwing spinnerbaits in this early season can result in the largest fish of the year so take advantage and check out the video below on how we bulk up our spinnerbaits to target those pre-spawn pigs! Like usual, if you have any questions please feel free to ask below!

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