Not Just Swimbait Season

By James “Big Ed” Everhart

It’s that time again, the big fish are getting ready for the spawn. Some fish have already started spawning, most are in the pre-spawn mode. This time of year can be really rewarding, (if you like catching big fish) the odds of catching a fish of a life time goes up exponentially as the bass belly’s swell with eggs and the fish become feeding machines. So what is the best bait to catch one of these dream fish? Here in California most people think of swimbaits of all shapes and sizes and these can be very effective, I just want to point out that there are other very effective baits to use that catch big fish as well.

One of my Favorite baits this time of year is the good old-fashioned Jig. Crawdads have and always will be a food staple for bass and one of the best crawdad imitation lures is the jig. Not only is it a crawdad imitation but when used correctly it can imitate a bluegill, shad or other bait fish. This is why I have one tied on this time of year, versatility. I like to fish my jig this time of year with bold colors and with trailers that impart a lot of action. The water is warming and the brown, green and black colors of the crawdads are starting to give way to summer colors such as red, orange and blue.

The spinnerbait is another one of those long used baits for catching big fish during the pre-spawn. river2sea makes one of my favorite ones the Bling. Another very versatile bait, spinnerbaits can be fished with or without a trailer to change the size and rate of fall. Obviously spinnerbaits are designed to mimic bait fish, it’s their ability to be different kinds of bait that make them deadly for big fish. Spinnerbaits emulate everything from a Bluegill, Shad, Pond smelt, to a Hitch and everything in-between, when feeding up for the spawn a big fish finds it tough to pass up a mouthful of bait fish.

A third bait that has been synonymous with big fish in the pre-spawn is the Lizard. A salamander imitation it has been looked at as a bed robbing bait that the big girls don’t want anywhere near the bedding area. The Lizard is most often fished Texas rigged or Carolina rigged, dragging around the spawning area or flipped around structure. This bait offers up all the criteria the bass are looking for this time of year, it’s large, has good action and can be fished at many different speeds and depths.

The last bait I will touch on in this article is the Crankbait. Of all the baits on this list this one takes the cake for versatility, not because you can pull just one out of the tackle box and fish it different ways. No, its because they make a vast variety of sizes and depth options. It also has the ability to be both a crawfish or a bait fish. All the Crankbaits have the ability to put some true giants in the picture book but the three that stand out the most to me are the Lipless, Square bill and the Deep diver. I revert back to previous statements when I say its tough for big fish to lay off a big meal and this is exactly what this bait offers. With these three versions of Crankbait every depth can be covered (to an extent).

Swimbaits catch really big fish, there is no denying this fact. I just wanted to point out that if you are one of those anglers not interested in dolling out the cash for the specialty rods, reels and baits or maybe you’re just not comfortable throwing giant slabs of plastic there are other options. Maybe one of the options I mentioned is one of your favorites. Good luck out there.

See you on the water.

Big Ed