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With water spring-like weather in the forecast bass anglers will be itching for a fishing trip to the lake. Savvy anglers can narrow down their lure choices and spend more time catching fish and less time searching through their tackle bag.

To a non-angler, a spinnerbait doesn’t look too appealing, to angler or bass. A stiff wire bent or twisted connected to a hook with the eyelet encased in lead. A couple of funny-shaped, shiny metal blades and a skirt to cover the naked end of the hook.

At first glance, this contraption doesn’t seem effective in catching fish. However, the spinnerbait is one of the top lures for bass on any lake and during any season. But early spring is one of the best times to utilize the effectiveness of a spinnerbait.

“A spinnerbait is great search tool for early spring,” said Jordan Lee, two-time Bassmaster Classic Champion from Grant. “It allows you to cover lots of water and locate active bass.”

In colder water, a slower retrieve may be required to entice a strike from a lethargic bass. Lee sometimes adds a soft-plastic trailer to the hook of the spinner to assist in a slower retrieve. The added trailer also increases the profile size of the bait giving bass more to target.

Another top lure choice for early spring bass catching are crankbaits. Square-billed baits made by Strike King, Lucky Craft and Rapala are top brands. The fatter bodies along with the squared off plastic bill or lip gives off a different action on the retrieve.

Also, these baits are designed to run shallow. With most baits, depths of 3 to 5 feet are average for baits in the 3/8- to 1/2-ounce weight class. Larger, heavier baits can approach eight feet in depth. The square bill models can be fished slow or fast with their wide wiggle action.

Skinny lures like the Shad Rap, Bomber Flat A and Bandit Flat Maxx work better in open water areas where bass and other game fish are following shad. Each angler may have a certain preference to color, but generally a shad pattern or crawfish colored bait will perform in most all cases.

Lipless crankbaits like the Rat-L-Trap and Red Eye shad are also popular lures for early spring bass. These lures can be used to cover plenty of water and are effective once the water temperature is around 50 degrees or higher. Top colored choices here are blue back and silver, craw orange or red.

One of Lee’s top lures for early spring bass fishing is a football-head style jig. He tips the jig with a soft plastic trailer. The addition of crawfish or creature style bait works great. The football shaped head allows the lure to bump through brush, cover and rocks.

Crawfish are a favorite food for bass, especially in the spring. To simulate the crawfish, Lee will opt for a crawfish colored lure. Orange and brown with some green pumpkin and chartreuse mixed in is a good color combination. With the soft-plastic trailer dip the claw tips in chartreuse or orange dye.

Early spring bass fishing doesn’t have to be complicated with a bunch of different lures. Anglers can simplify their lure choices and employ different approaches to fill out their limit.

Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at charjohn@cableone.net.

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