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My Springtime Tackle Box

By: Chad Morgenthaler

  Nowadays sifting through the massive amount of bait selections can be a confusing task for any angler. During the springtime I like to keep an open mind and my bait selection fairly simple. My springtime check list includes spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, jigs, soft plastics such as Beavers and Senkos, as well as the ever popular swimbait.   Below Iíve outlined a few of my favorite selections for tackling pre-spawn and spawning bass.

During the springtime I like to use white and chartreuse spinnerbaits with gold Indiana and silver Colorado blades, especially when Iím targeting vegetation.  If the water is clear then Iíll change up by using both willow leaf blades.  Hawg Caller has a great selection of spinnerbaits which will allow you to choose the one you have the most confidence in.

I always like to keep a Lunker Lure buzzbait handy.  They are great search baits and big fish catching machines. Vary the retrieve of the bait until you determine what works best for that particular day.  I normally use 3/8-ounce baits in either black or white.   If you get a few short strikes add a trailer hook and allow the hook to swing freely.

I can narrow my springtime jig color selection down to three colors, black/blue, brown, and green.  Black/blue works well in dirty water and the brown and greens mimic the natural forage in stained to clear water situations.  

During this time of year I use both large and small jigs, so Iíll have one of each tied on.  I vary my jig trailers from crawdads to super chunks.  I prefer to use crawdad trailers on the jigs that I work on the bottom.  Iíll use the supper chunks on the smaller jigs when Iím trying to trigger a bite while the bait is on the fall.

In the springtime the fish seem to really like soft plastic baits, so I like to use Beavers or Senkos in green pumpkin or June bug.  I normally fish the Senko weightless on a 4/0 Gamagatsu extra wide gap super line hook.  If the wind picks up I will add a 1/16-ounce, or 1/8-ounce weight to keep the bait from moving.  When I get around heavily pressured fish, or bedding fish, Iíll use a slow presentation by letting the bait sit for long periods of time then giving it a shake or two. 

I rig the Beaver slightly different using it to target heavy cover and also in areas where the jig bite has slowed.   I mostly rig it on a 3/16-ounce weight using a 5/0 BMF hook by Reaction Innovations.  I prefer to pitch the bait and allow up to 30 seconds before moving the bait.  This technique is very productive for negative or spawning fish. 

Last but not least, Iíve learned over the last several years that itís very productive to add a swimbait to your springtime arsenal.  I turn to swimbaits when the water is on a warming trend and has at least 6 inches of visibility.  Out of all the swimbaits Iíve used my favorite by far is Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper.   The Skinny Dipper is a solid bait which allows for a long cast and lasts much longer than its hollow bodied counter parts.  I casts to all different types of structure and retrieve at a slow steady speed.   Patience is a virtue with this bait, and the key to success is when the bite comes continue with a steady retrieve until you are absolutely sure the fish has eaten the bait.  For the best results use a sweeping hook-set and a medium heavy action rod.  

 Donít make springtime fishing too difficult, go out and use the right bait for the job.  Give a few of my favorite baits a try, but always remember to use your confidence colors and selections.   

A special ďThanksĒ to all of my sponsors: Jasper Engines and Transmissions, Yamaha Motors, Ranger Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Svanda GM Motor Group, Maxima Line, Kistler Rods, Minn Kota, Plano, Reaction Innovations, Solar Bat, Lunker Lure & Hawg Caller, Power-Pole and Nameoki Village Marine.

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