Zak Elrite

4 min to read

3 Pre-Spawn Baits That Really Shine

Category : PRE-SPAWN

3 of a Kind

As we dust off the “winter time” cob webs and start to prepare for our pre-spawn fishing, there are 3 baits that I always have tied on. As water temperatures are reaching the mid to upper 50’s and we see bass start to move up from their deep water haunts up to secondary points in preparation for the spawn, these baits give me the ability to target different depth zones effectively. Try tying on these baits on your next day on the water.

First, a “Skinny Bear Bass Jigs” 3/4oz. football jig Elite-Football-Jigswith a Zoom Fat Albert twin tail grub is my favorite bait when targeting deeper water and somewhat steeper ledges. This heavy, hand tied jig is great for enticing strikes from bass that will be staging on these steep drops, waiting for slow-moving prey. I give the jig a small, quick pop off the steep sections of bank and keep walking it down until I am nearly back to the boat. Often times the bass cannot resist the quick drop of the heavy jig and will SLAM the bait before it hits the bottom. Another one of my favorite techniques is to position the boat close to the bank on long points with steep drops on either side, cast it out and slowly pull the bait up hill. As crawdads make their way out of deep water, bass will be there to greet them and this jig is a great imitation.

River2Sea-Bling-spinnerbaitSecond and often overlooked, is a spinnerbait. I throw a 1/2oz River2Sea Bling spinnerbait and work the 5-20 foot depth zones. My favorite technique this time of year is to slow roll the Bling along the bottom while paralleling the bank. The heavy 1/2oz head, ultralight willow leaf blades and light wire give this bait crazy vibration. The key is to reel the Bling slow enough to keep it on the bottom and yet fast enough the feel those blades churning in the water. Very often bass will key in on shad before the spawn, especially on the California Delta, and throwing a blade parallel to the structure you’re fishing will produce consistent numbers. Depending on the body of water you’re on, you can also try throwing the Bling on long points, much like a jig, and slow roll it back to the boat. The key with throwing a blade in this time a year is to give it a slow to moderate retrieve, in whatever depth you’re targeting in order to entice those sluggish bass to bite.

Carolina-rigsFinally, I am a huge fan of the Carolina rig in the pre-spawn period. Far too often anglers move into the newest, hottest techniques and abandon the old school, proven ones. I throw a 1/2oz River2Sea tungsten bullet weight paired with a glass bead (two beads if you’re fishing in very stained water) before my swivel. At times I will go up to a 3/4oz weight and all the way down to a 3/8oz weight depending on the depth I’m targeting, heavier for deeper water and lighter for shallower water. As for leader length, it all depends on the bottom cover and water clarity of the body of water you’re fishing. In stained water with rock or gravel, I’ll keep my leader shorter, approximately 14-18”. However in clearer water with heavier vegetation I’ll throw a leader of up to 3 feet in length in order to separate the bait from the weight and keep it above the grass. As for my choice of plastics, again, I keep it simple and throw a 6” Zoom lizard.  There’s an endless supply of baits that you could throw and I say throw whatever you have confidence in, but for me it’s a green pumpkin Zoom lizard.

Try having a few rods rigged up with these baits the next time you hit the water and I know you’ll have great success. Remember to keep moving this time of year and fish these techniques in different depths until you find what depth the bass are holding in. It’s important to not work your bait too fast this time of year, but instead move locations if you’re not getting bit. Finally, always make sure you have the right rod for each technique too. You can more information about my favorite rods, Dobyns Rods, as well as all of the aforementioned baits at Coyote Bait and Tackle in San Jose (

Zak Elrite –
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