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In many regions the arrival of April (and May) means you can open your tackle box and throw just about anything and catch bass. Warming surface water temperatures climbing from the 50’s into the 60’s sends bass toward shallow water in search of food sources as they stock up in preparation for the spawn. As is often the case there are certain bass baits that will out produce others. I assemble seasonal tackle boxes and even species specific boxes. While it can get confusing several seasons have given me specific lures and a game plan for bring fish to the kayak consistently.

It’s impossible for me to start this type of conversation and not start with a jig…the lure not the dance. Jigs are versatile, offer versatility and could help you land the biggest bass of your life. Of the half dozen ten pound bass I’ve landed four of the fish were fooled by a jig. Anything that mimics the look of a crawfish is likely to draw a lot of interest from bass. Crawfish are high energy forage for fish and in the spring as they emerge bass of all types are on the prowl for these crustaceans. The color patter of crawfish can vary by region and season. Combinations of brown, muted greed and a small splash of orange are almost a sure thing. Standard for me is a 3/8th ounce Strike King jig trailed by a Rage Tail craw. The trailer color varies but Bama craw #101 and Road Kill #229 are fish favorites. This bait is tied to twenty pound test braided line and spooled on a Lew’s reel and a medium heavy 7 ½ foot Lew’s rod.

Casting for cash or fishing for fun minnow imitating baits will usually draw the interest of a few fish. This could bring you to reaching for soft plastic lures, crankbaits and spinner but minnow “plugs” have been effective for decades. Discovered years ago the A.C. Shiner has earned a place in my tackle box for any season. The model #300 C is best presented on an open face spinning outfit and cast to a likely spot, allowed to rest until the ripples disappear and then start a stop and go subsurface retrieve. Fished around shoreline cover, weed beds and shallow water wood the minnow imitator has consistently caught fish of all sizes and varieties for me. The shad pattern is a go-to color for me. A close second hard bait is the Strike King 1.5 square bill crankbait. Properly bounced off rocks, docks, wood and any object this bait produces what I call a “deflection” bite. Two colors are usually alongside the seat on my Jackson Kayaks #535 chartreuse / black back and #584 Oyster will work in most water conditions either clear to murky.

April eye candy is the topwater bass bite. Aggressive especially as the water warms, the days get longer and the major moon moves to full (or new) bass slug surface lures readily. A wide variety of lures qualify, chuggers like the Spit-N-King, Pop-R or the old Hula popper are good. There are prop baits with one or two propellers or a classic topwater bait like the ageless jitterbug from Arbogast. My favorite, the buzzbait. If you’re in search of a giant working a buzzbait in typical topwater territory will make your heart skip a beat. Cast past you target, pull the rid back upon entry to avoid slack and lighten the effect of the landing. A high speed baitcasting reel is desirable for buzzing bass. A rule of thumb for me is blade size is dictated by water color but more by wind velocity. Zero wind, surface smooth as glass a small buzz blade , a ripple on the top I go with a medium size blade, gusty winds call for an oversized blade. The logic here is the fish’s’ ability to see AND hear the lure is increased by using an appropriate size. Caution: the buzzer is not normally a numbers bait but can call up a true trophy.

Soft plastics, worms, craws and swimbaits are logical choices, spinnerbaits and others deserve some consideration but for April foolers the MAY continue into the next month give these a try.