This time of year, prespawn bass can be found in shallower waters, waiting for you to put away your winter gear and toss them a snack. Here are three great ways to catch prespawn bass that will make you the hero at any campsite. 

1. Find a shelf

One quick way to zero in on prespawn bass is to find a cove or inlet that has a shelf running near the bank. Once you get a feel for where that shelf is, fish parallel to it. As spring approaches, female bass and males seeking nest sites will tightly pack onto these shelves, waiting until the time is right for them to spawn. Until then, they’ll cruise up and down the shelf, looking for food so they can build up the energy for spawning. 

2. Don’t overthink

A common mistake anglers make this time of year is over-thinking a particular spot. Many head out and try to find a perfectly vertical break close to deep water, complete with shell beds, grass, and baitfish—the perfect recipe for bass. Yes, that kind of spot sounds ideal, but it can take hours and hours to find on any given body of water. Instead, if you can find producing spots that don’t look like bass heaven, drop anchor there. For instance, one of my most productive spots is a small, two-foot shelf that runs about ten feet off the bank for roughly 100 yards, where I can usually limit out in just a few minutes. However, once bass move off that spot, I don’t catch them there until the next spring. The bottom line here is to not skip over a spot simply because it isn’t the most ideal.

3. Choose a lure

One of my favorite lures to toss this time of year is a wacky rigged five-inch Senko on a wide gap finesse hook. Even when the bass aren’t particularly active, this rig produces for me consistently. The fish are straight suckers for this, especially if they aren’t extremely active. I’ve also had great luck with topwater baits, such as the Spro Dawg 100. This bait offers the look of a big meal, but doesn’t discourage smaller fish that just fall within size limit range. There are times when fish sit up a bit higher in the water column, which is where a topwater presentation comes in handy. Usually I can go back and forth between this and the Senko as the situation calls for it. Finally, on the days when fish just won’t hit my usual lures, a soft plastic jerkbait rigged on an extra wide gap hook will always do the job. Their excellent gliding action that mimics a struggling baitfish is a great enticer.