Whenever a fresh spring season kicks off, I notice that it brings out two types of bass anglers. You have the guys that are excited to fish regardless of the need for slower presentations and dissecting pre-spawn routines. Then you have the guys who are kinda pumped about spring, but really just see it as one step closer to summer, when they can get back to what they really love: throwing topwaters. Truth is, early spring really isn’t too early to start working the surface if you put topwaters into play in the right situation at the right time. What I’m saying is, you’re not crazy for having a few buzzbaits mixed in with those jigs and rattle baits. Here’s the scoop.
When bass fishermen think about topwater action, they think of warm summer mornings when the fog is lifting, or rainy fall days when bass are putting the final feed bag on before winter. I think early spring, and I think about creeks, drains, and super shallow runoff pockets. Naturally, bass may not be tuned into something like a buzzbait the second they come shallow early in the season, but give them a week of above average temps, then a warm rain to top it off, and the buzzbait can be money at any point where that heated runoff is dumping into the lake or river. Figuring out if you’re in a prime spring topwater zone is all about watching your water temp gauge when you enter creeks. An uptick of a few degrees is good, but if you find a creek that’s ten or more degrees warmer than the main body, start buzzing.
In super-heated runoff spots, bass often get as far towards the warm water discharge as possible, even if that means sticking their noses right into a 6-inch-deep drainage ditch fed by a warm waterfall pouring into the lake. I can’t count how many bass I’ve caught on buzzbaits in areas where it looks like only trout should live. Of course, one problem boaters may face is not being able to get back far enough in these areas. Here’s the solution: beach the boat and hike in. I’ve done it countless times (provided it wasn’t private property). And remember, if you catch one bass, fire that buzzbait right back to the same spot. If one bass found it’s way back to the warm spring oasis, he’s likely brought friends.