The only two baits you REALLY need during the prespawn and spawn

Cody Kelley

Every bass fanatic knows that some of the very best fishing takes place close to the spawn. The fish get shallow and aggressive, which typically means they’re much easier to catch. Shallow, spawning bass will often take a wide array of baits presented a number of ways, but I like to narrow my offerings down to only a couple of baits. 


Bruiser Baits Intruder 

Once bass begin to move shallow with spawning on their mind, they begin to stage on fairly obvious pieces of structure and cover. These fish will normally be actively feeding, or at least willing to bite most of the time. Yes, they MIGHT eat a moving bait, but I like to slow down in order to flip and pitch plastics to high-priority targets. The Intruder is a creature-style bait that’s definitely the perfect offering for these fish. It’s compact and easy to get into cover. 

When: Anytime the water reaches a consistent 55 degrees. I really like the Intruder early in the morning and later in the afternoon during the prespawn period. After the spawn, I start to use the Intruder as my primary flipping/pitching bait. It’s a great bluegill imitator and drives postspawn bass crazy when they’re guarding nests. 

Where: Shallow cover. This could be wood, rock outcroppings, grass, etc. It could be on a point, but stay close to deep water in the early prespawn period. 

Colors: I throw only two colors 99 percent of the time: green pumpkin and knockout. These imitate crayfish and bluegills. In general, use green pumpkin in cleaner water and knockout in murkier water. 


Bruiser Baits Stick worm 

Stephen Johnston caught a few fish on a Strike King 1.0 square-bill crankbait, but he did most of his damage with a Texas-rigged watermelon seed-colored V&M Chopstick worm.

Once bass begin the actual process of spawning, the bite can slow down slightly. Fortunately, there are always fish in different stages that can be caught. No matter what, there will be staging prespawn and postspawn fish to flip to on shallow cover, and when it’s tough I like the Stick Worm. 

When: The same 55-degree water temperature mark still applies for flipping the Stick Worm. However, I turn to this bait when I want something that is a little more finesse or when the bite slows – maybe after the Intruder bite slows in the morning. 

Where: I present the Stick Worm in the same shallow-water cover that I was targeting with the Intruder. However, you will probably notice that the Stick Worm really shines around grass. Pulling a lightly weighted Stick Worm off of shallow main-lake grass can be absolutely killer for big prespawn bass. If you find a bedding bass, try tossing it right into the middle of the bed. The results are usually fast and fun. 

Colors: Color selection for me is even simpler with the Stick Worm. In the spring I almost always have a watermelon red one rigged up. It’s a great color that complements the finesse approach of the bait. If I’m in really stained water I switch to green pumpkin. 



Rod: Powell Max 3D 765 SBR Utility Rod 

Reel: Lew’s 8.1:1 Super Duty 

Line: P-Line 17-pound-test Tactical Fluorocarbon 

Weights: 3/8 ounce for the Intruder and 1/8 ounce for the Stick Worm (normally pegged) 

Hooks: EWG flipping or straight shank 

Tags: spawn  -shallow-water  -kids-club  fishing-tips-advanced  cody-kelley 


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