by Mike Gerry
Yes, the timing might be different every year. It could occur in middle to late March or on into April, but every year we get to a point where the soft plastic bite turns on and folks, we have reached that critical time here in April!
Your favorite plastic becomes the bait of choice and the fun for those that enjoy the strong hook set becomes front and center. I know of no bait that is more fun when you are in the mood to show off your hook set than snatching a bass out of the water with a powerful hook set that tests your strength. I caution however, if you are the person that wants to overpower it, that you can break your line, or rod tip, so be strong but not overpowering as I have seen many long faces when a big fish takes a jump 20 feet from the boat and the rod broke, or worse, the line broke!
There are many soft plastics baits I like, I really do not know that your preference would be any different, but I like a couple of different plastics. The Missile Bait 48 stick bait and their D-Bomb is always a favorite for me. I still use lizards. I like their floating arms in the movement as it falls to the bottom. It is always tantalizing, especially in the spawn. Any creature type bait can always get bites this time of year so use your imagination. Color can always be a moving target as it is the time of year that we get lots of rain, changing the stain color of the water and forcing you to adapt as you try to find that magic color that gets you the number of bites you are looking for. I try to match the watercolor, as a rule of thumb, so in muddy water I like reds and purples. In clear water it is bright chartreuse or white and in slightly stained water greens or watermelon red and even California browns are successful.
Do not underestimate the need to be rigged correctly with rods, line, and reel speed as many times if you are not rigged right, you can cost yourself fish. Soft tip rods can hurt your hook-up and extra stiff tips can break your line!