I recently got back from a trip to Clearlake where I got to fish with my good friend Tim Little. We were able to find a great pattern throwing River2Sea S-wavers for pre-spawn fish that were moving up to feed on bait fish.
Early spring can be a difficult time to consistently pattern large fish. As the smaller males begin to move in to the shallows it can feel like the larger fish have disappeared all together. Throwing larger baits can be a great way to identify where the larger fish are located. Often times they will be holding in schools very close to the smaller fish. Using a bait like an S-Waver or other Swimbait allows you to intentionally target larger bites throughout the day. I've found that even when they are not willing to bite, large females will follow large swimbaits (6-10" long) to the boat, giving away their location. Once I've located these larger fish I visit them again during different weather conditions to try and fool them in to biting.
In the past I've insisted on throwing softbaits exclusively when the water is in the high 40's and low 50's but I've experienced days in the last 12 months that have caused me to challenge those beliefs. Even in cold water there is a place for slow, methodical hardbaits that draw up big bass. There will be more to come on this later.