Top 3 rod builds to catch more prespawn bass

As with much of bass fishing timing and seasons vary based on your location across the country. Since one of the important factors in triggering bass to move is water temperature, it is only logical that fish in Florida or Georgia will be on different schedules than those in Michigan and Wisconsin. With that in mind, let’s talk about pre-spawn bass and the lures and rod builds you will need to increase your success before those fish move onto beds.

As I write this here in Florida, we are on the tail end of the spawn. Tress are in bloom, turkeys are gobblin’ and day time temps are in the 70’s. Contrast that to our friends in Green Bay, Wisconsin who will have snow today and night time lows in the teens. Those fish aren’t quite ready to spawn, to say the least.

In the upcoming weeks, many of you will likely be drawn to focus your efforts along the change between deep water and shallow water areas. Keep an eye out for those transitional zones, especially along 45-degree style banks, where fish tend to congregate while migrating towards creeks and coves en’route to spawning flats and shallows. These are the waters where fish that have spent the winter in deeper regions will start to gather in abundance. With our Florida waters being considerably shallower we do not tend to have as sharp of a transition but we do have fish that migrate offshore because coming back in to spawn.

However, it's important not to overlook the resident fish that prefer shallow habitats throughout the year, as they too will be actively engaging in the spawning process. Identifying and understanding their behavior patterns will be crucial, as they often lead the charge when it comes to bedding activities. Some fish can be caught shallow year-round. That can be done all over the country not just down here in Florida. Remember, it's crucial for anglers to not only select the right lure but also ensure it's paired with the appropriate blank to optimize its performance.

Catching Them Crankin'

One of the top prespawn bait categories will be crankbaits. In some parts of the country they are fished in craw colors, like reds and oranges and in others they have more of a shad coloration. Since we are beyond the spawn here in Florida we will be referencing lakes like those found along the TVA system and north. These lakes tend to have fish holding on points, rocky shorelines, bluff walls, docks and laydowns.

If I had one blank to fish a lipless crank or squarebills around the above mentioned areas, it would be the CB845. MHX rod blanks stand out by offering an unparalleled combination of lightweight construction, exceptional sensitivity, and remarkable durability, ensuring unmatched performance and angling experiences.

Specifications: 7'0" | 10-20 lb. | 3/8 - 1 oz. | Mod-Fast Action | Medium Heavy Power

Crafted with a precise blend of graphite materials, the MHX Crankbait Series maintains superior sensitivity while featuring moderate-fast actions that effectively absorb shock, ensuring secure hooksets with treble hooks.


Specifically designed for moving baits like squarebills and lipless cranks, the MHX CB845-Blend Crankbait Rod Blank embodies the ideal blend of specifications.

With a length of 7 feet, the CB845 boasts a moderate-fast action and medium-heavy power, facilitating accurate casting of crankbaits to desired targets while providing the necessary strength to handle aggressive strikes and lands those ornery prespawn fish. 

The allure of targeting fish during the prespawn period lies in their proactive response to the impending spawning season. As spring draws near, even slight fluctuations in water temperature, particularly in shallower depths, can trigger these fish to exhibit heightened spawning behaviors. A couple of warm days followed by nights in the 60s are often sufficient to prompt these larger female fish to migrate to their spawning grounds, exhibiting increased aggression, voracious feeding, and bulging with eggs.



To locate these fish populations, focus your efforts on creeks, rivers, and flats, especially those areas where the journey to significantly deeper waters would be considerable. These locations tend to foster resident fish communities, typically characterized by abundant food sources, preferably supplemented by fresh water inflows, ample cover for ambushing prey and seeking shade in hot summers, and a substantial distance from deeper water.

Better Bring the Blades

One of the best search baits for these areas is a spinnerbait. We have all fished one, I believe outside of a plastic worm, the spinnerbait was one of the first things I remember fishing as a kid. I loved them then and I still love to fish one. 

The blank I prefer for a spinnerbait is the MB843. I know you hear about this blank a lot but it just gets the job done. Plus, I don't throw a spinnerbait all the time so I do not need some obscure rod blanks just to fish one that can take up extra room in the rod box. 

Specifications: 7'0" | 10-17 lb. | 1/4 - 3/4 oz. | Fast Action | Medium Heavy Power

Specifically designed as an all around blank, the MHX MB843 embodies the ideal bass fishing rod blank. This is one of those blanks everyone ends up with two or three that covers that anglers favorite techniques. From spinnerbaits, to top water and texas rigs, this one can do almost everything. 


With a length of 7 feet, the MB843 boasts a fast action and medium-heavy power, enabling precise casting around snaggy cover while providing enough power to pull fish out of laydowns or from under docks.  Remember, spring time brings rain and those creeks can be a little washed out so spinnerbaits can be a great option due to the water movement and flash from the blades. Be sure you have one tied on in chartreuse when that water gets stained.  

You Might Need to Finesse Them

Just because we talk about covering water and power fishing during the prespawn, we can not forget about the finesse game.  It is really hard to beat a wacky rig or shakey head when things get tough or the lake has a ton of fishing pressure during the spring. For this we choose the NEPS81MLXF by MHX. 

Specifications: 6'9" | 6-15 lb. | 5/32 - 7/16 oz. | Extra Fast Action | Medium-Light Power

For spinning applications, this rod casts with superior accuracy, while its extra fast tip gives bait the ideal action, and the medium-light power bends to become the perfect shock absorber that guarantees fish stay buttoned up. The extra fast tip and medium-light power also provide excellent performance advantages when vertical fishing if you need to drop shot.



I personally like the NEPS81MLXF ned rigs, shakey heads and wacky rigs. Since it is just 6'9" this rod effortlessly skips wacky rigs under docks, but does not feel short when fishing other finesse applications down rocky shorelines or long points. Plus, with it being in the Elite Pro family the sensitivity is off the charts while the nano resin keeps this blank durable for the dedicated tournament angler. 

So there you have it, you know how to find them and now you can build a few extra tools to make sure you catch them once the weather gets right. It should not been too long now before the prespawn turns into the spawn, so do not sleep in the next time you get that nice weather window. 

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