Lester's Top Spawn Baits

Spring is spawning time for largemouth bass and, while precise schedules vary with geography and weather patterns, Mustad pro Brandon Lester has determined that his biggest assets are his eyes. No matter where he’s fishing, investing the time for observational reconnaissance, helps him dial in his targets.

“I like clean water; that’s prob the No. 1 factor for finding spawning fish,” the tenured Bassmaster Elite pro said. “You can get up there troll around the bank and get a good feel for what’s going on. If I find a lot of bluegill up there, that tells me the bass spawn is tailing off.”

Noting that he favors a Highland reservoir because this type of fishery typically offers the cleanest water, Lester said he also enjoys learning grass fisheries. Florida’s St. Johns River, for example, produced his biggest spawn fish — a 9-pound, 4-ounce largemouth.

“One thing about a bass that I’ve noticed all over the country, is they want to spawn next to something,” Lester said. “I’m not saying they won’t spawn on a bare open flat, but 95% of the time, they like to spawn next to something. Whether it be vegetation, a stick, a laydown, or a stump, I think it’s just a security blanket to them, because that’s a very vulnerable time. They’re protecting that bed, so they want to have a place where they can feel safe.”

Once he locates bed fish, Lester employs a three-part strategy to maximize his opportunities. Starting with a wacky rig, he’ll use a 5-inch soft stick worm with No. 1 Mustad Alpha-Grip Finesse hook.

“You can’t beat that — it’s just a bite-getter around the spawn,” Lester said. “I don’t get really carried away with color; I typically use some form of green pumpkin and I put about a half inch of chartreuse dye to the tail. That’s a good bluegill imitator and bass don’t like bluegill around their beds.”
- Brandon Lester

Next, Lester Texas rigs a 3- to 4-inch creature bait on a 3/0 Mustad Alpha-Point Assault Wide Gap hook with a 1/4-ounce Mustad Tungsten TitanX Worm Weight. Here, again, Lester likes a green pumpkin bait with a chartreuse tail, but he’ll occasionally make a strategic color switch.

“If the fish is just nipping at the bait, I’ll go with white,” Lester said. “I’ll also use white if I’m having trouble seeing the fish in stained water. If the white disappears, set the hook.”

As Lester points out, larger Texas-rigged baits have their place in bed fishing, but this 3- to 4-inch creature bait is the right size for a deal closer. There’s plenty of size to aggravate a bass into biting, but it’s not too big for the fish to easily suck it in for a solid hook set.

While flipping and pitching his plastics accounts for the majority of Lester’s bed fishing, he’ll also keep a brown size 55 LIVETARGET Hollow Body Frog handy. As he points out, the amphibian impersonator may not be one of the more common spawn baits, but Lester often finds key opportunities that would otherwise remain out of reach.

“During the spawn, I’m always looking up on the bank for little wakes of a bass chasing something off the bed. When you see that, you can throw that frog up there and catch that fish."
- Brandon Lester

“I don’t fish it really fast, that frog walks it really well. It works really good on the males, because they’re the ones guarding that bed. It’ll also work on a female, depending on how hot she is.”


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