Sam George – FLW Tour Pro
With Spring just around the corner, bass are beginning to leave their deep winter haunts to begin their journey to the shallow spawning areas. This time of year can be one of the best times to catch some of the biggest bass in a body of water. The fish are feeding in preparation for the stress of the spawn and with that comes great opportunities for anglers.
Once the bass begin to relate to these spawning areas, one of my favorite ways to catch them is using a squarebill crankbait. While there are countless lures and techniques to catch these springtime bass, the squarebill always remains in my arsenal for several reasons.
The first reason I love using a squarebill is that I can cover tons of water while keeping my lure in the strikezone. Covering water efficiently allows me to quickly determine what stage the fish are in. Are they at the creek mouths? Are they on secondary points? Are they in the back of the creeks? These are the questions I want to answer in order to develop a pattern. Once I locate the areas the fish are relating to, I can slow down and pick these places apart.
When Salmo and I started the design of the Salmo Squarebill, we wanted to create a lure that could be used around any type of cover. Traditionally I would have two different squarebills tied on. One would be Balsa Wood and one would be plastic. I would throw the balsa crankbait around heavy cover and the plastic crankbait around rock and grass. Since we created the Salmo Squarebill, we have taken the advantages of both balsa and plastic crankbaits and put them into one lure. The foam body design gives the buoyancy identical to balsa while providing the durability of plastic. The Salmo Squarebill is available in 8 different colors to match any water conditions and forage you may encounter.
Another reason squarebills are deadly in the spring is the fact that they can trigger a reaction bite. In other words, you can make a bass bite even if he’s not hungry. When a squarebill is moving at a high rate of speed and deflecting off of cover, a fish doesn’t have time to think about if he’s hungry. He is either going to bite it or miss a meal. More often than not, instinct forces him to bite it. Once bass actually start the spawning process, their willingness to chase a meal decreases dramatically. You have to often force a reaction bite to catch them. Triggering this instinct with a squarebill is a great way to catch fish that you normally wouldn’t catch with other techniques.
Lastly, you need to have the right equipment. I use a 7’ Medium-Action rod. I prefer a composite design over straight graphite because the composite design allows the fish to get the lure better and acts as a shock absorber during the fight. I use a reel with a 6.3:1 gear ratio exclusively because I can speed up the lure or slow it down with ease. As far as line goes, I always use fluorocarbon. I change my line size based on depth and the cover I am around. I use 12-14 lb test for open water and rocky banks. I upgrade to 17-20 lb test when I get shallower and around heavy cover. Having the right setup will help you get more bites and also increase your landing ratio.
As winter disappears and spring starts to creep in, open up your tackle box and tie on a Salmo Squarebill. You’ll find that it is a deadly lure for springtime bass. You will be able to cover a lot more water while still getting quality bites. A squarebill has been a mainstay in my arsenal for years and I have caught countless trophy bass with this technique.
Editors Note: The author Sam George is currently an FLW Tour Rookie and already has a top 10 finish under his belt from his first tour event at the Sam Rayburn Resevoir. He has had multiple top 12 finishes in the Bassmaster Opens, and has enjoyed great tournament success using Salmo Lures.