I was asked once if I had a favorite seasonal pattern. One that I preferred above all others. I thought about it a minute. Easy. Prespawn. Prespawn generally occurs when the water is between 55 and 62 degrees. It is that one magical time of year when everything comes together for some of the best bass fishing you will have all year. If you do YOUR part.
The key to good prespawn fishing is not in your lure selection, but in your ability to locate the fish. This is as simple as having a basic knowledge of the species you are after. Remember, this is a transitional pattern. The bass will be moving. Since the bass are going to be actively feeding in preparation for the spawn, catching them should be easy.
To locate them, look for key pieces of cover and structure between their deeper winter haunts, and the shallower spawning grounds. For instance, say you know where there is a cove the bass always spawn in. Rather than target the back of the cove, or the cover along the shorelines, look for the bass to be staged along the ends of tapering points near deeper water, near the mouth of the cove, or in bends along the creek channel near the spawning area. The areas closest to the spawning grounds on the deep water side are generally the best. The bass may suspend near this cover or structure, but they are much easier to catch then the bass that suspend in open water.
My two favorite baits for targeting prespawn bass are a 1/2oz. Lipless Crankbait and a Suspending Jerkbait. I target the points, and the ends of the points that have the sharpest dropoffs into deeper water with the jerkbait. I will pause it as it comes over the drop-off and many times a bass hanging just off the end will nail it. I fish the inside bends of the creek channels with the lipless crankbait.
I like the inside bends of the channels because this is where the brush and debris accumulates. I use a Lipless Crank in this situation because it can be counted down on each cast to determine what depth the fish are holding. If you are fishing the bends in the channel and there is current present, fish WITH the current. Bass, being ambush predators, face into the current to catch prey swept to them. You will get many more strikes by fishing with the current than against it.
Try to imitate baitfish or crawdads with your lure selection. The bass will be actively feeding on the shad and baitfish young born that year, as well as the newly emerging softshell craws.