Spring means two things to diehard bass anglers—prespawn, and the chance for amazing fishing action in skinny water.

Rising water temps put largemouths on the move from deep water to shallow. And here they often roam until conditions are right for nest building. Not all shallows will attract prespawn fish, however. Bass prefer a harder bottom when spawning, so sand or gravel are prime, and grass, brush or wood cover make it all the better.

Early in the prespawn stage bass may not be in full feeding mode, but their activity level is high and they’re susceptible to presentations that entice reaction strikes. Shallow-running cranks like the Norman Fat Boy, which has the fast, tight wobble of a baitfish in flight, do that perfectly. What’s more, this type of fishing allows coverage of a large area of water in a short span of time. Don’t be afraid to impart action to the bait either. Stop-and-go retrieves and abrupt direction changes on the comeback trigger reaction strikes much more consistently than do straight retrieves.

Later on, closer to the actual spawn, largemouths tend to seek shallow cover, yet they remain aggressive and willing to attack swimming lures. Some anglers are averse to throwing a crankbait into any type of cover, but those who do catch fish. Just make sure the lure you use features a square or coffin-shaped designed to deflect the lure when it contacts wood, weeds or rocks. And when it does, pause the retrieve for a beat or two. Nine times out of 10 the strike will come the instant you resume cranking.