Fishing & Boating News

LIVETARGET Lures for Spring Bass Success

A one-two punch of cold-water bass tips from a Bassmaster Elite Series Champion

by: Jason Halfen, Traditions Media

Photo by courtesy Live-Target
Photo by courtesy Live-Target
(Apr 4, 2018 - Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON)  As evidenced by the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic, early spring is a challenging season to consistently find bass fishing success. Fluctuating water levels, variable temperatures and clarity, and even a subtle wind shift can turn feast into famine, demanding that even the most experienced professionals shift on the fly to remain dialed into the spring bass bite.

For LIVETARGET pro and Bassmaster Elite Series competitor Stephen Browning, patterning cold-water bass during the pre-spawn period begins by getting out of the main lake and heading into tributaries and creek arms. Browning, who won the recent Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on Ross Barnett Reservoir, begins by, “looking for the first channel swing bank as the creek channel runs from the main lake toward the back of the bay. Then, I dissect cover and cover water, using a one-two punch of confidence lures from LIVETARGET.”

A channel swing bank is, quite simply, an area where a submerged creek channel changes direction as it runs close to the bank. The steep, hard-bottomed outer edge of the creek channel is one location that focuses pre-spawn bass activity.

The first LIVETARGET tool out of Browning’s toolbox is the HFC (Hunt For Center) Craw, designed with an off-center tracking action that causes the lure to randomly dart left or right, mimicking a fleeing crawfish in an evasive retreat. This erratic action is an outstanding trigger for big bass bites in cold water, particularly as the HFC Craw deflects off cover and hard bottom.

Browning notes, “the HFC Craw is a compact, two-inch long bait that is just the right size for bass in cold water. It has a nice steep dive curve, digging down six to eight feet on the retrieve, knocking into cover and the bottom along the channel edges. I use the HFC Craw as my primary search tool to parallel the bank. Red is one of my confidence colors for the HFC Craw, as are the more subtle, but extremely lifelike Phantom Green and Root Beer patterns.”

Equipped with three-dimensional anatomical features, ultra-realistic color patterns, and premium hooks and hardware, the HFC Craw will quickly become a mainstay in your cold-water crankbait collection. Available in six colors that complement a wide array of spring water conditions, the HFC Craw is available now with MSRP $14.49.

Not all bass will relate to the steep, outer edge of the creek channel as it bends close to shore. Indeed, many fish will frequently transition out of the channel along its more gradual, inside edge.

To target these pre-spawners, Browning selects a long, slender Yearling Baitball Jerkbait 110, which features an in-line grouping of baby baitfish, effectively simulating a small group of bait that has been separated from the school. Its unique three-dimensional design creates a multitude of flash points and delivers a shimmering presentation that attracts the attention of any nearby bass.

Browning adds, “my approach with the Yearling BaitBall Jerkbait is somewhat different than the presentation I use with the HFC Craw. Rather than paralleling the bank, I make long casts at a 45-degree angle to the bank, working the bait back with a regular cadence including some long pauses. The Yearling BaitBall Jerkbait suspends perfectly on the pause, which drives neutral fish crazy.”

The 4 ¼” Yearling BaitBall Jerkbait dives four to five feet on the retrieve and is available now with MSRP $14.49 in six ultra-realistic patterns, including Browning’s favorites of Siver/Black and Gold/Black.

At LIVETARGET, our connection and commitment to the primal spirit of competition drives us to design and craft lures that give anglers a distinct advantage. Bassmaster Elite Series pro Stephen Browning depends on that advantage on the tournament trail, and you can rely on it too, whenever you step into the boat, cast a line from shore or wade in your favorite stream. Whenever and wherever we fish, we compete.

Visit us today at to shop and learn about LIVETARGET lures and The Nature of Competition.

Since its launch in 2008, LIVETARGET has grown into a full family of life-like fishing lures that Match-the-Hatch™ to specific game fish forage, with over 750 styles and colors of lures for fresh and saltwater fishing. The lures feature industry-leading designs in realism and workmanship that closely mimic nature’s different baitfish species. Headquartered in Ontario, Canada, LIVETARGET won ICAST Best of Show awards in the hard and soft lure categories in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
Photo by courtesy Live-Target