Suspending Jerkbait: The ultimate combination of power and finesse. This bait allows you to rapidly cover water, but you can also let it hang over their heads when you find a likely spot. Finding the right cadence and length of pause on a particular day is very important. Typically the colder the water the longer you'll want to pause it. Keep a watchful eye on the bait as it comes back to the boat. If you don't have the right speed or color you'll notice bass following instead of committing. If you can pick up on that you'll know it's time to change things up.
Lipless Crankbait: Find a weed bed that has some wind blowing on it and you've found a likely spot to throw a "trap". I don't know what it is about this bait that drives them crazy in cold water, but they will eat it even though it is moving fast. However if you can tick the tops of the weeds, you'll get more bites. The change of direction and resulting pause from ripping it out of a weed clump gives them no choice but to react. A lot of colors work well in the spring, but red is almost always the first one I will reach for.
Jighead and Plastic: Once I know a spot has fish living on it this presentation is hard to beat. Any natural looking plastic with little action and no flapping appendages works great, but the Erie darter is my go to. Rig it up on a light jighead (3/16) ounce, to properly scoot it along the bottom and not bog down in the weeds. You can fish it deep or shallow and it will get bites from bass of all sizes.
Blade Bait: This goofy looking hunk of metal really shines when the water is cold. Fishing it along the bottom with a lift and drop technique can be very productive. They key is to let it hit bottom on every hop. This bait is just as effective at covering water as it is making repeated casts to a school of fish. You'll find it is a true multispecies bait as well, there is no limit to what will bite it so be prepared for surprises.
Jig: I never leave the dock during any time of the year without a Nemesis Upskirt Jig tied on. I have caught some absolute giant fish crawling a 3/8 ounce jig on the bottom in the spring. You won't find anything more versatile. I can be fishing around schooling bluegills in 20 feet of water and be pitching pad stems in a shallow pocket without ever switching baits. It does a great job of imitating both a crawfish and a bluegill and for that reason I usually like a natural color with a little orange in it for spring bass fishing.
Written by RNS Pro Staffer Jeff Elliott