Top 7 Best Bass Lures for Early Morning Fishing

John Malcolm
John MalcolmPublished: April 2, 2023
Top 7 Best Bass Lures for Early Morning Fishing

Early morning fishing is one of the most effective times to catch bass. The water is still cool, and the fish are active, making it prime time for anglers looking to score a big catch. However, even if you're doing some early morning fishing, you'll still want the best bass lures for the job.

From buzz baits and poppers to crankbaits and jerk baits – there’s an array of options that can help you lure in those big bass strikes.

Our fishing experts talked with other anglers and even considered the lures they use to put together some of the best lures for early morning bass fishing so you can get out on the lake with confidence.

Here's a quick rundown, but we'll get into the weeds on each of these.

Lure TypeBest ConditionsKey Features
PoppersCalm surface conditions, overcast skiesConcave or flat faces to create a "pop" noise on the surface
FrogsLily pads, grassy areas, and shallow waterWeedless design, mimics natural movement of a frog
SprinklersTopwater, especially around coverRotating legs that create a splashing, skipping action
Buzz BaitsOvercast or low-light conditionsFast-retrieving topwater lure, creates a buzzing sound
Jerk BaitsClear water, when bass are activeErratic side-to-side movement, mimics wounded fish
Crank BaitsVarying depths, depending on modelDiving lip causes bait to dive and mimic swimming baitfish
Plastic WormsAny conditions, highly versatileCan be rigged in multiple ways, mimics a variety of prey

The best time of day to fish for bass.

Without a doubt, it's in the early morning hours. The sun has just come up, and you can feel the excitement of being out on the water as nature wakes up around you. But why is this the best time of day for bass fishing?

To understand why the early morning hours are so ideal for catching bass, we need to look at the habits of these fish. As with most aquatic creatures, bass prefer cooler temperatures and have a tendency to feed more actively when it's cool.

So if you want to increase your chances of reeling in some big catches, an early start is key. Since "early" is subjective, look at the sunrise times in your area and try to be on the water at least 90 minutes before official sunrise.

But there's a little bit more than just the time of day. As anglers trying to bring in the big one, we have to take a look at the conditions as well.

What are the best conditions for morning bass fishing?

As we mentioned, bass prefer cooler temperatures, so the best time to go is when the water has had a chance to cool down overnight. The early morning hours also offer some unique benefits that are only available at this time of day—

  • Low light levels.
  • Calm water.

These two factors can help make it easier for you to spot and target bass, as they tend to be more active in these conditions.

Try to get your boat out on the water about 90 minutes before the sun comes up but not later than 30 minutes prior so you can get to you’re your spot and be ready to start fishing at sunrise. Target the shallows that have structure, as bass tend to congregate there.

Now that you know when and where to fish, let's take a look at what lures will help increase your chances of success.

Top 4 topwater lures for early morning bass fishing.

We're going to start this off with topwater baits. After all, some of the best bass fishing lures are designed to be fished on the surface. Here are a few of our best-performing topwater baits for bass fishing—

Popper lures for bass.

  • Ideal for calm surface conditions
  • Uses a popping sound to attract bass
  • Effective in overcast skies

Topping our list of topwater lures are the poppers. These are a favorite of many anglers and for a good reason. They create a realistic action on the surface that can draw in curious bass. Plus, they are relatively easy to cast and retrieve, creating a great opportunity for a topwater bite.

One of our expert's favorite poppers is the Bass Pro Shops XPS Pro Series hard baits. They have various styles and colors to use. They claim it outperforms all other poppers, and we have to agree.

Popper Topwater Lures for Bass XPS Pro

Frog lures for bass.

  • Best in lily pads, grassy areas, and shallow waters
  • Weedless design
  • Mimics natural frog movements

Another one of our favorites is the topwater frog lure. This bait imitates frogs that are found in many bass habitats, and it can be an effective way to target these fish. Fished slowly on a steady retrieve, this lure is sure to entice some strikes.

Our favorite is the Lunkerhunt frogs. They have incredible action and are extremely realistic. It's hard for bass fish to resist this topwater bait.

Lunkerhunt Topwater Frog for Bass

Sprinker bass bait.

  • Suitable for topwater fishing around cover
  • Rotating legs create splashing action
  • Imitates wounded baitfish or insects

Not quite as popular as the other bass fishing lures, but we've had crazy success with these, the sprinker baits. This topwater bait is designed to imitate a wounded baitfish or insect and can be incredibly effective for early morning bass fishing.

We generally retrieve these slowly with a few pops every few feet. This will get the attention of aggressive bass looking for an easy meal in the morning.

Buzz bait for bass.

  • Optimal in overcast or low-light conditions
  • Fast-retrieving, surface lure
  • Creates a buzzing sound to mimic small baitfish or insects

There's a reason buzz bait is on this list. They're one of the best lures when fishing for bass, regardless of the time of day.

Buzzbaits are designed to be fished fast and shallow, something that can draw in bass looking for an easy meal in the morning.

The loud “buzz” they create also mimics a small baitfish or insect and can bring up some serious blows!

What makes topwater lures effective for morning bass fishing?

Think of it this way, early morning is a great time to target bass because they are usually very active in low light and calm water conditions.

Topwater lures take advantage of this with their realistic action on the surface that mimics prey looking for an easy meal, which can result in some explosive strikes.

Remember, you're trying to mimic what the bass' natural prey is doing, so take your time and make sure you're giving the bait plenty of action.

With these topwater lures, you can increase your chances of catching more bass during the early morning hours and maximize your fishing success.

That's why our expert anglers always start the morning out with a topwater because the success rate is so high.

How to properly use topwater lures to catch bass?

We've touched on this a bit, but to be effective, you have to do more than just cast the bait out and let it sit there. To be successful, you'll need to give the lure plenty of action on your retrieve.

For poppers, a few short twitches of the rod tip is generally enough, as this will cause them to make a loud “plop” that mimics easy prey for bass. You're trying to get the attention of the fish but not necessarily scare it off.

For frogs and sprinkler baits, try slowing down your retrieve speed and adding some pauses in between twitches to create a realistic action that will draw in big bites, and you'll undoubtedly catch aggressive bass.

Try using different speeds and patterns until you find what works best in your area. On hotter mornings, the bass tend to be a bit more sluggish out the gate, so don't put too much movement on the lures.

Top 3 sinking lures for early morning bass fishing.

Sometimes the habitat isn't ripe for a solid topwater bite. That's okay, because, in your tacklebox, you should also have some divers on hand. Here are the lures we've had the most luck with when it comes to sinking lures.

Jerk baits for bass.

  • Ideal in clear water when bass are active
  • Erratic side-to-side movement
  • Mimics wounded fish

Another good option is the jerk bait. It's one of the best-performing sinking lures on the market today, and it can be effective early morning when you're trying to target active fish near the surface.

One of the best jerk baits you can find is the Shimano. These come in several colors and double treble hooks so when a bass strikes, he's not getting away. These are great for both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.

Shimano Jerk Baits for Bass Fishing

Crank baits for bass.

  • Suitable for varying depths
  • Diving lip for mimicking swimming baitfish
  • Effective in deeper water

If you want to try deeper depths for more active bass when you're doing some summer bass fishing, consider throwing a deep diving crankbait like Strike King's 10XD.

This lure is designed for deeper depths and can be retrieved slowly to draw in some big bites.

Plastic worms for bass.

  • Versatile in any conditions
  • Multiple rigging options
  • Mimics a variety of prey

There's something about soft plastic worms that a hungry bass can't resist, especially in the early morning. If you're looking for a reliable lure that can get you some good action in low-light conditions, a plastic worm is always a great option.

When you're fishing in murkier water, try using a lighter-colored plastic worm to make it stand out a bit. Even if you're not an avid angler, you'll still catch plenty of bass using plastic worms.

When is it better to use sinking lures over topwater lures?

When fishing for bass, one of the primary factors is the water temperature. Bass generally prefer water temperatures around 70°F to 75°F.

Of course, this isn't a hard and fast rule, but if the shallow water is much warmer than that, then the big bass are going to head to the deeper water, where it's a bit cooler.

With that, if you're trying to catch fish - especially largemouth bass - on a really hot morning, then your best bet may be to use a sinking lure like a buzz bait or jerk bait. These lures will get down deep enough to where the fish are biting, and you'll be able to draw in more active strikes from bigger bass.

Bass love their structures, so even if you fish deep, try to find an area with good structures like weed beds, sunken logs, or rocks so you're more likely to draw in strikes.

Topwater Lure from Fish Perspective

Tips for catching tons of bass in the morning.

Obviously, you want yourself a trophy bass. We all do. So with that, we've put together a few tips to help you land more bass early in the morning.

Mix up your retrieves and lures.

Don't be afraid to mix up your retrieves and switch lures often until you find what the fish are responding to. If topwater isn't working, try a sinking lure or vice versa. As we mentioned, bass enjoy a specific water temperature, and most anglers aren't equipped to measure the water temperature at deeper depths. So you'll have to try various lures to see where the big fish are biting.

Monitor the weather.

Just because you don't have to work Saturday doesn't mean that is the best day for fishing. You'll want to monitor the weather patterns to see when the conditions are ripe for a good catch. When there is a cold front coming in, you'll be more successful because bass are drawn to cover and structures as the barometer changes.

Target the weed beds.

Third, target thick weed beds, as these are prime spots for big bass because they provide a lot of hiding places and shade from the sun's rays. Also, keep an eye out for structures like logs or rocks, as these can also act as great hideouts for the bass.

Beat the daylight.

If you're going for an early morning bite, we recommend beating the daylight. Get out on the lake while it's still dark so you can have your lines in the water as the sun is coming up. Depending on the weather and temperature, this is a perfect time to cast lures near the shore.

FAQs for Morning Bass Fishing

We've put together a brief FAQ with some of the most pressing questions we receive about fishing for bass in the early morning. Whether you're looking to do some finesse fishing in the early spring or hitting the early morning water in the early summer, you have questions, and we have answers.

What is the best time to go morning bass fishing?

Without a doubt, early morning bass fishing is by far the best time to target bass. As the sun is coming up, and the water is still fairly cool, the big fish come out of their hiding places in search of food.

What are the best bass baits to use in the morning?

Many anglers swear by topwater lures such as buzz baits or poppers because they create a lot of noise and movement to attract active bass. Other good options include jerk baits and deep-diving crankbaits that can be retrieved slowly to draw in bigger bites. Remember, your goal is to mimic the types of prey that bass targets in the morning.

What kind of structures should I be looking for when early morning bass fishing?

When casting your lines in the water, make sure you're targeting areas with weed beds or other structures like logs or rocks so you can draw in more strikes. Bass love their structures, so it's important to keep an eye out for these prime feeding spots.

How to find the best spots for morning bass fishing? 

The two biggest things to consider are structure and water temperature. When you're looking for the best spots, try to find areas with thick weed beds or sunken logs and rocks. You'll also want to pay attention to the temperature of the water, as this can determine how deep the fish are biting. So if the water temperature is warmer, you'll want to find deeper structures. You may need a boat or fish from a bridge to get to the depths you need to get.

What time in the morning is best to fish for bass?

Our experts have had the best luck just as the sun is coming up, usually around 5 or 6 am. This is the time when the fish are most active and looking for food. Be sure to get out early and cast your lines as soon as possible so your lures are already there for when the bass come around.

Are bass shallow in the morning?

Most of the time, yes. The water is the coolest in the morning, so the bass tend to stay in shallower waters, but it is still important to look for structures and cover. Bigger bass usually like to hide out in deeper water, so don't be afraid of going a bit deeper if you need to.

Do bass bite topwater in the morning?

Absolutely! Topwater lures are one of the best options for catching bass in the morning, as they create a lot of noise and movement to attract active bass. Buzz baits, poppers, and jerk baits are all popular topwater lures for early-morning bass fishing. However, you'll want to experiment with different techniques depending on the weather and water temperature.

You're ready to catch bass with a morning bite!

So there you have it, all the best tips for catching bass in the morning. From selecting lures that mimic prey to targeting structures and weed beds, these strategies will help boost your success rate when fishing at dawn.

Remember to beat the daylight by getting out on the lake before sunrise so you can get your lines in early.

With a bit of patience and some practice, you'll be able to reel in some big catches with an early morning bite.

John Malcolm

John Malcolm

Expert Angler

John is a highly skilled angler with over two decades of experience and a passion that has led him to participate in numerous tournaments, including reeling in a remarkable 9lb bass on Lake Okeechobee. His dedication to fishing and willingness to share his expertise make him a respected ambassador for the angling community, inspiring others to appreciate the sport.