Cole Sands’ prespawn lipless crankbait tacklebox

Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Cole Sands reached the top of the sport by fishing all levels of B.A.S.S. competition. The Tennessean began at the high school level and won a Bassmaster College National Championship while at Bryan College. 
Sands qualified for the Elite Series through the St. Croix Bassmaster Opens while guiding on Chickamauga Lake to further hone his skills. Growing up on the lake, he developed lipless crankbait skills that are ideal for using anywhere during the prespawn. 
“Versatility is what makes lipless crankbaits so good in the early spring,” he said. “It’s a bait with a natural fall, which is key in colder water when the bass are more lethargic.” 
Sands favors the Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe, for its natural, downward swimming action on the fall at the rate of 1 foot per second. He also believes colors are important for springtime fishing, when bass are actively feeding prior to spawning. Here are his favorite color choices. 
First, the Rattl’n craw comes in three sizes, and Sands’ all-around choice is the 2 1/2-inch model weighing 5/8 ounce. The bait is available with round bend black nickel hooks and available in holographic, painted, matte or translucent finishes and 30 colors.
Matte Crawfish
“The matte crawfish is not glossy and looks more natural than what other anglers might be throwing in pressured situations,” he said. “This color and finish are perfect for throwing around grassbeds when the fish are in the prespawn transition, migrating through the creeks to spawn,” Sands said. “It rips through grass really well and creates a reaction bite.” 
Gold Black
“I like this bait for black, tannic water like you find in Florida,” Sands said. “Internal steel balls for longer casts and louder rattling make it good for covering water.”
Royal Purple Shad
“It’s a good change-up color, when others are throwing the textbook shad or red colors, it gives the bass a different look,” he said. 
Citrus Shad
“This is my go-to color for stained water in a spring rain runoff situations,” Sands said. “A key application is where a warmer runoff in shallow water attracts prespawn bass.” 
Ghost Bluegill
“In thicker grass I like to downsize to a 3/8-ounce size, because it just gets through it better,” Sands said. “I choose this translucent color that matches small bluegill when the bass are feeding on them.”