Tie on a Berkley Frittside

The Berkley Frittside is a great bass lure to use this time of year. (Picture by David Fritts)

Several years ago, I finished helping design a series of crankbaits for Pure Fishing’s Berkley brand. You know them as Frittsides. I think I can say, looking back, that they have been some of the best new baits to hit the bass-fishing market in a decade. I really think they have sort of replaced the Shad Rap as the baits to fish in colder water.

And they produce better in March than any other month. They will fool good numbers of fish, and they’ll fool some really big ‘uns. And I believe that March is the best month in the Carolinas to catch a truly big bass – largemouth, spot or smallmouth.

What’s left? Well, which one to fish, and where to fish them.

Berkley has five Frittsides on tackle shop shelves these days, from small to large, shallow-diving to deep-diving: the No. 5, the No. 7, the No. 9 and two versions of the No. 5, the No. 5 Junior and No. 5 Biggun’.

But there’s more to these baits than just their size, or how deep they dive. Basically, the No. 5 Junior will run about 3 feet deep, the No. 5 about 4 feet deep, and the No. 5 Biggun’ about 6 feet deep. The No. 7 runs about 7 to 8 feet deep, and the No. 9 will run 9 or 10 feet deep. But these baits have different actions that are better under different circumstances.

So here we go. The No. 5 Junior and No. 5 both have crawdad actions, a long, side-to-side, rocking action. The No. 5 Biggun’ has more of a gliding action – like a Speed Shad – which is a baitfish action. The No. 7 and No. 9 have a side-to-side action, but it’s kind of a twist. The back end doesn’t run to the right while the front end is running to the left. And big fish love that action.

March is truly a Frittside month; they’re just about the only baits I’ll use, except for an occasional lipless crankbait. What I use depends on water clarity and temperature, when the temperature is rising or whether it’s stable.

For more info, click here.

What works?

The closer the water temperature is to 50 degrees, the better a bait with a crawdad action is going to be, so I’m probably going to have a lot of No. 5 Juniors and No. 5s tied on. As the water temperature gets into the mid-50s to high 50s, the baitfish action will probably attract more fish, so I’m probably going to have No. 5 Biggun’s tied on. I don’t know why the crawfish action does better when the water is cold, or why when it’s warmer and when the fish get more aggressive, they key more on baitfish.

A little local knowledge goes into this. On certain lakes in the Carolinas, the crawfish action produces better, and on some, the shad action is better. If you’re fishing in March on Lake Wylie, sometimes the shad action is better in that colder water. And if you’re fishing one of the lakes in the mountains that has smallmouth bass, they really go for that No. 5 Junior action – that bait is a real smallmouth killer.

Mix it up

You can cover all bases by having a bunch of different Frittsides tied on.

Depending on which bait you choose – when you match the water clarity, depth and temperature – you are going in different directions as far as colors. If you’re in cold water fishing the No. 5 Junior and No. 5, the red craw and ghost red craw colors are excellent. If you’re fishing the No. 5 Biggun, the No. 7 or the No. 9, you’re going with baitfish colors. My favorites are Kentucky blue, ghost morning dawn, honey shad and Lone Ranger.

I fish them, most of the time, with just a medium retrieve. My Lew’s reel gets 21 inches of line in with each turn of the handle. If you can make ‘em bite when you are moving it very slowly, you’ll catch everyone that bites. If you have to really blister it to make ‘em bite, you’ll lose 40% of the ones you hook, because they won’t get it in their mouth as deep.

Normally, I’m going to throw the No. 5 baits on my 6-foot-8 or 7-foot Lew’s cranking rod. If I’m in open water and throwing the No. 7 or No. 9, I’ll throw it on the 7-foot or 7-foot-6 cranking rod. You want a Lew’s BB-1 reel with as slow a retrieve as you can find.

Before we leave which bait to fish, let me inject this. You hear all about the big national tournaments that are being won on the No. 5s, but the No. 7 is one of the best-kept secrets. I hear from a lot of guys who tell me they’ve won using a No. 7 but aren’t telling anybody, because they don’t want to let the secret out. My secret is a No. 9. Most every day I fish in March, I’m going to catch a big fish that hasn’t moved up yet on a No. 9.

Where do you find March bass? A lot of fish overwinter back in the creeks, probably because you’ve got warmer runoff back there. That’s where they’ll bite first. When I put in, I’m going to start halfway back in a creek and work up. A little later in March, fish on the main lake will come up and the fishing will be better there. For example, on my home lake, High Rock, I start halfway back in Flat Swamp Creek and work back. But a week or two later, they’ll be biting around the mouth of the creek or on the main lake.

It doesn’t matter if  you fish up or down the lake. You just want to be in clearer water. Don’t fish any filthy water.

Okay, I mentioned a lipless crankbait. You fish them when the water temperature is in the 50s, when fish are starting to get up on the flats. Once they move up and the water temperature gets a little more stable, they’ll start chasing. They’ll still be close to ditches or deeper water, but they’ve clearly moved up. That’s when I’ll throw a lipless crankbait like a War Pig – most of the time in shad colors. I’ve always thought blue colors have been best when it comes to lipless crankbaits.

Find clear water:

One of the biggest factors for bass anglers to consider this month is water clarity. Finding the clearest water available on the water you’re fishing is one key to success that can’t be overlooked.

Fore more info, click here.

About David Fritts 127 Articles
David Fritts is a 61-year-old pro bass fisherman from Lexington, N.C. He won the 1993 Bassmasters Classic champion and the 1997 FLW Tour Championship, and he was the 1994 BASS Angler of the Year. He is sponsored by Ranger boats, Evinrude outboards, Lew’s, Minnkota,and Berkley.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply