It's almost that time! Before we know it Bass will be moving in to their spawning beds but you don't have to wait that long to be able to catch them. There is no set "date" when fish start the pre-spawn staging process. What you need to do is pay attention to weather patterns and water temperatures. Once the temperatures start getting in the 48°-60° degree range you can start catching some good fish!
At this time of year here in the Midwest we should be having such an active pre-spawn yet, but we are. With the oddly mild winter the entire country seems to have had fish be about a month ahead of schedule. There are a few tips I can give you for locating some fish to catch tomorrow.
The first thing I can tell you is you want to find the warmest part of the lake. Most people swear by going to the North West corner of the lake this time of year. Most of the time this is true, but that's not the only place you will find fish. From my experience it's all about finding that nice shallow flat that is blocked from the wind and gets sunshine on it throughout most of the day. An area like this can be 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the lake and you can almost guarantee fish will come in and start filling up their bellies for the spawn. Pay close attention to flats with a drop off into deeper water very close by. Fish will move on and off of the flat pretty regularly throughout the day as conditions change. If you can find a spot where the sun has been hitting it for a couple days you should be able to find at least a couple of small males cruising around.
The time of day you fish also makes a difference for pre-spawn. Fish are not going to be as active in the morning as they will be in the afternoon after the sun has had a chance to warm up the water. Chris Lane who just won the Bassmaster Classic stuck to this and won because of fish he caught in the afternoon. Sometimes going all morning without one fish, but he knew the fish would move in to the shallow warmer water in order to spawn.
As far as lures go you will always hear the usual from everyone. Use a mid-depth crankbait, crawl a jig n pig across the bottom and of course in almost any condition throw a plastic worm. There is a reason people always say to use these lures. They work. I feel one seriously over looked lure in the pre-spawn is a jerkbait. My favorite is a Rapala XRap #6 (XR6). Fish really like to suspend shallow over deeper water this time of year. There is no better lure than a suspending jerkbait to catch them. What other lure can sit in front of a fishes face at 5ft deep in 15ft deep water? Personally the best retrieve I have found is two quick jerks and then a pause for 3-5 seconds. After the pause be ready on the next jerk because that's when the fish will be on it. Always remember to change up your retrieve before you give up on this lure. It could be something as simple as smaller twitches of the lure or a 2 second longer pause that will make the fish react.
If you run into the issue where you are only catching small male bass, which we have several times this year already, rest assured their bigger girlfriends are not far behind them. They are waiting for the males to feed and get the spawning beds ready. When you do find a group of small males go a little deeper and you will probably find the bigger females. For example I was catching small males in 3-5ft of water. Behind where I was catching these fish was a fairly quick drop off into 6-12ft deep water. So I decided there had to be bigger fish feeding in the deeper water waiting for the spawn. I changed up to a Rapala Shad Rap (SR7) that dives down to about 11ft. After a few casts I found the 3-5lb females. The water temperature had to be only in the high 40's that deep, but these fish are active and feeding! All you have to do is keep moving and make a lot of casts and you'll find these fish too.
Bass aren't as smart as some people make them out to be. There are certain things they are pre-programmed to do that they will always do. There will always be fish feeding when the ice is out and they are getting ready to spawn. I don't believe the key to success this time of year is being patient (Unless you are waiting out a spot for water to warm up in the afternoon). As an angler you need to move around and find these fish. When you do the payoff can be huge!