For those anglers that have caught a severe case of the “bassin’ bug,” deciding on what lures and baits to choose can be a complicated and difficult decision. Breaking down the collection of baits into five significant and productive types will help all those new to bass fishing get a better handle on what to throw a largemouth’s way.
Stock your tackle box up with each of the following lures and watch how simplified the bassin’ game can be and how your success rate will seemingly skyrocket.
The plastic worm is one of the oldest and most productive baits to ever hit the market. Quite simply, this bait catches bass. Although they can be found in a variety of lengths, colours and body types, my suggestion is to begin with an assortment of baits in the six to eight-inch length. Of these, choose a few basic colours, including black, purple and crawfish, in both a curly tail and paddle tail style. Hooks can be purchased in a variety of sizes, although the range of 4/0 to 6/0 will generally cover all applications. Finally, an assortment of worm weights should be chosen to complement the worm and hook.
Plastic worms are an outstanding bait because they can be fished in so many different ways. Carolina rigged, weightless and wacky are just some of the ways that they can be used, and learning each of these techniques will enable you to cover all types of water conditions that you are faced with. If you are fishing water that is predominantly weedy, a worm rigged “Texas-style” (weedless), will be your best bet.
A spinnerbait is a great addition to any bass anglers bag of tricks due to its ease of use and the aggressive strikes it produces. Spinnerbaits come in a variety of sizes and shapes, with three main blade designs. Willow Leaf, Colorado and Indiana style blades should all be represented in your collection, in a variety of colours and weights. 3/8 oz. and ½ oz. sizes are the two most popular weights on the market, with white, black, chartreuse and silver/blue being great starting colours.
Spinnerbaits can be fished fast or slow, buzzed on the surface or fluttered into weed pockets. The versatility and relative weedlessness is what makes this a great bait for lunker bass. A key point to remember is to always attach a stinger hook to your bait when fishing in relatively weed-free water. The stinger hook will help in catching fish that strike short on the bait or those that the main hook did not penetrate.
Topwater baits are an exhilarating and heart-stopping tactic for active largemouth bass. The sheer thrill of seeing an explosive strike on the surface of the water is one that no other bait can reproduce. There are tons of topwater baits on the market that are designed to catch bass, yet the decision can be simplified by selecting a few of the top choices. Start with a collection of buzzbaits, poppers and “walk-the-dog” models. These three types will cover most conditions you will face and will help in learning the basics of throwing topwaters.
Some top brands on the market for these styles of baits are Strike King Buzzbaits, Excalibur Pop-R and the famous Zara Spook. Buzzbaits are ideal for weedy conditions, especially around slop and lily pads, while the other two are great for throwing around docks and open-water situations.
Jig and Pig
This rates as one of my all-time favourite baits for big bucketmouths. The jig and pig is comprised of a skirted jig with a weed guard coupled with either a pork or plastic trailer on the hook. This trailer can take the shape of such things as a frog, crawfish or lizard.
Choose a few jigs in assorted sizes and a bunch of trailers in different styles and colours. A few popular colours for jigs and trailers are black, black/blue, pumpkin and black/red.
The jig and pig really shines when it comes to close-contact fishing in heavy cover. Toss this bait under docks, along trees or undercut banks and wait for that hiding hog to take a swipe. It can also be used along deep weedlines and on weed pockets you will find on the flats.
A crankbait is designed to mimic a minnow in the water, and the new designs and models on the market have really improved over the years. When it comes to choosing crankbaits for the tackle box, I feel that carrying a varied assortment will be the best key to success. Stock up on such things as shallow divers, deep divers, lipless cranks and suspending cranks. Largemouth predominantly feed on short, stubby minnows in the wild, so mimicking this style will definitely work to your advantage.
Colours can be overwhelming when walking into a tackle store, although picking out a few basics will help simplify the matter. Shiner, perch, chartreuse and crawfish patterns are a good place to start and will help in covering any conditions you are faced with. One last point to remember – ensure that your cranks come with high quality trebles. If not, replace them with either Excaliburs or Owner hooks for better hooking capabilities.
Bass fishing can be a complex endeavor when dealing with all the types of baits found on the market. Sticking with the basics baits I’ve discussed here will get you started out right in the game of bassin’. Experiment and discover what lures work best and when, and watch as your largemouth expertise rises in leaps and bounds.
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