Bass are abounding.
The tacklebox overflows.
Aaaagh! The best bass lures?
My Haiku says it all.
With the myriad of bass lures available, it can be overwhelming when trying to decide which lures to use. And what makes it more complicated is that all lures work some of the time, and no lure works all of the time.
A lot depends on the local conditions, the skill of the angler and the time of year.
Truth is, bass are not that picky. The motto of the Largemouth Bass is: If it moves, eat it.
The main trick is to find the bass. But when you do, you need to use a bass fishing lure that is appropriate for those conditions. If bass are running deep, using a topwater lure will be futile. Likewise, if bass are in shallow structure and cover, using a deep-running crankbait will do nothing but get you hung up in cover.
There are no bass lures for largemouth bass that cover all situations. Here’s a rundown of the best bass fishing lures you can use, featuring my favorites.
- 1 Colors, Noise, Smell: What Makes The Best Bass Lure
- 2 Jigs: Probably The Best thing To Catch Bass With!
- 3 Plastic Worms: Versatile and Effective Lures
- 4 Spinnerbaits: Noisy Lures Perfect For Bass
- 5 Spinners: Frech vs Inline
- 6 My Diving baits Choices For Bass
- 7 Topwater Lures for Bass
- 8 Know Your Prey: Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass
- 9 Lures To Catch Bass Like a Pro!
Colors, Noise, Smell: What Makes The Best Bass Lure
Bass find their prey by sound, and when they get closer, sight. They also use smell to a lesser degree.
o lures that make noise, and look like something to eat are good choices. And to a Largemouth, anything moving might be something to eat, no matter what it looks like.
Lures can be broken down into 6 main categories. Which one to use use can depend on many factors such as time of year, weather, time of day, etc…
Why Lure Colors Don’t Matter For Bass
Colors are not as critical as a lot of people think.
Here’s why: As the depth increases, colors go away, starting with reds at around 14 ft., orange at 25ft., Yellow at 35 ft., and finally, greens at around 60 ft.
Beyond that, everything is in shades of dk blue, gray and black.
It is complicated and has to do with the frequencies of the colors not being able to penetrate the water. So contrast is more important than colors, such as stripes and dots.
You want the bass to be able to see your lure, not have it blend in with the background.
For fishing near the surface, you want darker colors, so they will silhouette against the sky from below.
ighter colors work better near the bottom in shallow water, so they stand out against the bottom from above.
In water deeper than 20 feet or so, color is irrelevant. In the shallows, the rule of thumb is lighter colors for darker water, and darker colors for lighter water.
Noisy Lures Will Attract Bass
Sound is a Largemouth Basses most important sense, because sound travels incredible distances underwater.
A bass can hear the blades of a spinner, or the clacking of a crawfish as it crawls along the bottom, from as far as 400 yards away.
At that distance, it may get mixed up in all the background noises, but they can hear it.
So lures with spinners, vibrating tails and bodies, or even BBs inside them will definitely attract Largemouth Bass.
Lure Smell Doesn’t Matter Much
Although bait stores make a good amount of money selling things like Smelly Jelly, and BaitMate scents to put on your lures, scientific studies have shown that bass are not particularly put off or attracted to smells of any kind.
They are not catfish, which are basically swimming noses and tongues.
Let’s now look at some of the most effective bass lure you can find.
Jigs: Probably The Best thing To Catch Bass With!
Most bass anglers agree that jigs are the #1 Go-To lure for bass, because they are one of the most versatile lures.
They can be cast out and just reeled in, bounced in with short hops, fished deep, or shallow, or even jigged vertically.
As you can see, a bass jig is just an alloy sinker cast around the head of a hook.
The eye of the hook is usually bent upwards at 90⁰ to facilitate vertical jigging, which is just dropping it straight down, then raising and lowering your rod top randomly at intervals.
At times, this is very effective, especially when you need to fish right into heavy cover.
Some of the more popular jigs are called Arkie Jigs.
They have a few stiff bristles angled up to help make the jig a little more weedless. Some tournament anglers swear by them.
I prefer marabou jigs in larger sizes, like ¼ oz., to ½ oz. for bass.
They are just a round jig head with soft, fluffy turkey marabou feathers tied behind the head, providing a seductive wavy action when retrieved.
They are also easy to make and tie yourself, cheap.
Everyone has their preferences. Experiment until you find what you like.
You hook soft plastic bodies, such as Sassy Shads and Lil Fishes, to create a hybrid lure that has the appeal of jigs with the advantage of vibration and noise from the swimming body. The best of both worlds.
Others like to tip a jig with Pork Rinds (not the kind in the bag that you eat), cut in shapes like frog legs or baitfish.
You can also tip a jig with dead minnows to make them seem alive.
Plastic Worms: Versatile and Effective Lures
In my opinion, plastic worms the absolute #1 lure if you want to catch bass anywhere, anytime.
Good examples of this lure are Creme, Zoom, and Senko.
If I could only have one lure for bass to fish with for the rest of my life, I’d go for a soft plastic worm!
Rigged Texas-Style, they are as weedless as a lure can be made.
With a Carolina rig, worms can be fished with finesse to attract finicky bass in winter, Rigged Wacky-Style, they can drive any bass into a murderous frenzy.
And rigged on a Drop-Shot line, they can catch bass even when they are at crash-depth, even in very deep water.
Plastic worms, and other creatures, are best fished directly in cover and structure. The slower you retrieve them, the better.
Use short twitches and take in the slack. When using a Drop Shot Rig, allow the sinker to stay in contact with the bottom and keep a tight line.
Just lower your rod top every so often to give the worm a little movement. Try not to move the sinker. Always keep a tight line, especially on the drop, because a lot of strikes happen as it falls.
When you feel a twitch, or the worm stops dropping, set the hook just a bit faster than instantly, because a Largemouth Bass can spit out a worm in the blink of an eye.
And set the hook hard. If you land the bass and its eyes are crossed, you did it just about right.
Spinnerbaits: Noisy Lures Perfect For Bass
A spinnerbait is pretty much just a jig with a skirt tied on, and a wire extension from the hook eye with one or more blades, spinners or propellers.
Spinnerbaits have all the advantages of a jig, plus the added attraction of creating a lot of sound and vibration, making them a hybrid lure.
Although they can be fished just like a jig, the most common way to fish these is to cast them beyond cover in shallow water and just reel them in, just fast enough for the blades to vibrate.
You want to reel them just under the surface, preferably close enough for the blades to create a disturbance on the surface, without actually breaking the surface. Largemouth Bass strike these viciously, so be prepared.
Many people are convinced these are the best lure for Largemouth Bass, and fish with little else.
Spinners: Frech vs Inline
Spinners are another one of my favorites.
There are two main types:
- The French Spinner, like the Mepps Aglia and Rooster Tail.
- The Inline Spinner, like the Panther-Martin.
Each style has its die-hard fans and a lot of anglers fish with them exclusively.
Spinners catch anything that swims in freshwater, and maybe even in saltwater. In larger sizes, they catch salmon, pike, muskellunge, striped bass.
Medium sizes catch large bass of all species, and crappie. Small sizes catch crappie, sunfish and trout.
For Largemouth Bass, I recommend at least the ¼ oz. size, and the ½ oz. isn’t really too large.
You can fish these like a jig, but the best method is to figure out how deep the bass are, cast the spinner out, and count, “ 1 Apple, 2 Apple, 3 Apple, and so on, until it gets down to where you want it.
Keep slack out of the line as it sinks because a lot of strikes will be as it descends
If this happens, remember where you were on the count so you can be ready on the next cast. Each count will be approximately 1 foot.
When you reach your depth, just reel in, only fast enough to make the blade spin. You will feel it when it spins. If it gets stuck, just give it a sharp tug and it will start spinning.
Since it has treble hooks, you can’t cast directly into cover. Cast beyond the cover and reel it past, as close as you can to the structure.
My Diving baits Choices For Bass
There are dozens of diving baits for bass fishing.
Good examples are diving crankbaits, Rebel Minnows, Flatfish, and Rapalas.
Some float, then dive on the retrieve, and some just sink and wiggle on the retrieve.
The floating-diving ones will float back up when you stop reeling in, making them very versatile.
They are easy to fish with. You just cast out beyond where you think the bass are, reel in, either steadily, or stop-and-go with the floating-diving ones, and be ready for some murderous strikes.
The body shapes make them wiggle violently, creating a veritable din of noise and vibration. Sometimes I think the bass hit just to get them to shut up.
Some have lips, some don’t. The lips make them dive at a steeper angle. It just depends on what you want them to do.
Topwater Lures for Bass
The most fun way to catch bass, outside of fly fishing, which is another subject.
Like the name suggests, these lures float, and you have to twitch, pop, or reel them to give them some action.
Good examples are the Jitterbug, Devil’s Horse, and the Crazy Crawler.
Know Your Prey: Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass
Largemouth and Smallmouth bass are very similar in appearance and habits..
The main difference between Smallmouth and Largemouth Black bass is their habitats.
Smallmouths like clear water with rocky bottoms and a little current, mostly in rivers and streams, and some lakes.
Largemouths like slow, warm water that is a little murky, with lots of cover and structure, mostly in lakes and large rivers.
Their habitats sometimes overlap.
The easiest way to tell them apart is to look at the mouth. On a Largemouth, the rear of the mouth extends even with or beyond the eye.
On a smallmouth, the rear of the mouth only extends to the middle of the eye.
Largemouths like larger food, and will attempt to eat anything they think they can fit into their mouths, including ducks, otters, small beavers, snakes, etc… The only criteria is that it has to be moving. Bass are not scavengers.
For most of the time, Largemouth Bass are solitary.
They only school at spawning times and seasonal changes, and only for brief periods. You will seldom find Largemouths in open water. They will always be near some kind of cover or structure, whether is is a drop-off, old creek bed, sunken timber, lily pads, and such.
Largemouth Bass do not like direct sunlight, and will look for shade and/or deeper water when the sun is out in summer. During the day in summer the big bass will be in deeper water, in excess of 15’, looking for a comfortable temperature and oxygen content.
In the early morning, evening, and night, they cruise the shallows, near structure and cover, looking for things to eat. In winter, they will be deep most of the time. Use smaller lures in winter and fish them slower.
Largemouth Bass spawn in spring, and will strike at anything you throw at them. Look for them in shallows with mud or clay bottoms where they can build nests.
Summer during the day, go deep and look for drop-offs, creek beds, weedbeds, sunken trees, old cars, anything they can hide near.
In the mornings, evenings and night, look for them in the shallows, near cover.
In fall they will be shallow and gorging for the winter. In winter, they will be deep and do not move much, so the lure must pass pretty close to them to get them to strike. But strike, they do.
Lures To Catch Bass Like a Pro!
Some have a cupped front that makes a loud “chug” sound when twitched sharply. Others swim like Johnny Weismiller…
The way to fish these is to cast them beyond where you think the bass are, then let it set until the ripples are all gone, about 30 seconds or so, and be ready because this is when you get a strike most of the time. If nothing happens, give it a little twitch ever so often and move it about 6 inches closer.
Take up the slack line, and let it sit.
Do this until you have retrieved it, then repeat. Strikes will be explosive and heart-stopping, sometimes with the bass coming completely out of the water.
These are just basic tips to get you started. The rest you have to learn on the water. Good luck, and good fishing….