Bass Lures come in every shape, color, and size. From topwater frogs to bottom crawlers, and everything in between; it can be mind-boggling! Even as you advance your knowledge, new lures come on the market that outshines the previous, leaving you wondering what lure is best. But, there are baits you can sling that are perfect for beginners and professionals alike. They also happen to be the foundation of bass fishing because they are the easiest to fish!
1. Top Water Frog
Bass are the ultimate predators. You can bet where there is bass, other fish don’t stand a chance. The same goes for topwater critters like frogs, small birds, bats, insects, snakes, mice, rats, fleeing baitfish. This is why topwater lures are so imperative, especially in the early morning and evening and as the water temperatures rise. This also is why top waters are some of the best bass lures for summer.
Frog fishing is a specific time-and-place style of dangling. Desirable conditions would include warm weather, heavy surface vegetation -and preferably – lower light conditions. For this reason, you should fish a frog in the evening or early morning. Some awesome brands out there include;
- Strike King Sexy Hollow Body Frog
- Googan Squad Filthy Frog
- Stanley Jigs Ribbit
How to fish them;
Fishing a frog can be both easy and fun. In fact, many bass fishermen have reported that topwater fishing is the most rewarding; There’s something gratifying and more engaging. So, if you decide to hit the surface, remember the forementioned conditions – warm weather, lower light, and heavy topwater cover; all of this being the perfect habitat for bass feeding upward. The scummier, the better. So, lots of green cover with dotted openings and submerged grass and green everywhere is perfect.
Also, when you fish a frog, consider it a “target lure.” Choose a piece of target cover and aim for it. Let your frog settle for a moment and begin your retrieve. You can also cast directly onto vegetation and drag the frog off into the water, giving a more natural presentation.
Frogs are weedless, allowing you to glide over surface cover and displace water. Moreover, they serve as amazing search baits. On a lake or a pond with endless yards of submerged grass and topwater pollen and algae, you can use a frog to get a sense of where the fish are. Even if you don’t receive a bite ( blow up), you may see a swirl behind your frog, indicating that the fish are there.
Frog Fishing Tackle
It’s important to remember where you are fishing – thick, heavy cover on the surface with vegetation beneath. For this reason, a heavier line selection is required. Most anglers use a heavy braided line ( 40-60 lb) on a 7′ heavy rod. Although, with a braided line, you’ll experience a great deal of power alone, which allows you to drop to a medium heavy.
Frog fishing is a target sport so aim toward isolated grass clumps. These are hot spots for bass.
2.) Bass Lures: Swim Baits
Moving down the water column, swimbaits are a deadly transition. As a search bait, swimbaits cover water fast and have a versatile range of applications. However, the selection is overwhelming. Swimbaits range from hard-bodied to soft plastic, jointed, paddle-tailed, hollow-bodied, solid-bodied – Some are large, some are small. Some float, others will suspend. Long. Short. Bulky. Slim. It’s overwhelming already!
But, do yourself a favor and stick to the following selection;
- Keitech Easy Shinner (paddle tailed )
- Big Hammer 7″
- Live Target Slow Roll Shinner
- Chatter Baits
All four are easy to fish for beginners, and each has a unique action.
Ranging from 2″ to 8″, this swimbait can be retrieved straight, on the surface, or slow-rolled along the bottom while producing a wobbling action. This versatility allows you to reach the fish at any depth. This technique is effective on lakes that produce shad, crappie, and bluegill, and believe me, bass smash them up!
Big Hammer 7″ is also a fantastic swimbait for both fresh and saltwater. Like the Keitech, this lure is a paddle-tailed lure, which produces a tail wag action, and can be fitted with a Big Hammer jig-head hook. I’m a huge fan of the body style of these baits; they’re bulkier and present an irresistible meal to bass in the fall looking to bulk up.
Live target developed the slow-rolling shinner to imitate the body detail of a shinner, shad, or minnow, and the appearance is pretty cutting edge! They’re also great trolling lures using a Gamakatsu Spinner Swimbait Hook (pictured below).
Chatter baits are a newcomer to the game also but equally as deadly. Many anglers use these almost exclusively under the right conditions. Similar to other swim-baits, chatter baits can be used on the bottom, middle, and top of the water column with a percussion blade fashioned to the head, and a jig-like skirt that calls out for attention.
The blade atop the head produces a chattering (almost a clicking), which in turn sends out a vibration to the fish. Additionally, chatter baits require a swim-bait trailer for full action. This is where the chatter bait outshines other swimbaits, its a lethal marriage of sound and spunk.
Some awesome brands include;
- Phoenix Stand Up Wobble Jig
How to fish them;
Like any moving bait, the earlier in the day, the better. Bass are active in the mornings and evenings so practice where you think there might be baitfish and practice all three retrieval types.
One great feature of the chatter bait is that you can swim it virtually anywhere; skip it around docks, through grass, thumped along rocks, grass humps, flats, you name it.
Final Thoughts On Swim Baits
It’s a fact, bass eat other fish, a lot! In response, every angler should have a box of swimbaits ready to go. When those fish are schooling, feeding at the bottom, or patrolling the shoreline, why not feed them what they want?
Alternate retrieval patterns from fast to slow. Try bringing your bait close to the bottom and make contact, then raise your rod tip and retrieve. These pattern changes have the potential to trigger wary fish.
3.) Bass Lures: Jigs
When it comes to bass fishing, the jig is by far the most important lure to have in your box. However, as you would imagine, there’s an array of them out there! So, keep it simple.
Go with the three main types;
Generally, casting jigs are all-purpose and designed with a specialized head that keeps them off the bottom. Because of their all-purpose nature, they’re great beginner jigs.
These jigs are designed with a heavy weed guard and a large gauge hook. The idea is to cast (flip) into heavy covers like downed trees and brush piles.
Swim jigs are more exciting as you can swim these jigs through cover, and they require less patience and attention because you’ll notice the immediate bite.
Jigs are designed mostly to resemble a crawfish. For this reason, you should use a crawfish trailer. But, how do you know which trailer to use?
Simple – action vs less action. In many cases, bass will be lethargic. In these conditions, less action is best. I like to go with a Craw Chunk or Googan Crakin Craw. Don’t get me wrong! These baits are dynamite, but they produce less action than the Rage Craw ( pictured below), which will entice a slower bass to bite. Conditions, where you may find slower bass would be late afternoon and winter, but they’re still catchable!
Bass will often drawback into shaded areas like overhangs and around structures during mid to late afternoon. In winter, they’ll retreat to the deepest points of the lake and sometimes up shallow on a ledge but close enough to deep water to make an escape. It’s not uncommon for a fish to sit on the bottom and not move an inch during this time, which is why a bottom lure like a jig is so effective at a slower speed.
Craw trailers that produce more action – or flailing action- would be the Rage Craw. You’ll see the difference when pulled along the bottom. The appendages flail around “creating a scene.”
How to fish them;
Cast your jig out and let it fall to the bottom. Once on the bottom, give it a second, especially if you’re around cover – you may have drawn out a fish and that beast is now facing to face with your jig! Begin by slowly dragging the jig along the bottom by raising your rod tip slowly up, as you create a dredging action. As you pull that jig along, the appendages on the craw trailer will slowly kick, adding life to the presentation. Another technique is to hop the jig along the bottom using a hop-hop-pause retrieve. And that’s it! You’ve mastered the jig!
After you cast out, let your jig remain still on the bottom. Real in your slack and wait for 10-20 seconds. It’s not uncommon for bass to strike a target while it remains motionless, so stay aware of any thumps or line jumps.
4.) Bass Lures: Stick Baits
The easiest and often most enticing presentation is a stick bait. Perfect for beginners, it can be fished in the shade, in the grass, and around spawning beds., and everywhere in between! There are many ways to rig these baits, but the simplest is a wacky rig. This rigging style also produces the best action. So, what are some good stick baits?
- Gary Yamamoto Senko
Yamamoto Senkos have a cool design that allows the bait to fall with a natural presentation and a slight flutter on the tips. It achieves this with an infusion of salt, which you’ll notice as your roll the bait in your hand. They really are the top-of-the-line baits you need for your tackle box!
Additionally, Yamamoto Senkos can be fished Texas rigged, wacky, ned rigged, and weedless. Although, weightless tends to summon the most stikes.
How to fish them;
As a beginner, its best to go with the wacky rig style. This almost guarantees a catch when fished in the right conditions, particularly for slower fish. Using this method is also beneficial when fishing around grass, as you rarely will snag.
When bed fishing, seek out a bed and begin dropping your Senko into the territory. Allow the bait time to sit motionless ( dead stick), and wait for bites.
One method of doing so is to watch your line for movement. If no action occurs, try giving it a few pops by raising your rod tip. Again, let it sit motionlessly. This presentation is dynamite for bass on their beds, as it presents a manageable, slow-moving meal and an intruder into their nest.
Cast onto shore and drag your worm down into the water. This eliminates the chance of dropping that lure right on a fishs’ head, spooking them.
5.) Bass Lures: Bullet Spinners
You probably didn’t expect this one. But, bullet spinners like the Blue Fox Spinners are impressive lures for largemouth bass. When fished in low light conditions – cloudy skies, early morning and evening- you’ll achieve a similar effect as a bladed spinner.
How to fish them;
Cast out, retrieve, repeat. This is why it’s perfect for beginners. However, there is no weed guard, no weedless rigging, no single, upward-pointed hook, thus snags are a problem when retrieving near cover. But overall, the compact body of this bass lure presents a juicy opportunity for active fish.
6.) Lipless Crank Bait
Versatile. Easy. Fun. That’s how I’d describe a lipless crank. There are some slightly advanced ways to fish it, but straight retrieve tends to get the most bites. You can fish them over grass, near cover, and they dominant in the spring!
How to fish them;
Determine your optimal depth. Allow your crank to sink 1 foot per second and begin retrieving through the mid-water column. The built-in rattle system of this lure will call out to fish nearby either as an attractant or an annoyance.
Lipless Crank Colors
Shad patterns are always a must. Some awesome brands and colors;
- Strike King Red Eyed Shad
- Lucky Craft LV 500
- SPRO wameku shad 70
Again, these lures dominate in the Spring. My color of choice tends to be a craw color like Strike King Red-Eyed Chili Craw. I’ll burn it through the shallows and try to create directional changes. The erratic swim patterns, especially through cover, is what fire bass up.
Raise your rod tip up and let the bait fall. After letting it fall, raise your rod tip again. Ss it falls, your lure will flutter like an injured baitfish, as you raise, you will achieve a fast, rattling flee. This whole action presents a baitfish in distress.
7.) Square Bill
Are you in need of an awesome moving bait for summer? Check out the square bill crankbait! Much like a lipless crank, you can fish these lures shallow. For beginners, fish at the 3-4 ft diving depth and try to bring your lure across the bottom structure. If possible, try to deflect your crank off of rocks. This is what attracts bass; those fast, directional changes, and the abrupt sound. But, keep it simple if you’re new, and cast out and retrieve straight to practice.
Other Ways to fish them;
- Allow for intermittent pauses. This will trigger fish to strike.
- Fish it fast ( burn it) past structure and try knocking it around on rocks.
8.) Bass Lures: Drop Shot
When everything slows down, either in winter or in the mid-day heat, a drop shot becomes a versatile, all-in-one, finesse bait to call out those wary fish.
Fishing a drop shot requires patients. Remember, the bite has died. So, your job is to place a small, slow-moving object in front of them.
Why Use A Drop-Shot?
This is an extremely productive fishing rig. The action that a soft plastic produces on a drop-shot appears more natural as it’s partially weightless. Additionally, you’ll place your bait within close range of the fish. In winter, this will produce large bass.
The Robo Worm
You can find these in almost every tackle retailer in the country. When fishing this setup, use light action to pop the tip of your rod up and down gently, keeping your weight on – or as close – to the bottom as you can. The action that a drop-shot produces is unrivaled to other baits and will trigger bites from lethargic fish, as it presents a greater opportunity to feed.
Drop Shot Tackle
A lighter tackle is best for using a drop shot. Use a 6-8lb fluorocarbon line with a 3/8 oz drop-shot weight on a spinning rod. As far as soft plastics go, you can rig almost anything – creature baits, trick-worms, speed craws. But, the best performing lure, by far, is the Robo Worm.
9.) Bass Lures: Spinners
Willow-leaf and Colorado Spinners are the two best options, and if you’re looking to bulk up your presentation and add versatility, these spinners are you’re go-to. And even better, they’re simple to use! Just cast and retrieve and wait for a giant bite! They create the illusion of a large profile baitfish. Thus, they work best in low light conditions, and especially where the baitfish are.
How to fish them;
Fish it when the bass are active. This means early morning and evening. Try to find where baitfish might be schooling, or even better, when shad are spawning up shallow. Scan the surface of your lake or reservoir for boils, minnows jumping, and topwater action, and let it rip!
This is a lure you can retrieve high and low in the water, roll it along the bottom, through lily pads and grass, and near hardcover.
Find baitfish. Cast out and burn it back along the surface – almost like a top-water.
10.) Bass Lures: Fluke Jerk baits
It’s a fact, predators eat fish. And when other reaction style baits fail, soft plastic flukes will get the job done. These lures can be fished on a drop-shot, weightless, and rigged weedless, to name a few. You can fish it fast, slow, fish it like topwater, on the bottom, the options are endless.
How to rig and fish them;
My favorite rigging style for this bait is a drop shot. Using a VMC spin shot hook, ill nose hook the fluke and pop it along the bottom. For beginners, this technique is easy and produces bites when the fish are slow. Other ways to fish it are twitching and pausing and burning it along the surface; both techniques imitate a panicked minnow.
A great product to check out is Zoom Flukes, white or silver shad. Try throwing these in any style rig in late fall and get ready for some awesome action.
11.) Bass Lures: Rapala Minnows
Some of the oldest and most effective lures on the market are Rapala minnows.
Some of the best Rapalas for bass are;
- Original floating silver color
- Husky Jerk
- Xrap Slash Baits
They are easy to fish and they catch fish of all sizes! I like to use larger Rapalas, usually size F11, when fishing for largemouth, and I’ll downsize to an F05-F09 for smallmouth. They can be fished slow, fast, twitched, and so on.
Best Rapala Colors
Any pattern that resembles shad, craw, or bluegill is dynamite for bass. I always study up on what lake, pond, or reservoir I’ll be fishing for the purpose of imitating baitfish. I also like to know if there is submerged grass and the water temperature. These should all give you an idea of what colors and sizes to go with.
How to fish them;
The beauty of Rapala is their simplicity; just cast and retrieve. As your experience grows, new, more advanced techniques will come to you. But, in the beginning, try to find baitfish schools, topwater action, or good-looking habitats like fallen trees, rock piles, and ledges, cast out, and retrieve slow. You’ll be amazed at how effective these bass lures are.
12.) Soft Plastic Worms
You’ll find great success fishing soft plastic worms. Like many baits, worms can be rigged in a number of ways. However, the most efficient is weedless. Using a texas rig with a 1/8 oz tungsten weight, you can drag this bait across the bottom, give it small pops, or dead stick it and wait for a bite. Some anglers will punch these baits into heavy grass, others will drag it along smooth bottoms, which results in everyone fishing these lures year-round. And best of all, they are perfect for beginners.
A great resource to check out is Roland Martin’s Outdoors.
Roland is a bass fishing legend and he simplifies lures and techniques for anyone to understand. Check out his youtube channel where he breaks down the basics of bank fishing, easy-to-learn lure techniques, and bass biology; all of this being perfect for beginners.
- Zoom Trick Worms
- Googan Slim Shake Worm
- Berkley Power Bait Worms
When fishing clear water and around vegetation, go with a pumpkin green worm, which is a natural color. As the water begins to stain due to runoff, go with darker colors such as Junebug, purple, or black.
13.) Bass Lures: Grubs
One of the easiest and most versatile lures you need as a beginner is the curl tail grub. As a bass lure, you’ll get bites from both large and smallmouths, crappie, bluegill, trout, and other freshwater species. Some of the best places to fish it are around docks and shallow-water vegetation.
There are several ways you can rig a curly tail grub – weedless, texas-rig – you can even use it as a jig trailer. But, the easiest way is with a 1/4 oz jig head.
How to fish them:
As always, find good cover like a dock, a weed-line, or grass, and hop it along the bottom or swim it straight along. These are great lures for beginners and particularly kids because they get a lot of bites.
Bass Lures: Final Thoughts
All in all, bass fishing isn’t rocket science – it’s fun, easy ( usually), and versatile. A trip to Bass Pro Shop can be overwhelming as you’ll be surrounded by dozens of brands of hooks, lures, lines, rods, and reels; all of them claiming to be the most effective fishing tackle. But, using a set of dependable baits like the ones above will help you remain grounded during the year. As new products are released with stellar marketing, you’ll always have a reliable set of baits that slay.