The most popular fishing done in North America is largemouth bass fishing. For years, sports television has presented endless shows on finding and catching the next big lunker. The fishing industry’s strongest segment caters to largemouth bass. Why is that? Well, they’re pound for pound one of the best fighting fish around. They’re located almost everywhere in North America and don’t require a big boat to reach. But what are the best lures for bass? We present to you some of our favorite lures to catch big largemouth. Starting with our Top 3, take a peak at our list and see if you have any of these in your tackle box.
Best Lures for Bass – Buzzbaits
My personal favorite bass lure, but not the most popular, is the buzzbait. What really got me excited about bass fishing is the absolute thrill watching a bass stalk and attack a bait on the surface. The buzzbait is a perfect topwater lure to see this unfold. Colors vary widely on buzzbaits, so try any you like. The old rule of thumb still works for buzzbaits, however, and that is light colors in stained, murky water and dark colors for clear water. Because buzzbaits are meant to work on the surface, they are also some of the best lures for bass in ponds. Not only does Booyah make terrific buzzbaits, but you may also consider Strike Kings’ Tri-Win Buzz King or the Terminator Super Tandem Buzzbait. You can find many others to choose from here.
How to Fish Buzzbaits
Buzzbaits require a little speed to get the blade spinning, so you shouldn’t expect to retrieve very slowly. However, you don’t want the buzzbait to rip on the surface either. I like to get the bait churning up the surface of the water while some top bass anglers like them swimming just below the surface. Everyone has a preference, but the real benefit to the buzzbait is that you can cover a lot of water quickly, so make sure it’s moving enough to spin the blade.
When to Fish Buzzbaits
Buzzbaits are primarily effective in shallow water, especially on cloudy days. I like to run buzzbaits up onto banks and slowly reel them into the water. A lot of times bass are crushing minnows up in the banks so when that buzzbait starts chirping in the strike zone they’ll come hit it quickly. One important tip: when you buy a buzzbait you should alter it slightly to maximize the noise it makes. Usually the blades are secured to the arm by a little rivet at the end of the arm. With some pliers, crimp that rivet to the arm so it doesn’t spin. Also, you’ll want to flatten the rim of the rivet that makes contact with the blade so more surface area can make contact with the blade. The more metal to metal contact while that blade is spinning, the louder it’ll be in the water. And that is the goal: be loud enough to irritate the bass. Some anglers like to, with a small file, sand down any paint you may have on a painted blade in the area that makes contact with the rivet, just to ensure that metal on metal sound is at its loudest. Non painted blades do not need that sanding.
You will find a lot of success fishing buzzbaits at night. When the water is nice and calm, throw out a black buzzbait and you’ll get some action in short order! On bright sunny days, you’ll want to work a buzzbait early in the morning targeting shady areas. As the day progresses, you’ll only want to use them in areas that have decent shade. Sometimes bass will hit buzzbaits even on bright sunny days in clear water, but that’s more of a rare occurrence.
Buzzbaits can be used for the better part of the spring and summer seasons, which is why it’s one of my favorites. If you have the right conditions, don’t be afraid to use buzzbaits. It’s an exciting way to catch fish and they really can get you into some very big bass when other baits only attract the small school fish.
Here’s a great video explaining how to fish a buzzbait!
Best Lures for Bass – Crankbaits
Another very popular type of lure for bass anglers are crankbaits. Crankbaits are broken down into three sub categories: sinking, floating, and suspending. Sinking and floating crankbaits act as they sound, sinking to the bottom when not in motion; floating rise to the surface. Suspended crankbaits do not float, nor do they sink during the retreive. They stay at a predetermined depth, allowing you to fish the same spot in the water column over longer distances. Floating crankbaits are probably the most used crankbaits on the market. A typical retrieve is where the bait emulates a wounded or dying fish. A few seconds of retrieve followed by a few seconds pause while the lure floats to the surface. This action is very successful triggering strikes due to largemouth bass being opportunistic feeders. You can find crankbaits all over the market by many manufacturers, but we prefer the Rat-L-Trap series of crankbaits. You can also find some great choices with Strike Kings’ Red Eye Shad as well as Rapalas’ Ultra Light Crank. Be sure to check out Jackalls’ Soul Shad series; they are rising in popularity of late.
How to Fish Crankbaits
As mentioned, there are three types of crankbaits each with their own style and characteristics. Beyond that, crankbaits also come lipless or with a lip. Needless to say, there are several ways you can fish crankbaits because of the variety available to you. Let’s talk about diving crankbaits, since they are also a popular lure used to catch bass. Diving crankbaits work just as advertised- they dive to a depth on the retrieve. Usually when you buy a diving crankbait, the manufacturer lists what types of depths you can expect with their crankbaits. Some dive five to ten feet while there are many that can dive to 50 feet. In standard practice, anglers love to have their diving crankbaits just tap the bottom on the retrieve. It’s that action that resembles a baitfish touching its nose on the bottom, feeding, that elicits a strike. You can alter your presentation of your crankbait by dragging it on the bottom with several quick, sharp taps on the lake floor or by lightly tapping. It all depends on the fish that day.
When to Fish Crankbaits
Crankbaits can be used pretty much throughout the season. You don’t really need fish to be particularly active to elicit a strike. Just keep in mind color scheme when fishing crankbaits. The golden rule is match the hatch, so find baits that match what bass are feeding on in your body of water. Tip: While there are almost infinite types of colors and patterns on crankbaits, you really only need to focus on a small handful- something bright, something dull, bluegill, crawfish, and contrasting patterns. Bright patterns are great for nice sunny days, where muted patterns work best in overcast.
Watch these anglers demonstrate how to fish with crankbaits
Best Lures for Bass – Softbaits
Still the king of bass lures, as it has been for years, is the softbait, or plastic worm. Used in so many ways and rigs, the plastic worm can be relied upon even in tough fishing conditions where all other lures fail. Major bass fishing tournaments have been won by anglers using plastic worms. Being one of the best lures for bass, softbaits can be used in a variety of ways. There are three major setups that are most commonly used, however. Wacky rigs, texas rigs, and carolina rigs seem to be the most popular ways of setting up plastic worms. Each method has its own strengths and weaknesses, but however you use softbaits, you will need to apply some finesse to your retrieval. The key to softbaits is adding action to them. For novice anglers, this can be a challenging way to fish. But once you’ve learned how to give action to softbaits, your chances of catching quality bass go up exponentially. Try your luck with a Zoom Trick Worm or a Yamamoto Senko Worm. Other popular softbaits include Berkley Gulp Inchworms, Zoom Super Speed Craw, and Berkley Gulp Grubs.
How to Fish Softbaits
There are dozens of ways to fish softbaits, but as previously mentioned, it all comes down to finesse. Most anglers add twitching action to the bait by twitching the rod between cranks on the reel. This helps the worm add some wiggle while on the retrieve. For texas rigs, many anglers treat softbaits like a jig in that they pull back the rod, lifting up the worm off the bottom and back down again on the retrieve. Wacky rigs are set where a subtle up and down motion on the rod will “liven” the worm on the hook. All presentations work so just find the presentation that you’re most comfortable doing.
When to Fish Softbaits
Softbaits are by far the most versatile bait. You can fish them pre-spawn, post-spawn, and throughout the summer months. There really is no bad time to try out softbaits. As with any other bait, the biggest piece to consider is color. Natural colored baits tend to work best, but most any variation will produce results.
Best Lures for Bass – Other Options
While not in our Top 3, there are many other options for bait to use fishing for largemouth bass. Jerkbaits, Jigs, Spinnerbaits, even Spoons are great options. Topwater lures are always fun but can be challenging getting the action just right. Swimbaits are gaining in popularity with advances to rubber molding and swim action. Swimbaits can be more expensive than other lures, however, depending on the type of detail they’re designed. Regardless, you will find a wide variety of good lures to choose from and fish with. Charlie Moore mentioned in his interview with BaitRodReel that he prefers to get really confident with four or five different lures and just fish with those styles exclusively. That way, when some of your favorites may fail, you’ll always have another technique to rely on to coax a big largemouth bass to bite. Good luck in your search for quality tackle and tight lines!