It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice fisherman, are getting back into the sport, or are a seasoned vet: Going to the bait shop can be a bit overwhelming. Bass fishing lures come in a vast variety of colors, sizes, scents, and other details, so once you choose a lure, you have many other options! There are a lot of different types, brands, shapes and sizes of bass fishing lures available nowadays, so how do you know what should be in your tackle box to maximize your fishing success?
Further complicating this are the number of online Youtubers and influencers saying this or that is the best lure. It can get confusing quickly.
It is important to know and understand what works, so let’s cut through all of the clutter. In the following guide, we give a basic explanation of the different types of bass lures, when to use them, and additional resources you may find useful when picking out your baits.
Deep Diving Crankbait
The deep diving crankbait is a hard or soft, plastic or metal lure that is usually designed to imitate a baitfish or a frog. It is pitched freely into the water and retrieved with a fast, twisting retrieve.
Their action is designed to mimic a dying baitfish, so they are used most often during the day. The crankbait has a lip that helps it dive below the surface, so some anglers prefer them to be fished on the bottom of the water column. This lip also helps the crankbait resist hang-ups on trees and roots.
A crankbait can also be used as a popper. It is a fun way to fish a shallow lake, pond or stream. The lip of a crankbait can be sharpened or filed down to help it dive deeper. This is especially useful if you are catching bass on the bottom of a lake or fishing a deep river.
A jerkbait is a subcategory of crankbait. It has the properties of a crankbait with the added addition of the ability to be jerked and twitched during retrieval. It is retrieved by jerking the rod tip to one side, which causes the lure to dart away on a different course than what the angler was expecting. It does this because it has an extra joint in the design that allows this extra movement.
The jerkbait is most often used on the top of the water column. This added movement of the lure is intended to replicate injured bait fish. The jerking action of the crankbait during retrieval makes the lure move erratically, which also adds to the lure’s effectiveness.
Topwater Walking Bait
A topwater walking bait floats on the surface of the water. They are usually not used to catch fish that are deep down, but instead are used to catch fish that are shallower.
The topwater walking bait is usually constructed of wood, balsa, plastic, or hollowed out metal. The object is to create action on the surface of the water. The “bait” is usually not meant to be swallowed by fish. It floats slightly above the surface, where fish can see it and attempt to strike it.
Soft Plastic Stick Bait
A soft plastic stick bait is a long, narrow, tubular piece of plastic that is weighted at the end. It is fished vertically “up and down” in a swimming motion. It is meant to mimic the action of a wounded bait fish.
Its action is to dart away in different directions when twitched. Its profile makes it capable of giving the angler the ability to fish very shallow water.
The soft plastic stick bait has hooks on both ends for added weedless appeal.
A spinnerbait is a type of lure that is designed to spin in the water. This is usually done in order to attract fish to strike at the lure. Spinnerbaits are usually fished under the water in an attempt to attract fish to strike.
The spinnerbait is different from most other lures because it does not have a hook. It is only capable of holding enough weight to balance the depth of the lure in the water column. When it is twitched, it has a unique wobble that attracts the attention of fish.
Spinnerbaits are designed in various sizes, shapes, and colors. They are usually used most often to catch bass in lakes; their effectiveness is due to the unique wobble of the bait.
Square Bill Crankbait
A square bill crankbait is an elongated piece of hard plastic with a lip on the front that is designed to dive into the water on a straight line. They are usually fished in the surface or just below the surface of the water.
Square bill crankbaits are usually meant to be retrieved very quickly. The angler jerks the lure to the side in order to make it dart away in different directions. The lip of the lure is designed to help it dive into the water with a straight line, in order to entice the fish.
The square bill crankbait is most often used during the day, in order to attract fish when the sun is out.
A bass jig is a weighted metal or ceramic jighead (the part with the hook) with a plastic trailer with an appendage at the end. Jigs are usually made of plastic or metal. They are used to catch bass with the primary tool of fishing.
The appendage of the jig can be a plastic lure, plastic skirt, metal lip, soft plastic, or an artificial swim bait. A jig usually comes in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles of skirts, which usually have the same colors. Jigs are an effective tool to catch bass at any time of day.
A lipless crankbait is an elongated piece of hard plastic with two parallel or slightly offset pointed “ears.” It is designed to dive into the water on a straight line. They are usually fished in the surface or just below the surface of the water.
The lip of the crankbait is meant to help it dive into the water on a straight line, in order to entice the fish. The angler jerks the lure to the side in order to make it dart away in different directions.
A topwater frog is a soft plastic lure that is designed to float on the surface of the water. They are usually not used to catch fish that are deep down, but instead are used to catch fish that are shallower.
Frogs are a lot of fun to fish. They are a lure that most people can cast and catch a fish with after a short amount of time, as opposed to other complex lures with complex retrieves.
A frog is usually a hard, hollow plastic with a big, wide, gaping mouth with a bulging eye on the back of the head. The most important thing with a frog is to keep it bouncing with a lifelike action.
Finesse worms are a type of soft plastic worm that have a pointed nose and a tapered, slender body. They are designed to glide across the surface of the water. They are usually not meant to be swallowed by fish, but instead cast into a school of bait fish or a cluster of lily pads.
How To Know Which Lure To Use At What Time?
To make sure you are using the right bait on the right day, first follow the style of water you are fishing. Then, look at the time of day and make sure you know how big of a fish you are trying to catch. A large body of water on a hot day means bass will be on the bottom, waiting for a big meal. A small tail trailer on a cool day means a smaller fish.
In the end, it’s always good to make sure you have a wide variety of lures in your tackle box that can cover a variety of circumstances. The more different lures you have, the more options you have to catch fish!