So you’re new to bass fishing? Or maybe you’ve been around awhile and you’re just looking to make sure you’re on the right track? Well we’ve compiled a list here of 10 lures all bass anglers should have in their tackle box, so hopefully this will help. If you don’t have a great understanding yet of exactly how all these work, that’s ok. This will give those who need it a starting point and hopefully a little more direction to those that have advanced part of the way through this list already. These baits aren’t in any particular order, but they are all representative of techniques every angler should strive to obtain at least a basic grasp of.
A squarebill crankbait, like the MONSTERBASS Hammerhead 1.5 shown here, is one of the most productive shallow water baits of all time. With its namesake characteristic of a square shaped lip, squarebills are capable of coming through some particular gnarly cover. We’re talking banging this thing off laydowns, brushpiles, riprap, rock and docks without much concern of it hanging up. If you’re fishing in less than 5- feet of water on a regular basis, this is one you’ll want to have in your tackle box for sure.
A lipless crankbait sets itself apart from the rest of the crankbait family in that it has no lip at all. This bait is weighted to sink where most other crankbaits float. This eliminates the need for a lip to help the bait dive and instead you can simply let the bait fall to any desired depth and then start to reel it in. A great bait for super shallow water, submerged vegetation and yo-yoing around suspended fish, the lipless crankbait is another that every angler needs to have in their box.
Another of the all time greats for producing bites around shallow cover, the spinnerbait kind of mixes the best of both the lipless and squarebill worlds in a completely different package. You can fish a spinnerbait super shallow around the same cover you’d throw a squarebill crankbait. Or you can tie on a heavier one, let it sink down a bit and fish it a various depths like a lipless crankbait. This versatility is accompanied by a lot of flash as well, provide by the spinning blades along the metal arm of the bait. Likely one of the first bass fishing lures many anglers pickup, if you haven’t yet added a spinnerbait to your arsenal, now’s the time.
A buzzbait is similar to a spinnerbait in many ways, but different in one key area. Both have a continuous wire harness that runs from the hook point through some sort of weighted head and skirt all the way to from an arm at the top. But where that arm holds a blade or a combination of blades on a spinnerbait, it holds a prop on a buzzbait. The prop on a buzzbait is used to help the bait stay up on top of the water and create a ‘buzzing’ sound. One of the easiest and most versatile topwaters ever created, a buzzbait is a great first addition to your box it you’re looking to learn more about topwater fishing.
Medium Diving Crankbait
A medium diving crankbait, like the Seeker 8 pictured here, is another important bait for every angler’s box. This lure gives you the weedless characteristic of a squarebill while also providing more range of depth. It’s particularly important to have a bait like this if you’re regularly targeting fish in 6- to 10- feet of water and you want the bait to bump the bottom. As a bait collides with rocks, wood and other obstructions, it creates sounds and knocks up little clouds of silt and mud. These indicators help a bass locate a lure and aren’t possible at that depth with other crankbaits like squarebills and lipless baits, because the squarebills don’t dive deep enough and the lipless crankbaits will hang up.
Vibrating jigs are great bass catchers, but it’s easy to make the assumption that they’re not all that different from a spinnerbait. Though both use blades to create flash and vibration, there are some key differences. Namely, a vibrating jig is a good bit more compact than most spinnerbaits and can skip a whole lot better. Its vibration is definitely different as well, more crisp and rapid than a spinnerbait. But a vibrating jig doesn’t always trump a spinnerbait, so you’ll want to keep both in your box. Spinnerbaits are a little better at coming through hard cover without getting hung and you can typically fish a spinnerbait a little slower than a vibrating jig if you’d like to slow roll a bait.
Hollow Body Popping Frog
When compiling this list, I was tempted to make half of them topwaters. I personally love throwing a topwater and there are so many good ones. You have walking baits, popping baits, long baits, short baits, prop baits and the list goes on. But a hollow body popping frog gives you a good sampling of several of these. It’s a topwater that you can pop or walk, one you can fish it in heavy cover, sparse cover or even ope water, and it’s a great power fishing bait for catching really big fish while still being good at catching little ones too. And it does a good job of mimicking one of a bass’s favorite forages, a bluegill struggling on the surface.
Walking Style Topwater
But there still needs to be at least one topwater on this list geared more towards shad, herring and other baitfish that may school up along the shore or way out off of it. Remember, the buzzbait made this list and can be used around shad, but a bait that you can walk back and forth like the MONSTERBASS Patriot 3.0 can prove invaluable at times. This is one of the best baits to use when fish are actively schooling on the surface and can even be used to call them up to the surface when they are relating to shad or herring below.
The Texas rig has long been the gold standard for a bait that gets a bite. There are a couple dozen different ways to rig a weighted worm these days, but a good old Texas rig was all there was for decades and still gets bit today. Take a simple bullet weight, worm hook and soft plastic and you’ve got yourself a fish magnet. And unlike a shaky head, a Texas rig will come through cover really well. So it’s a good idea to keep the components in your box that you’ll need to put one together.
I skipped right over the shaky head and went with a Ned rig to round out this list. A Ned rig is the nearest nothing looking something, but just absolutely gets bit. Using a flat headed jig head and a small piece of plastic, you create a presentation with an exposed hook that stands up right and can be fished along a clean bottom. And there are also weedless versions with weed guards to use in and around cover. This is the most un-intimidating bait that you can throw and one that is guaranteed to get bit, so it was only fitting to round out the top 10 with it. And that’s that, there are 10 baits you should be sure to have in your tackle box the next time you go fishing.