If there’s one question I’m asked over and over it’s this one: “What baits do I recommend for big bass?”
Most of the anglers don’t define what they mean by big so I’ll do it. I say that any bass in the 5-pound class or better is big. I know that where and when you’re fishing has a big impact on size but it general that’s a pretty good place to start. A 5-pound bass has some size to it but, at the same time, it’s doable in most waters.
After that I group my big bass baits into three categories: Topwater, middle depth and bottom huggers. Here we go…
I have two baits that I want to cover here. The first one would be a big walking stick. Really big bass have learned how to survive over the years they’ve lived. Something big moving slowly along the surface is the perfect meal for them. It fills them up and they don’t have to work hard to catch it against the surface of the water.
My preference here is the Rapala Skitter V Walking Bait in the largest size, the 13. It’s 5 1/4-inches long and weighs a full ounce. Walking baits give bass a chance to look them over so matching the hatch is especially important with them.
Carry several colors that come as close to the local forage as possible. And remember: What the local forage looks like in the spring isn’t necessarily what it looks like in the summer or in the fall. Check the color frequently and remember that forage grows as the year moves along.
My next choice is for when there’s a lot of cover and junk in the water—grass, sticks, pads, laydowns and around docks. I’m talking about stuff that’ll snag a walking stick with open hooks. When I’m fishing in that I go with a big, bulky buzzbait that can be fished slow and one that makes a lot of racket.
My choice here is a Molix SS Super Squeaky Buzzbait. It’s big and heavy. At a 1/2-ounce you can throw it a mile and with its oversized blade it’ll stay on top with little or no forward motion than a crawl. And, if that wasn’t enough it’s specially designed—by me—to have a blade that’s made to create a unique and loud sound.
This buzzbait is the real deal. I’m telling you that.
Middle depth baits
The choices here are simple. You either go with a hard swimbait or a soft plastic swimbait. My advice is based on the same concepts I talked about in the topwater category.
In the hard category I prefer the Storm Arashi Glide Glide Bait. It’s big and lifelike. Best of all it’s easy to fish right out of the package. Just tie it on—make sure it matches the hatch—and get it wet. Stop it occasionally so the fish can see it start to turn and then hang on. Your big fish is about to bite.
When it comes to soft plastic swimbaits there really isn’t anything out there that’s as lifelike and effective as the Berkley Powerbait Gilly Swimbait. I throw the big 130 size. And, I know this is going to surprise you—I always make sure I match the hatch when it comes to color.
There’s only one choice here…a big, bulky jig. I have two I like real well and they both are made by Missile Baits. The first one I want to mention is the Missile Jigs Ike’s Flip Out Flipping Jig. It’s big, makes a huge profile and it’s heavy. I usually fish with the 3/4-ounce size when I’m looking for a big one.
The other bait I like just as well is their Missile Jigs Ike’s Head Banger Football Jig. I sometimes fish with the 3/4-ounce size but most of the time I go whole hog with the full 1-ounce size. I want to give the fish a look at a real meal when she sees this lure.
I add trailers to both of these jigs and they’re always creature baits of some sort. I suppose my favorite is the Berkley Powerbait Chigger Craw in the 4-inch size. That adds about a 1-inch length to the bait which is exactly what I want. It also makes for extra bulk and a great lifelike look.
There you have my six big bass baits for all three parts of the water column. The easiest way to sum everything up is to tell you to go big or go home when you want a big one!
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