Hybrid Bass are pound for pound the hardest-pulling fish in freshwater.
In 1995, I was crappie fishing with a white road runner, 4-pound test line, and an ultralight. I was bringing the lure back to the boat using a lift-and-drop technique. Suddenly, my line darted to the left so fast the water was spraying from the line. My drag started screaming and the fight was on.
I turned on the trolling motor and followed the fish to keep from getting spooled. That fish fought hard for 5-10 minutes! I thought I would never land it! Finally, I held a 6-pound hybrid striper (a.k.a. wiper). It was the best fight of my life and came as a complete surprise. After this first experience, I have made it a point to chase wiper every chance I get.
Targeting these bruisers can be fairly straightforward. Hybrids are super aggressive fish and travel in packs like wolves. This means you can literally wear your arm out catching one after another! Here are my top 5 hybrid bass lures for chasing big fish.
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#1 – Hybrid Bass Explode on Big Prop Baits
There is absolutely nothing like seeing your topwater bait get knocked 3 feet in the air and then engulfed by a 6-8 pound hybrid bass. I saw this the first time fishing a 2-3 inch prop bait for largemouth bass. A big hybrid slapped it straight up in the air and then smashed it when it landed.
I had seen big chop baits used for Peacock Bass and immediately wondered: “Will hybrids attack them the same way?” A few weeks later, I had my answer. I was bass fishing when I heard the sound of a hybrid feeding frenzy one hundred yards away. I flung my new wood chopper bait before I even got close.
My adrenaline surged as it got smashed the same way my smaller prop bait had. For the next 30 minutes, I battled fish after fish! Catching fish any way is fun. However, if you tell me I can catch fish after fish and see the explosion… I dare you to tell me that’s not the #1 way to catch hybrid bass!
Another bonus of this hybrid topwater lure is you can actually draw the school of hybrids towards you. When two or three of you are in a boat splashing these baits around, it can draw these surface feeders to you. There are two great benefits of this. First, you don’t spook the school and end the feeding frenzy. Leave that to the jet skiers. Second, you can draw some of the largest fish from the perimeter of the frenzy!
This technique is best mid-summer to late-fall when the shad population is larger and the white-bass spawn is complete. Hybrid bass will target both.
The Luhr Jensen Wood Chopper bait I used is very hard to find, however, River2Sea recently made a topwater it named the “Big Mistake”. This bait works much the same way and will have your rod bending in no time.
Other topwater options for more subtle days include the Storm chug bug, Rebel Pop-R, or Spooks. I haven’t thrown a River2Sea Whopper-Plopper or the Berkley Choppo for hybrids yet, but would love to hear from some of you that have!
Due to the explosions and absolute fun, these are my at the top of my best hybrid bass lures list.
#2 – The Versatile Paddle-tail Swimbait
The simple reason this classic lure is at number two is versatility. You can fish fast (spring to fall) or slow (winter). It can be fished deeper: add a little weight or tie it with a 4-foot leader behind a deep-diving crankbait. It can also be fished near the surface. Again, I love to fish it fast almost like a wake bait.
Even though the swimbaits are reliable they do have a drawback. Hybrids will destroy them! You can go through a bag pretty quickly. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have more than one bag on hand.
The Sassy Shad and similar paddle-tail swimbaits are great lures to catch hybrid year-round.
#3 – Hybrid Bass Burning a Lipless Crankbait
WARNING!!! This technique may move you towards early carpel tunnel surgery. Check your drag!
One summer day headed out in a Bass Buster Boat with two fishing buddies we saw strange wakes and flashes of white just under the surface. There was no surface feeding but there was definite chasing going on! We tied on 3/4 ounce lipless crankbaits in shad patterns. Then we cranked them back as fast as we could just under the surface.
We caught fish after fish. I was shaking off 4 pounders as fast as I could looking for that big hybrid bite I dreamed of catching. Something in the 8-10 pound class. While I didn’t achieve that, all three of us caught 4-6 pound wiper on every cast for over an hour. Without a doubt, it was one of those special days.
Lipless crankbaits are also versatile in technique. You can speed burn them or yo-yo them with a lift and drop. At times, trolling a lipless crankbait is a great way to relax and catch fish.
#4 – Old Reliable – The Spoon
Spoons are great for the heat of the summer and the cold of winter. Both times of the year, hybrids will be deeper on the river or creek channels. Verticle jigging a flutter spoon is a great technique to reach the school and coax them into biting.
#5 – The A-Rig (a.k.a. Umbrella Rig)
These rigs mimic a school of shad. Exactly what these schools of hybrids have been rounding up. The A-Rig can also be retrieved fast or slow with varying weights to reach the depths of the school. However, the A-Rig is not without its challenges. You could be faced with catching multiple fish on one cast. That’s a great problem to have!
Hybrids are undoubtedly one of the most fun, hardest-fighting fish for fishing enthusiasts. They are sure to instill some amazing memories for young and old. We hope you too find these lures to be the best lures for hybrid striped bass. Coming soon…we will explore some of the best places to pursue the hybrid bass in Texas.
Until then, tight lines and fin time. We hope to see you out on the water chasing ThePerfectComb for some epic wiper fights.