Everyone has those days when they wish they had the secret cheat sheet of the best bait for bass fishing. Well I am going to tell you about some of the lures and techniques that I use that will help you to find that one fishing secret you won’t want to tell your friends about.
The first step on our journey in choosing your best bait option is to figure out the depth level of bass, which also often coincides with the time of year. Therefore, today we will divide our hunt into three categories:
- Shallow water bass fishing
- Suspended water bass fishing, and
- Deep water bass fishing.
The lures will surely stir up some action for you in the water as the below tips . These are my best bait for bass fishing that will deliver you mass quantities of bass.
Fishing Shallow Water to get those Exciting Top Water Strikes
Spring and Fall fishing can often be a mixed bag of surprises with most anglers telling you the fish only hang out in the shallow water during this time. But just a word of caution that with every rule there are bound to be exceptions and, from experience, no one ever has it perfectly figured out. Even the pros out on the FLW Tour have days when they only bring home 2 pounds of bass to weigh in. Nevertheless, are my recommended best bait for bass during Spring and Fall.
Spring and Fall you are sure to get some action with these baits
In the Spring, pre-spawn days, when the weather is in the high 70’s to mid-80’s and you have no choice but to call in for a day off work because you can’t bear the idea of missing out on such an amazing day for fishing. Those are the days when the bass are going to be much more active and on the hunt for baitfish to feed on. You will see lots of shallow water action. Some days you will get as much action as you can take. Those are the days when I will use my Strike King Bleeding buzz bait which is definitely up there on the list of best bait for bass fishing.
- If the water is murky, use bleeding white or bleeding chartreuse colors as the fish can’t see very far in front of them in dingy water so they need something brighter.
- In clear water lakes it's best to utilize the bleeding black color.
This is a top water bait and it's recommended to reel this in fast enough so that the blades spin across the top of the water. The bass will hear that buzz bait and and be tricked into following it. This is especially effective near any structure or down the banks.
On those colder overcast days there is no doubt in my mind that the best bait for bass a crankbait. My friends are tired of me saying that "just because it’s a crankbait doesn’t mean you can’t fish it with some pizazz".
In the spring I am going to use what I call a "pumping action". This starts with reeling to get the crankbait to the correct depth then I will stop and slowly lift my rod tip and then lower the rod again and reel up my slack. I will bring all the way in using that technique. I cannot tell you how many bass have attacked my crankbaits using this technique.
Suspended or Medium depth fish are a fickle bass
One hot summer day I came home from the lake questioning my skills as a bass fisherman. I hadn’t caught a thing so I sat and tried to figure out what I was doing wrong. But behind every great fisherman, is an even greater wife who suggested “you need a trip to bass pro”. I wasn’t going to pass that up, so off we went. And, on arrival, it hit me, I realized that I had completely missed a whole section of the water I was fishing. You guessed it, suspended or medium depth fish.
Suspended or medium depth is when the fish are hanging out in that strange depth of about 7-12 feet. Some will say 5-10 feet but it get real hot so the bass here in Missouri like it a little deeper than 5 feet. That summer was a large learning and discovery curve because if they weren't in the shallow water like before, this is where they must be hiding.
However, the learning did not stop at depth, it also included the type of bait too, it seemed everything had changed. After a solid month of trying to figure out this fickle beast of a depth and watching other anglers grab some monster bass, I found out that if the worm wasn’t working I could usually get one of two things to work on those hot summer days.
On hot days even bass don’t want to hang out to close to the surface.
This led me to 2 new variations of both of these lures which proved to be a life saver and the best bait for bass in the summerThese are suspending crankbait that when you pause they stay suspended unlike the floating crankbait, which by description, are floating to the surface right away. That suspending action acts more like a baitfish then others. They are a classic “rattling” crankbait. Between that rattle and the suspending bass just seem to want to eat these guys up. Like I said I didn’t catch a monster but it definitely turned my summer around. I can honestly say that my first cast out with this spinnerbait I caught a nice 2 ½ pound bass. That tells you right there how I feel about these spinners. Thinking it might just be luck I tried again and in the first 10 minutes with this spinnerbait I caught 3 bass. By the end of the day I had caught 5 on this lure alone. Did I mention I was only out for like an hour and a half? The Strike King bleeding chartreuse color has dual willow blades one silver and one gold. While the bleeding shad color has duel silver willow blades.
I have used these so much that the paint has chipped off the heads of both. One of the only spinnerbaits I use now and a must on and best bait for bass list out there. You just cast it out and real it back in. The dual blades on these give a nice vibration in the water that the bass can feel and will make them want to go and figure out what it is. That’s when the fun happens.
Who wants to go for a Deep Water swim?
All year long there will be some bass that hold up in the deep waters. No one knows why but some bass just don’t move around very much. With that said, nowhere does it say cold weather days are the only time bass hang out in the deep. For my deep water bass fishing I find that soft plastics prove to be the best bait for bass. Worms to be precise. Not that long ago the Senko worm came out and they have been the hot product in the anglers tackle box ever since. There are so many ways to fish with worms. Just to name a few you have the classic Texas rig, wacky worm and the Neko rig. Let's have a look at them now.
Got to Love some deep water worms!
Texas Rig Fishing
The Texas rig is my favorite worm rig and most commonly used and is the one of the oldest techniques for fishing with worms.
Firstly, Let's Create One
Let’s start with how to tie on your worm. First you are going to need your rod and reel, bullet weights 1/8-3/8oz, worm hooks (also known as offset hooks) and of course a worm. Here is one of the best explanations on how to rig one up:
How To Use It
You want to throw your line out as far as you can and leave your rod tip pointing down. Once the worm hits the water let the worm sink all the way to the bottom. Once you have waited a few seconds reel up some of the slack until the line starts to get a little tight. What you want to do now is slowly raise your rod tip up. Once it is all the way up go ahead and point the rod tip back down towards the water and reel up your slack. You will continue that action all the way back in. What will happen is the worm is going to basically jump up off the bottom a few feet then float back down to the bottom of the lake. The bass will love this.
Now implement a “feel” technique and pay close attention to the line and what you are feeling in your hands. In the summer, on warmer days, you can speed up how quickly you are moving your rod tip up and down. This is very different in the winter though, even if you think you are going slowly, you are probably still going too fast. There isn’t such thing as "too slow" during the winter once those water temperatures have dropped.
Here is a great short video from Travis at Tackle Grab about fishing with a Texas Rig:
My favorite worm and the one pretty much every person I know uses is the 7.5 Culprit Worm and we rarely go home empty handed after using these. In my tackle box right now I have 2 bags each of the Red shad, Tequila shad and the green pumpkin colors. Since adapting the Culprit worms back in April and dabbling with a few other brands on the market, they are now my exclusive go to bait. One thing that makes them the best bait for bass fishing is the perfect mixture of colors and the shake of the ribbon tail. Please go and buy yourself a couple of bags and you can thank me later.
Neko Rig Fishing
The other option is the Neko rig and with this rig you are going to want to use Senko Style worms (regular ribbon tail worms do work too just not as well). The Senko Style worms do not have as wavy or curled tail and taper off on the end.
How To Use It
The Neko requires a different style of fishing but you will still need to remember that when the temperature goes down so does the speed. With the Neko rig you will cast out and let it sink the way you allow the rig worms too but once it gets to the bottom you will give it 2-4 quick tugs left or right. Then you will reel in your slack and repeat until you catch that monster bass or you have reeled it all the way in.
The Set Up
What you are going to need:
- Senko style worms (can try with other style worms as well)
- Weed less worm hook
- Worm head weight (also called Stick weights or threaded weights) or a small nail
Insert the hook in to the worm a little over the half way mark and feed the worm down the middle of the worm until the point of the hook pops out. The point of the hook should be pointing towards the “tail” of the worm (smaller end of a Senko worm).
Tie the hook on your line using your favorite knot. With almost all lures I use a Palomar knot because it’s very strong.
Insert the weight or nail in to the “head” of the worm. I use small finishing nails about an inch long.
Bonus Tip - The Slow Roll
A good friend of mine called to tell me about his day out fishing, he is an ex tournament angler that has competed all over the Mid-west area. We got to talking about what he was using and that I am writing this article and he insisted; “You have to add this tip!”
When you get to the lake and see that corner or part of the lake covered with lily pads. Tie up a tube jig and slow roll it across the lily pads. He told me that the whole morning he spent doing this and over a few hours pulled in about 15 fish and all were at least a good 3 pounds. I know that when I go fishing again I am going to definitely try this.
This round up of the best bait for bass are my bread and butter on the lake and help keep me catching those bass. Fishing is about having fun with your friends and family so don’t lose sight of that as you become obsessed with fishing now that you will be catching fish like crazy. Good luck everyone, now go out there and catch that Monster bass and share your story in the comments below.