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01 Feb

Best Baits for Bass: Expert’s Choice

Bass Fishing Tips

Bass aren’t very picky. You can toss just about anything into a well-stocked lake, and you’ll have a decent chance of catching at least a small bass in the ideal weather conditions. However, serious anglers aren’t just out to catch anything that will bite, and even if you are satisfied with that, you probably don’t want to wait around forever for a bass to bite on something that just isn’t garnering a lot of interest.

When you go fishing, you want to get as much action as you can before it’s time to pack up the truck and head back home. To do that, you need to be efficient, and you need to use lures and baits that attract the bass reliably.

With nearly infinite options to choose from when it comes to bass tackle, finding the best baits for bass that you can rely on for consistent success can be overwhelming.

That’s why the team at BassForecast put together this list of our favorite bass lures. These are the lures we use to hook big bass, and we know that they work.

Let’s get started.

1: The Classic Trick Worm

This is going to sound extremely basic, but there’s a reason the Zoom Trick Worm is in practically every angler’s tacklebox even if they prefer whatever the current trendy thing is. Trick Worms work.

These only cost a couple of dollars for a bag, and you get between 5 and 20 of them in a bag depending on the size you buy. You can find them in practically any tackle shop, and any big box store with a fishing section is likely to have them. Better yet, they come in such a massive selection of colors that you can easily find a trick worm to match any occasion. Whether you end up fishing in muddy water, clear water, deep water, right along the bank, in the weeds, or anywhere else, you’ll find a color pattern that will work wonders.

Another benefit of trick worms is that they’re extremely flexible when it comes to how you can use them.

The Texas rig is the most popular way to use them, and we recommend starting with that regardless of the other recommendations we make. It’s the rig everyone knows how to use, and it will work in 99% of situations. Consider everything beyond this to be optional.

So, beyond the Texas rig, you can also do your own DIY wacky rig, drop shot, or similar setup. You can also use it as a trailer. It won’t add a lot of bulk to a jig or spinnerbait, but it will add a lot of wacky movement that can get the bass hungry.

This isn’t the absolute best lure on the market. There are plenty of other lures you’ll get bites faster with, and you won’t have to work on your presentation as much with many other lures. However, it’s so inexpensive, flexible, varied, and easy to find, that every bass angler should have at least a few bags of trick worms in varying color patterns and sizes to make sure they’ve got a solid lure for any occasion. 

These are also great if you chuck them into a tackle box you’re building for a kid as their first lures because they’ll work, get them into the art of bass fishing, and you won’t break the bank.

2: Booyah Pad Crasher and Booyah Pad Crasher JR

This is actually a two-lure tip. Although, they’re basically the same thing except for their size.

The Booyah Pad Crasher is one of the most popular topwater lures on the market. It looks great, exudes quality, isn’t too expensive, and of course, it works.

This is a topwater frog that comes in a decent variety of colors, and you can get either option for around ten bucks. You don’t need fifty of them, but having one or two around for when you go on an early morning trip and want to get some topwater action in, you have the right lures for the job.

The only difference between the two types is that the JR is roughly half the size of the regular Pad Crasher. You’ll need a medium-heavy or heavy rod with a fast action tip to get your presentation right without sacrificing power in your hook set, but whenever we go topwater fishing, this is our first go-to lure for the occasion. Try to walk it across the water slowly and bounce it around pads and weeds just like a frog would while hunting bugs skimming the water.

These are a little more difficult for less experienced anglers to get used to. Topwater fishing in general is harder for beginners. So, this is mostly one that we recommend tossing in your tackle box and skipping it for a few seasons if you’re prepping a box for your kids.

3: Large Spinnerbaits

You can’t go wrong with a classic spinnerbait. It’s simple and usually pretty cheap, but it’s effective.

A spinnerbait is a wire-angled frame. The bottom half has a jig head and hook connected to it that is often skirted, and the top half of the frame leads to a free-spinning metal blade. At the point where both pieces meet, there’s a tie-on point. You can tie it on or use a swivel, but we recommend tying spinnerbaits directly to the line to ensure they stay upright while you’re using them.

The greatest benefit you get from a spinnerbait, particularly the larger standard-sized ones that you’ll find in the bass section cheaply, is that you can simply chuck it out and reel it straight in, bounce it along the bottom, jig it up and down, or use more complicated retrieval methods. Any of them will work. You just have to use the right one at the right time in the right place.

Another benefit, as we’ve mentioned, is that they’re cheap. At least, most of them are.

You can find "bottom of the barrel" spinnerbaits for as little as a dollar at the big blue box store we all know and love, and even most name-brand ones won't cost more than a few bucks each.

However, as you move into more niche sizes from top brands, they can get a bit pricy for what they are. So, make sure you like them before you commit to the specialty options. Strike King makes some great spinnerbaits in a variety of sizes. Although, it’s usually better to go with the larger, more standard-sized, spinnerbaits at first. Once you learn how to use those, you can adjust the size you’re using to better match the situation.

4: Crankbait

Crankbaits are some of the most popular lures in the world, and that’s for a good reason. They don’t just work. They tend to work when nothing else will, and they produce extremely aggressive bites.

Crankbaits are relatively small hard baits that are teardrop-shaped and weighted. Most of them have plastic "lips" that help make them wobble when you retrieve them. Their size can vary, but most have double treble hooks installed and weigh between a ¼ of an ounce to half an ounce.

Unlike other baits, you really want to invest in decent crankbaits. Crankbaits that aren’t made to a high-quality standard won’t create the action needed to anger the bass and generate strikes. At least, cheaper ones might not, and since these aren’t cheap dollar baits, you don’t want to waste money on garbage.

We recommend starting with an SPRO Bomber, Storm Wiggle Wart, or one of Strike King's various options. Each of those comes in a variety of colors and weights, and they’re high-quality without being obnoxiously expensive for the average angler. In fact, each of them cost between $5 and $7. So, even anglers on a tight budget can afford at least one.

The trick with these is to make use of their wobbling action and position them where bass are likely to be hiding. Run them along docks, stumps, and other bits of cover to drag bass out and cause a reaction bite. These will work all year round, and they’re easy to get the hang of.

5: Inline Spinners

Inline spinners have a lot in common with the spinnerbaits we mentioned, but they’re one piece of straight wire, and they usually don’t have jig heads. The top of the wire will be rounded into a tie-on point, below that, you’ll usually get some beads, a flash blade, and then a hook attachment point that connects to a treble hook. The hook is almost always skirted with natural or synthetic hair.

These come in a variety of sizes but keep in mind that the smallest ones are for trout and panfish. You probably won’t attract many bass if you buy the tiny ones.

The main difference between these and spinnerbaits is that the inline structure makes them sleeker, and any bass can fit even the larger ones in their mouth without hesitation. Some of the bigger spinnerbaits can give small bass problems.

The rest of the lure works the same way. You can even use the same presentations.

However, these do stand out in a way that most other baits don’t. Even the most novice craftsman can make decent ones at home. You don’t even have to buy fancy inline spinners. All you need is some stiff wire, pliers, some really cheap beads, skirt material, and treble hooks. If you want flash blades, you can even make those from scrap tin or sheet steel.

That’s a great way to get into the art of lure making, but if you don’t want to, try the classic Rooster Tail first. It’s not expensive, it’s well-made, and you’re sure to catch bass on it.

With any inline spinner, you have to be aware of snag-prone areas. There’s no protection on your treble hook, and the lure won’t do much to deflect obstacles. These tend to get snagged a lot when you fish areas with lots of problematic stuff in the water.

6: U-Tail Grubs

U-tail grubs are old-school lures that work great. They’re cost-effective, a lot of brands sell them, and they can be found just about anywhere. These tend to be smaller bass lures. The biggest ones you’re likely to find will be just a few inches long and easily fit in the palm of your hand.

These are essentially plump worms with a flattened tail that curls into a “U”. You can fish them on a drop shot, slip them onto a jig head, use them as a trailer, or get creative with them.

We like the Gary Yamamoto U-tail grubs. They’re squishy, last long enough to warrant their price, and create a lot of action. If you go with cheaper options, make sure they’re not super stiff, and don’t order random knock-offs online. They’re made from stiff plastic that just doesn’t get the job done.

A negative point for U-tail grubs is that they’re not really good for the Texas rig. So, if that’s what you like to do the most, you might not use these much.

7: Rage Craw

The Rage Craw is a soft-plastic crawfish made by Strike King. It’s durable, generates an insane amount of action when you use it right, and can work with multiple rigs. Better yet, you can get a pack for just a little over $5 in big box stores. There’s no need to get this bottom-fishing bass magnet from specialty shops.

We like to use the Rage Craw two ways. First, you can Texas rig it for a slower drop and more free-floating presentation in the water. However, you rig it with the tail pointing toward the line. Crawfish swim backward, and this also allows the little plastic claws to slap around and attract bass.

Then, we use it as a trailer for a football jig. The football jig is the perfect pairing for the Rage Craw. Its round head lets it roll out of snags, and it helps mimic a crawfish’s natural movements.

Go Fishing with BassForecast

Of course, once you get the best baits for bass in your tackle box, you need a spot to fish in and a few pointers to get you started. Whether you’re a new angler with no idea what you’re doing, or you’re a seasoned vet looking to maximize your fishing experience, BassForecast is the all-in-one resource for you. 

Download the BassForecast fishing app today and enhance your fishing experience!