My Favorite Bass Baits and How to Throw Them
In the world of bass fishing, there is no shortage on lures to pick from while walking through the fishing section at your local sporting goods store. When you finally do decide on which kind of lure you want to throw, picking out which color becomes just as much of an uphill battle. In this brief write up I’ll run you through the lures I keep tied on to each rod, and what situations I use them in to help you get more fish on your kayak! The general idea that I like to stick to, is setting up a rod for each fishing environment I may find myself in for whatever fishery I’m fishing that day. I always suggest planning to throw a few different types of baits which are topwater, a five inch senko, and a ned rig. In fact, I could confidently say that if I were to head out on a lake with these five alone I could make it through an entire day of fishing with absolute success. Here is a little more on each, and what situations I like to throw them in!
Let’s paint the picture, it’s daybreak, the sun is coming up over the horizon of your favorite fishery and the air is just starting to warm up around you (at least in these northern states, down south it stays warm!). This is the perfect mixture to start to work your topwater down the shore line and over the grass beds. In my experience, there are two types that I lean towards as far as wake baits that I would suggest to anyone. The Whopper Plopper is by far one of the most effective baits on the market, followed closely by a less tried and true bait (but one I have come to love which is the Headbanger from Headbanger Lures. They both operate a little differently, where the Whopper Plopper creates a distinct “plopping” sound as it is pulled through the water leaving a trail behind it and enticing bass to come up and smack it. The Headbanger is a combination of a swim bait and a wake bait that mimics a bait fish at the top of the water leaving a large amount of surface disruption. In the early morning, when temps are cool bass are more likely to come up to the surface while they are in an area where they are shallow enough to entice a bite. Once the sun heats the water, you will realise that the top water bite will cool off midday, this doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong, it is unfortunately just the way it is. The way I choose to fish these lures is to get within casting distance of the sure line, and under overhangs to work them back toward the yak. I’ll work the lures down an entire shoreline casting repeatedly and immediately working the lure back to me. You will be surprised in the early morning how many times a bass will blow up on your lure as soon as it hits the water if you cast right over it against the shore. Once the bite cools off it may be time to switch tactics, but the benefit here is in the twilight hours as temperatures cool down, the adrenaline rush that is a bass blowing up on topwater lures resumes, and you can start to throw them again. (Pics below caught on a Whopper Plopper and my PB Smallmouth)
When I have to change lures up the next thing I’ll switch to is a soft plastic. I have to admit, I am a bit of a finesse fishing obsessed angler. So I will lean on my soft plastics heavily through most of day. One of the largest benefits in my mind, is that you can throw a 5 inch senko worm in more ways than you can count. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start with which worm to pick off the shelf. I would like to contribute only two important words to this section, green pumpkin. Green pumpkin gets more responses than any other color of worm out there, at least in my humble opinion and that of many dedicated anglers. When throwing your green pumpkin senko, there are two ways that I find the most effective to throw it. My go to is either the traditional senko on a texas rig, or a wacky rig with a small rubber o-ring attached. With a texas rig, I like to fish it through medium cover, grass beds or pads rigged weedless. I work it slowly back to the boat gently (GENTLY) pulse my rod tip to pull the lure up and let it slowly drift back to bottom. The wacky rig, I tend to fish very similarly, but I emphasise the fall of the lure much more prominently. When fishing with your wacky rig, o-ring or not, you can rig the hook perpendicular or parallel to your senko and run the point about halfway down the body of the worm (punched through the plastic about half way down the body as well) so that it droops on either side of the hook evenly. As you twitch your rod tip it will cause the “dangly” ends flap in the water allowing you to mimic a worm or caterpillar that has fallen from a tree. With a few quick twitches upward, allow the lure to fall and settle back to bottom, and you will be blown away how many strikes you get on the fall, so pay close attention to your line tension as you work this lure.
Finally, what be one of the most effective lures I ever throw, the ned rig, This lure is proof that good things come in small packages. Ned rigs come in all different colors as well, but I tend to lean toward green pumpkin or watermelon with red flake on this set up. All you need is a weighted jig head, or a flat top ned hook (my personal preference) that will allow you to let the ned stand up on bottom. Where the senko shines in the middle of the water column, the ned rig shows its prowess smacking off rocks and cover along the bottom. My favorite way to fish a ned rig is along solid bottom, or long drop offs when the fish start to stack up after my topwater bite slows down. I will cast out and allow the ned rig to fall all the way to the bottom. As I retrieve slowly you will want to twitch the rod tip and “hop” your rig off the bottom of the rocks. This is two fold as to why, the action will entice the strike with movement, and the weighted head of the rig will help bass locate your lure as the sound travels through the water as it travels over the rocks and cover. After a few hops and dragging some lake bottom, allow your our to pause for a period of time and keep and eye on your line to see if it starts to run. This is absolute a lure bass like to inhale and run with off the bottom. You can see the most success on the ned rig either off rocky transitions as mentioned above, or under tree lines right against the shore. Experiment with where you through it, and learn the feel of gently hops to get the fish worked up for the chase, even if you're not a finesse angler, you will absolutely put more bass on your deck with this simple set up.
With all of this being said, there are so many lures out there, a few bonuses that I lean to are the Zoom Super Fluke as a soft plastic swim bait, a 10” ribbon tail worm on a shaky head hook, that same five inch senko on a drop shot, and the occasional crank bait in deeper water where I need to get down to some suspended bass. To me, that’s the best part of fishing, you may have an entirely different top 3 that work every time you’re out, and that’s ok! This certainly isn’t the law of the land, but adding these 3 or 4 lures to your set up may help you on a day when your top 3 don’t seem to be getting the job done. No matter what you throw, enjoy your time out there with your family and friends, and be sure to appreciate your surroundings when you’re out there. Tight lines Vanhunks family, and never ever stop living your legend!
By: Pro Staff Team Member, Kyle Rose