For most of us, the Largemouth Bass was THE fish that opened the fishing world to us. Who among us remembers riding our bikes with rods and tackle in tow to our local pond, lake or canal, perhaps toting a brown paper bag with a sandwich and snack? And, of course, our mom would be telling us: “Be home before it gets dark.” Man… what great memories! Bass are, without a doubt, “the gateway drug” for most of us. Life was so simple back then. All we needed to be successful was a fiberglass rod, Mitchell reel and a bunch of rubber worms.  Across the USA, the Largemouth Bass is the most sought-after game fish because it’s accessible to us all.

So what do we need to be successful?  Bass lures of today are spinoffs of lures that have been used with great success for decades. Because bass are predators and carnivores, the lures mimic worms, bait fish, frogs, lizards and creatures of some sort. Heck, one company even has a lure that resembles a baby duck… really!  This helps us greatly because it simplifies our choices based on water color, structure and atmospheric conditions.

Topwater Lures

On night trips, early-morning trips and late-day trips, as well as days that are overcast, it’s hard to beat topwater lures. Great topwater lures are frog lures (yep, they look like frogs), the skitter walk, torpedo, devil’s horse and the jitter bug. All of these lures have an extremely successful history in the freshwater arena. These are going to be used with a rhythmic retrieve where you twitch and pause, twitch and pause, twitch and pause along the total retrieve. Folks, work it all the way back to you like this. I can’t remember how many strikes have occurred right at the bank or boat side. When using this cadence, slower is better because the bass will often strike on the dead stick; that’s when that lure is laying motionless on the surface.

To keep it simple, picture a frog or weak fish swimming along the surface… it will swim some and stop pretty regularly. Use that visual for reference and it’ll help that cadence. Be set for that surprising, explosive topwater bite!

Subsurface Lures

Now, let’s move on to subsurface lures. We can start with midwater lures, which are going to mimic a bait and will elicit strikes due to their erratic action. Again, this is very similar to how a wounded or weak bait would act. The most popular are crank baits. These are distinguished in their coloration as a bait fish with a “lip” at the front of the lure. This lip will help the lure dive to a pre-determined depth set by the size and angle of that lip. The crank bait has an oval design with a taper or slope to the rear, designed with the purpose of creating that recognizable wiggle as it’s retrieved. These lures are phenomenal and simple to use; just make a long cast and a steady retrieve with an occasional pause to let its design do the job. They’re probably best used when fishing in little or no structure because the hooks that hang below it can tend to snag on cover.

The chatter bait is another great simple design incorporating a jig with a metal “lip” and skirt. The chatter bait will run with its hook facing up, making it a bit more weedless than the crank bait and it’s just as easy to use. Cast it, let it drop a bit and give it a steady retrieve. Chatter baits are available in a variety of color patterns, so have a few on hand to adjust to water conditions, bait types and cover. Both the crank baits and chatter baits will tell you if you’re working them in the correct manner because both have a distinct and constant wiggle action that you will feel in the rod tip. You can vary its tempo and depth by your retrieve speed. Remember that being a reaction bait, the strikes are aggressive and hard.

Worms and creature baits are the most widely used and productive bass lures. They are simple, inexpensive and effective, making them accessible to kids, beginners, the young at heart and the most-recognized industry experts. These baits are exactly what their names imply, literally worm variants and the creature bait can be just that — something odd and weird looking.

These lures excel where heavy cover dominates your fishing area. They are rigged weedless in a Texas Rig style and 99% of the time are worked along the bottom with a VERY slow retrieve and SMALL twitches of your rod tip. The goal here is to see and feel that lure as it glides along the bottom, poking through cover, rooting along through grass or over obstructions. On hot days when we are slow and worn out, so are the fish. They try to save their energy and move as little as possible. Baits worked slow like this will keep them in the strike zone longer and will entice that lazy bass to take a bite, just for the heck of it!

Whether y’all fish from the bank, a canoe, jon boat or six-figure bass machine, the lures and techniques mentioned above are the same. So grab a rod and tackle box, find a pond or canal, and getcha some Largemouth Bass to rekindle fond memories from our youth! 

Have fun and be safe.

About the Author


Joe Garcia is the Brand Fishing Ambassador at Sunshine Ace Hardware.

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