Table of Contents
- 1 Best Lures for Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass
- 2 Final Thought
Note: If you have not read our previous article on the Largemouth Bass or Smallmouth Bass and don’t have much experience catching these fish, then we encourage you to go give it a read real quick.
The best lures and plastics for largemouth vary. Some days largemouth want top waters and other times they want a plastic slug on the bottom of a lake bed. It’s important to keep your tacklebox stacked with a variety of lures to increase your hook up rate.
Best Lures for Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass
Soft Plastic Lures
Soft plastics are often the most common and successful bass lures used fishermen. They look real, they feel real, many come with a thin coating which assists in helping them taste like the real thing.
Soft plastics are important to fish slow, so they are not good choices for simply casting blindingly. If you’re going to use soft plastic and the required slow retrieve, you should already know where the fish is when you cast.
Some of the best ways to retrieve a soft plastic is a simply hop action. It can be dragged slowly and crawled across the bottom of the lake bottom or it can be jigged rapidly. Some bass requires a super slow approach, especially because they can be extremely skittish or lethargic.
Among the best plastic lures to use when targeting Largemouth and Smallmouth bass are:
- Ribbon tail worms
- Curly-tail worms
- Straight-tail worms
- Paddle tail worms
- French Fry worms
- Reaper worms
- Weenie worms
- Plastic Swimbaits
Plugs are always great bass lures, particularly when targeting largemouth. Crankbaits, minnow baits, and vibrating plugs will catch you plenty of bass.
Crankbaits have a short wide body with a long and broad lip which gives them an underwater wobble. Some dive a few feet under the surface, while others dive 30 feet under the surface.
Normally crankbaits are only used in warm water due to their quick retrieves. Cold water produces sluggish fish who aren’t really too interested in chasing fish. However, a slow retrieve with a few second pause has been shown to entice some bites even in cold water.
Minnowbaits are much longer and slimmer than crankbaits. Minnowbaits are not meant to dive deep like crankbaits and their narrow lip, compared to the large wide crankbait lip, is evidence of this.
Minnowbaits are often created with neutral buoyancy so they can be paused mid-retrieve in an attempt to place them directly in front of the fish you’re targeting.
You can’t go wrong fishing minnowbaits like you fish crankbaits.
Swimbaits are popular baits for most any kind of fish. They vary in shape, size, and make-up more than any other kind of lure. Swimbaits can be as simple as a non-descript white plastic fish imitation swimbait. Swimbaits can also be multijointed and hand painted hard plastic lures, like the one pictured here.
Most smaller swimbaits are perfect to catch medium to large sized bass. However, big baits catch big fish. You may not catch 10 fish using a big swimbait but you might catch 1 gigantic trophy bass.
Swimbaits might be the simplest of bass lures to use. All you have to do is cast and retrieve when fishing swimbaits. Most lures have their own action so you rarely need to impart your own, altering retrieval speed and imparting a small jig actions couldn’t hurt if you’re having a tough time producing with a swimbait though.
There are two types of spinnerbaits:
- Single bladed spinners
- Double spinners.
Single spinners are simple and straight forward. Double spinners create extra lift which allow them to move over the tops of heavy weeds or other obstructions.
Both types of spinnerbaits are adept at avoiding hangups though as the spinner acts as a shield, preventing the single hook from getting caught.
The type of spinner on the spinnerbait matters as well. Spinnerbaits with large spinners like the Colorado spinners move slower through the water while a willow-leaf blade has less water resistance so it travels faster. Willow-leaf blades are meant to be fished at deeper depths and greater speed.
Lots of anglers have trouble hooking up on biting fish. In order to reduce the number of missed strikes they add, whats normally called, a stinger hook. It is essentially attatch another 2nd hook, either a J-hook or treble hook, to the end of the spinner bait hook by threating the spinner J-hook through the eye of the stinger hook
You can learn more about stinger hooks and spinner type lures by checking out this article we wrote just for that purpose on How to Fish Spinner Baits.
Jigging is one of the most effective ways to catch bass. Jigging means to work your bait up and down in a rapid motion but this isn’t exclusive.
Jigging spoons are ideal for that type of action. Their slender and heavy body are designed for jigging action, especially in deep waters of 30+ feet. Their long thin shape is designed to make them look much like an injured minnow.
Lead-headed jigs are available as well. They’re tipped with various hair, feathers, or skirts. These are the most common and most effective in less than 20 feet or so of water but can be used about anywhere you desire.
TR Tip: Plenty of snags take place in heavy cover when jigging, however all you have to do is allow the line to go slack and the weight of the jig often pulls itself free.
Jigs come in all different shaped and sized. The most common types are:
- Weedless Jigs
- Football-head jigs
- Slider jigs
- Heddon sonar spoons
- Hopkins (or jigging) spoons.
Weedless jigs are best in tight brush to avoid hang-ups. Football jigs are great for rocky bottoms to imitate crawfish. A slider jig is great for working weed tops. Vibrating spoons or jigging spoons are best to jig vertically in deep water.
Here are some of Tackle Reports picks for the best fishing jigs and best fishing spoons.
The single greatest rush in fishing is the sight of a giant bass chasing and engulfing your top water lure right in front of your eyes. Largemouth bass are among the most active top water strikers of all fish. If you’re looking for that rush, you’re best to target Largemouth and Tackle Reports is here to tell you how to fish topwater.
How to fish topwater is one of the most common questions asked at Tackle Reports.
Two of the most popular topwater retrieves are a twitch and pause retrieve and “walking the dog” retrieve.
A twitch and pause retrieve are simple twitches and jerks with a topwater lure followed by a pause. These work best with chuggers and propbait lures.
Walking the dog is done by holding your rod tip low and giving it a series of evenly spaced jerks to make the head swing from one side to the other.
Top waters work best on calm water days and water temperature is around 65 degrees. Early and late day is best, as the sun is not beating down directly on the eyes of fish, remember if you read our article on fish senses you’ll know fish don’t have eyelids to block out the sun. One exception is fishing topwater around heavy cover, fish will hit top water lures if they’ve been hiding under shaded cover all day.
Stick baits are long thin plugs with no-built in action. If you’re going to fish stickbaits, you have to impart actinon into the lure.
Stick baits are used by slight jerks left and right. The weight in the back of the lure assists the side to side action. This is typically referred to as “walking the dog”
If you’re interested in learning more about how to walk the dog, you can check out our other article on How to Fish Topwater with Stickbaits and Other Plugs
Propbaits are similar to other plugs but posess propellers at one or both ends. They as well are fished by slight twitches and jerks followed by pauses.
Walking the dog isn’t the technique propbaits were designed for, but certain propbaits can be fishing with the walk the dog technique so long as they dont have weight in the tail.
Otherwise, fish the propbait with a simple cast and retrieve.
If you want to learn more, check out our other article on How to Fish Propbaits.
Chuggers are the lures with concave faces that throw water when you twitch the lure.
Its suggested you fish chuggers with a series of rapid jerks or twitches.
Fish chuggers on days where is calm. Fish for largemouth and smallmouth bass with chugger lures in the early cool mornings or late afternoons. You’re guaranteed to hook up on a big bass if you fish chuggers in the right environments.
Check out our other article if you want more info on How to Fish with Lures.
Crawlers have a broad face plate or arms that make the bait wobble or crawl. A classic jitterbug is the perfect example. A slow, steady retrieve usually works best.
You can fish crawlers similar to how to fish chuggers, propbaits, and crawlers. Look to fish them in similar weather and water conditions as these other lures as well.
Our article on How to Fish Crawlers, Propbaits, and Stickbaits can fill you in more if you’re still insure how to fish these lures more.
Buzzbaits are a type of spinner baits. They have a large blade that disturbs and displaces a great deal of water.
A slow and steady retrieve the best spinner bait retrieve; its important to note they will sink if you stop reeling. Its possible to utilize the sinking spinner bait though. If you reel the spinner over gaps in cover, allow it to sink through the gaps, and then reel quickly enough to lift the lure out of cover.
These type of spinner tactics can coax big Largemouth bass out of cover and into your net.
If you want to learn more about fishing with buzzbaits, make sure to check out our article on How to Fish with Spinnerbaits.
Frogs and Rats
Frog and rat lures are made of soft rubber or plastic and have a weedless design. These lures are best for heavy lillypads or weeds and are always a fun choice to bring in big bass.
Sucess with these baits comes with patience and precision casting. It can be a bit hard given their size and weight.
For rats and ducks, throw these baits near but not in heavy cover.
For frogs, throw them on heavy cover and try to pull them accross. There are few things more exilerating than watching a big bass leap out of cover to take your frog lure ontop of lilly pads or other water cover.
It can be a bit intimidating to throw a big 8 inch rat lure or duck lure. Many new fisherman are hardpressed to believe that fish will target animals like ducks or rats. Most fish wont, but the fish who do typically belong in the record books……or at least in your wall.
Weedless spoons are perfect for sliding through and over the densest brush.
Made of metal, hard plastic, or the like, weedless spoons come with a wire or nylon brush guard to protect against hang ups.
TR Tip: Tip spoons with plastic curly tails, a plastic skirt, or a strip of fresh bait to impart a lifelike swimming action and to improve hook ups greatly.
Metal fishing spoons are heavier and great for fan-casting large areas of weedy covers. They sink rapidy and are fished beneath the surface. Hard plastic spoons are light enough to slide over matted weeds. Because they ride with the hook up, there is little chance of fouling.
One drawback to the weedless spoon is the tendency for fish to strike short. Many anglers make the mistake of setting the hook when they feel a bass nip at the curly tail trailer.
Make sure you hesitate before setting the hook with weedless spoon to ensure you don’t miss your chance.
TR Tip: If you’re still having trouble hooking up on a spoon, try to attach a stinger to the end of your hook. Learn more about Stinger hooks on our article How to Fish with Spinner Baits
Are you ready to get out in the water and begin catching trophy largemouth and smallmouth bass?
The lures listed above will help you in creating a tackle box with all the basic lures to begin catching largemouth bass instead of chasing them. If you have any questions about how to use these lures, make sure to check out our other articles describing how to use them littered through out this article.
If you’re not sure which one to start with, try starting with out article on How to Fish with Lures.
Now what are you waiting for, get out there and go catch some trophy bass!