Where to begin?
The sheer quantity of fishing lures available for bass is amazing. For the inexperienced, however, it could be a bit confusing. For some, they are also collectibles. Each kind of lure is associated with different techniques that can be used. Some lures are more versatile than others, while some are more effective under certain conditions. It would be ideal to choose lures that attract larger bass continuously. However, if everything was that simple, there wouldn’t be a large quantity of lures to choose from in the first place!
Categorising the choices
The rubber plastic worms are probably the first type of lure that come to mind when someone thinks about bass lures. Their bright vibrant colours and lifelike texture make them attractive to bass. The rubber also feels like real food to the bass when it tries to engulf the lure. While fishing is not for the impatient, patience is required even more when it comes to using bass lures, since every cast is retrieved a lot slower when using rubber lures.
Using rubber lures also requires precision since a straight line has to be maintained. This allows the angler to get a good feel the slight thump on the rod given by the bass when it tries to engulf the lure. Rubber worms are some of the most versatile lures as they can be used in virtually all conditions while rendering consistent results.
When it comes to popularity, rubber worms are the business. Walk into any fishing equipment store and you will see a lot of them. For dark waters, a light coloured worm would be best. In clear waters, bass rely on vision, so a lure that looks as close as possible to the real deal is essential. A worm with a tail works better in unclear, warm water and when bass is most active. In clearer water, a worm without a tail can be used.
Adding weight to plastic worms will dictate how deep the bait will go, and this, in turn determines what kind of bass will be caught. It is better to start with a faster sink rate and then slow it down if the required results are not achieved.
Spinner baits are common and quite effective too. They are made up of an open catch type safety pin and some highly reflective bits attached to it. Spinner baits have the added advantage of being able to cover a lot of water while attracting a decent amount of bass. These work by creating a commotion in the water, according to at which speed they are thrown around, by spinning and creating light distortion from their reflective bits. The bass can see this and will be attracted to the bait.
Like rubber worms, crank baits can be used in many conditions too, but they can cover more water. Crank baits come in many shapes and sizes, and are Pro fisherman Kevin Vandam’s favourite choice when it comes to fishing under most conditions. They are also easy to use since crank bait fishing is mostly simply casting and reeling in a straight retrieve. [i]
Crank baits are effective when it comes to luring big bass, however due to the nature of the bait, an erratic movement is required to attract the fish. Casting and winding without much thought and fishing too quickly are a sure-fire way to ensure that you will not catch a single fish. So is having a rod that is too stiff, or angling your rod improperly. If a too stiff rod is used, the bait will be yanked away from the fish with the slightest of pulls.[ii]
Top-water baits, as the name implies, attract bass from the top of the water by creating a commotion at the surface of the water, which mimics the movement of baitfish at the surface. These are most effective when the water temperature is higher than ten degrees Celsius, and if the water is clear. [iii]
Spring and summer are ideal seasons for using top-water lures, since that water temperature is sufficiently warm. Bass do not like to stay in the sunlight since their eyes do not adjust to it, which is why they are commonly found in places not reached by sunlight. However, during dusk and dawn, bass travel towards open shallows in search of food. Typically, a metre of depth is considered good for top-water fishing.
Top-water poppers, sometimes colloquially referred to as “chuggers” are made of solid wood or hard plastic and can be easily recognised by the popping or splashing sound made while retrieving the catch, which is caused by a cupped lip on the lure’s front. Poppers come mostly in shapes and sized resembling frogs, shad, bluegill, and minnows.[iv]
“Spoons” are ideal when it comes to fishing in places where there is heavy cover, since they are excellent at not attracting weed. A “spoon” is a concave oblong lure, usually made of relatively heavy metal designed to catch bass that are swimming near the bottom. They yield the best results when fishing in deeper waters.[v]
One of the most successful bass traps in existence is called the “Rat-L-Trap”. It is a plastic lure designed to mimic the movements of a small fish when it’s cranked in. It has an internal chamber filled with small beads that when pulled, make a rattling noise that bass find irresistible. The Rat-L-Trap is best used in shallow waters.
The video attached is part of a series for beginners. It describes in detail the properties explained above, guiding beginners as to what kind of lure is most appropriate for their situation.