While tons of anglers in the past have fished live bait for Largemouth Bass with success, the vast majority of Bass anglers prefer to use artificial lures to draw the bite. There are thousands upon thousands of Bass fishing lures so picking lures to give you the best shot at catching a trophy Largemouth Bass is extremely important. If you try to go out and wing it with a random lure, chances are you won’t have a great day of fishing. However, if you take a scientific approach to Bass fishing and really try to understand the nature of the Largemouth, picking the right lure should be no problem and will often result in a pretty successful day. There are a ton of different factors that can play into lure effectiveness from weather to lunar phases and more. Having a good grip and understanding of these various factors helps to play a major role in which you lure you choose to tie on first. Thankfully, the Fishbox App takes care of this for you so you don’t have to spend as much time researching and you can spend more time on the water. The Fishbox App is a unique app that analyzes various factors that play into the bite and gives the fisherman a better understanding of the conditions that they are working with. As a result, the angler can be more informed to select the right lure for the job. Stop missing out on better fishing and download the fish finder app today.

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Key Factors in Choosing Bass Lures

  • Water Conditions: Water conditions play a monster role in lure effectiveness. A more murky, darker water is going to require a different color of lure than crystal clear water. For example, in murky water, I like to fish with darker lures that actually blend into the water a bit. The reason for this is because fish, especially Largemouth Bass, have decent eyesight, this being said, we don’t want a lure color that’s going to stand out so freakishly that the fish will think something is up. On the other hand, in clear water with good conditions, I’m going to fish more translucent lighter lures that will be harder to see in clear water. The goal of this strategy is to elicit a reaction strike. We don’t want the bass to know what’s in front of them, we just want them to commit. Now I’ve heard the exact opposite of this strategy as well like fishing bright flashy colors in poor conditions and vice versa, but from my own experience, I go light in the clear, dark in murky.
  • Weather: Like water conditions, weather also plays a huge part in lure effectiveness. For the most part, weather is going to determine where you’re going to put your bait—top, middle, or bottom of the water column. If it’s rainy and there’s silt pouring into a body of water making the bottom murky, you’re going to want a topwater lure, if it’s sunny and good weather conditions, the bottom and middle (as well as the top) are now fair game.
  • Time of Day: Time of day, especially regarding natural light, plays a huge role in lure effectiveness. At night, you’re not going to want to fish the bottom with dark bait, that’s just not gonna work. Instead, you’re going to want a loud showy bait—either a topwater or some bright flashy bait for middle and lower columns of water. In the lighter hours of the day, what you throw will depend on the other two conditions above.
  • For this particular article, I’m going to focus on the Largemouth Bass as it is the most popular and fished species of Bass in the entire country. I will also note that for the sake of this article, I am including the Spotted Bass as a Largemouth Bass because they are essentially the same species with very minor distinctions. Before I get into the meat of this article, there is one more important factor to consider when choosing a lure for Bass—seasons. Seasons, for the most part, are just going to affect where you are going to put your bait in the water column. In Fall and Winter you want to focus your efforts on deeper water whereas in Spring and Summer almost anything will go as long as the water is not too hot.

Read also: Best Time for Bass Fishing: Deciphering Seasonal and Timing Patterns

Best Largemouth Bass Fishing Lures: A Detailed Analysis

Soft Plastics:

  • Finesse Worm: Absolutely lethal in the Spring and Summer. Bounce these on the bottom Texas-rigged for best results. Work long banks and cover where Bass may be hiding. It is also very hard to use a finesse worm effectively in deeper water so stay shallow when using them. For color, ALWAYS use some color of watermelon. My personal preference is watermelon red or watermelon seed—Zoom makes great ones.
  • Senko: This is a classic bottom bait. I prefer to wacky rig these suckers and bounce them on the bottom close to cover—but not as close as a finesse worm because the hook is exposed which could lead to snags. Again, fish these in shallow water, especially banks. For color, I prefer green pumpkin or watermelon with a red flake in it.
  • Crawfish: I honestly don’t ever really just use a crawfish because it’s normally a trailer for a jig. However, if you’re going to fish just the crawfish, fish it the exact same way you would a finesse worm, only this time, target rocky areas where crawfish would naturally be present. These work most effectively on the bottom in colder weather. Again, for color I prefer a green pumpkin.
  • Lizards: These are another banger Spring and Summer bait. Fish like a finesse worm through cover and around banks. For color, I will swear by purple smoke. Something about this color, especially in clear water, just draws the Bass better than any other color I’ve ever fished.

Crankbaits:

  • Crankbaits: Winter is a great time of year to pull out your crankbaits for a swim, especially your deep divers. Unlike soft plastics, you want to fish in deep water. I always try to cover as much of the middle of the body of water as I can—especially in a pond. For color, I’ve had a lot of success using just basic color schemes. Now I know when I was a kid, I would just pick the most colorful crankbait I could find, but having learned from experience, I just settled on a simple color scheme. I find them to work much better than the multicolor stuff that I believe scares the Bass a bit.
  • Jerkbaits: The jerkbait is a pretty solid bait, except for the dead of winter as this bait sits in the upper middle water column. For the retrieve, you’re going to want to give the bait a lot of little jerks and pauses to elicit a strike. Fish Jerkbaits in moderately deep water if you can. Try to use solid colors with some sort of shine or glitter in them.
  • Lipless Crankbaits: This is by far and away one of the best Bass fishing lures. You can cover a ton of ground by casting it in the middle of a body of water and working it back. Additionally, if you think you have enough depth, try and work banks too. For my personal retrieve, I like to reel the lure just straight in, with no twitching or fancy stuff necessary. Lastly, for color, get something shiny—that is all that matters. You’re trying to convince the Bass that this lure is simply a baitfish. The more shine the better.

Jigs:

  • Casting Jig: Another cool water bait that can most effectively be used in the fall and winter. To retrieve this jig, simply bob the bait up and down bouncing it on the bottom preferably around the structure. For color, I like to go with any kind of dark green paired with some kind of crawfish trailer (often green pumpkin).

Topwater:

  • Buzz Bait: Commonly referred to as the most obnoxious bait, the buzz bait has earned its keep time and time again. Throw this anywhere in the body of water, near the bank, or in the middle, it will not matter. Moreover, from my experience, color also doesn’t matter as the fish are simply reacting to noise and disturbance on the top of the water.
  • Frog: Another classic topwater bait. Best used in spring and summer, the frog can be lethal when fished over cover like lily pads. Again, color is not going to have too much of an effect here as the Bass are simply attacking because of the disturbance.
  • Popper: The third and final topwater lure. Fish these around banks and cover if you can. Also note that it is more of lukewarm weather bait as well for seasons like Spring and Fall. Color again doesn’t matter but retrieve the bait with random pops to draw the Largemouth to the surface in hopes of a strike.

Swimbaits:

  • Swimbait: While it was a type of bait I never would have used 2 years ago, the swimbait continues to prove deadly in warmer months. When retrieving, give random jerks to elicit a swimming action to entice the bass. For color, I always go with something that looks like a bluegill as this is what you are trying to replicate when fishing for Largemouth Bass.

Spinnerbaits:

  • Spinnerbait: Another great warm-water bait. Fish these in slightly deeper water giving the blades on your spinner enough room to actually spin. No special retrieve is necessary, just reel straight back in sometimes at varying speeds. For color, go dark for murky water and light for clear water. Additionally, always use a spinner with one gold and one silver blade.

Read also: Unveiling the Secrets of Freshwater Fishing: A Guide to the Best Lures

Top Picks and Recommendations

While all of the baits listed above can be extremely effective, I believe 5 of these baits are exceptionally good at catching Largemouth Bass.

  1. Finesse Worm: By far the most versatile bottom-of-the-water column bait. Because it is a finesse worm, you can make it do whatever you want it to do giving you unparalleled versatility in bait presentation. This bait excels any time of year when the bass is hugging closer to the structure or the bottom.
  2. Lipless Crankbait: One of the most productive baits I’ve ever fished. Because of the quicker retrieve, you can cover lots of ground very quickly. The lipless crankbait has a unique ability to pull fish out of the middle of the water column. Any time of year, this will almost always be the first bait I throw in a pond just to see how active the fish are off the bat.
  3. Popper: Hands down the best topwater bait. The commotion a popper can make when properly fished is often enough to convince a stubborn fish to bite. One of the most popular situations I use this bait is when I notice a lot of Largemouth Bass surface action already. 
  4. Swimbait: The swimbait is the closest you’re gonna get to replicating a Bass’s real prey. If you can learn to fish a swimbait correctly, you will be almost unstoppable in ponds and lakes during warmer months.
  5. Spinnerbait: Along with the lipless crankbait, the spinnerbait is another great middle-water column bait. Like the lipless, it has an effortless retrieve, however, it does cover ground slightly slower just because of the nature of the bait. Again, this is a bait I will use as my first bait in the water when I pull up to a spot.

Expert Tips for Maximizing Lure Effectiveness

Although I shared a good bit of tips for lure presentation in the past two sections, there is one overarching theme that I want to highlight before moving on. At the end of the day, fishing with lures for Largemouth Bass is going to come down to one factor—are you replicating the Bass’s natural prey well? That is the entire point of the artificial bait industry. Can we create something that looks so real to the fish that we can convince it to bite it? Having this in mind while fishing artificially changes everything. With every cast, you need to be thinking and practicing how you can best fool this fish into thinking this bait is real—don’t get lazy. Let me give a couple of examples starting with a frog. In real life, a frog is not going to be able to swim across a pond at top speed the whole way, instead it’s going to have to take breaks. Thus, you must reflect this in your retrieval speed. Don’t get lazy and reel that thing in immediately. Make sure you’re adding in pauses to better entice the fish. I’ll give one more example. Say you’ve seen that the bluegill in the pond is a lot closer to the surface than normal. Bring your swimbait up to the right depth. Don’t fish a bluegill imitator that’s out of place—the Bass are going to be more hesitant to bite. My final piece of advice for optimizing lure performance is to not be cheap in your tackle. If you’re cheap, it will cost you. Invest in a nice rod and reel combo and enjoy the fishing.

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Common Mistakes to Avoid

One of the biggest mistakes I and other anglers have made is being too stubborn to change lures. We all know that one go-to lure that “works every time.” Well guess what, it’s not gonna work every time. You have to be willing to change your strategies. DO NOT force a bait if it is not working, you’re just wasting time. Like I’ve said again and again, you must be willing to change and adapt to become a better angler, even if it means sitting down your favorite lure to try a new one. This being said, let yourself get outside of your comfort zone if your best bait doesn’t work. If the fish don’t want it, then change it.

User Reviews, Experiences, and Conclusion

I have fished for Largemouth Bass for a long time and as a result, I’ve formulated a pretty good tackle box that allows me to go out of the house and be confident I’m going to catch something. The top 5 lures that I recommended are a large part of this tackle box. Now a lot of my decisions on what bait to throw have come from the years of experience I’ve had, but other decisions are from knowledge gleaned from those who have been in the sport longer than I have. Don’t ever take other’s experiences for granted as they can offer extremely valuable insight. I’ll give you one example of this. For the longest time, I was a swimbait hater. I would never use them because I thought I could do better with my current strategies, and I stayed in this state of mind for a while. Then, one day while fishing with an older mentor, he introduced me to the swimbait. I’d never seen someone fish a bait so effectively. He outfished me by a significant margin that day and because of that, swimbaits will forever be a part of my tackle box. Yes, your own experiences are important, but remember that there will always be someone who knows more than you—heed their advice. I hope this article gives you a good grasp of some of the best baits to use for Largemouth Bass. Remember what I said, you’ve got to be willing to change strategies and baits to maximize success. I hope you enjoyed this article, and as always, tight lines!


Photo Source: All photos in this article were provided by expert Pierce Latta.

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