GoWild's Bass Fishing Lures Guide | Lures, Rigging Types & Retrieving
By: Dylan Hayward
Bass fishing is one of my favorite activities to do. There’s nothing like being out on the water, the sun shining, and seeing a monster largemouth strike your lure. Then the long battle begins as you fight to bring him in. But it’s not as easy as just casting a line out and praying you land one. Bass aren’t dumb, and they wont bite at just anything. Lure selection, line set-up, types of rigs you’re using, all play a crucial role in your success to catch that next hog.
I have several friends that just pick random lures and cast them out hoping for the best, without being familiar with what the lures are. They should be used efficiently, not randomly. If you can learn how specific lures should be retrieved, what situations to use them in and what time of year they work best, you’ll be able to increase your odds of catching big bass dramatically. If you're just getting started into bass fishing, another great article to checkout would be this guide to bass fishing for beginners piece.
Types of Largemouth Bass Lures
It’s best to keep a good variety of lures in your tackle box when you’re on the water. There are a few types of lures that I have had great success with when bass fishing.
- Soft Plastics
All of these lures can be used effectively depending on a few factors, such as where you are fishing, what time of the year it is, the water temperature, etc. Knowing when and how to use them is crucial. For tips focused on bass fishing in ponds be sure to checkout this article titled "Pond Fishing Hacks | Find a Fishing Pond Near You & Catch Big Bass".
Jerkbait is one of my favorite lures to use during the pre-spawn phase as the bass are migrating towards the shallow parts of the water to prepare to lay their eggs. These lures sit near the top of the water, and get their name from how you “jerk” them to give them a lifelike motion.
I have found the most success when using jerkbait in colder temperatures, when the water is in the high 40s to low 50s. These lures also work best when the water is relatively clear. That’s not to say you can’t have success in warmer months with more murky water, however, there are better lures to use in those situations.
Crankbaits could be considered a year round bait, as they can catch the attention of bass at any time. But like jerkbaits, I have found that crankbaits are most effective in the cooler seasons such as early spring and late fall.
Crankbaits typically look like small bait fish that have a lip on the front that makes them dive deep as you retrieve them. Because of their design, I like to use them in deep water, although they work well in shallow pockets as well. One reason that I love using crankbaits is because they can withstand getting banged up on rocks and logs, as well as dragging along thick cover without getting snagged. For more information about the best crankbaits to use in the Spring be sure to check out the article titled "Top 5 Spring Crankbait Bass Fishing Favorites".
Using a jig is the most common way to fish for bass, and the reasons are evident. Jigs are extremely versatile and can be very effective in nearly all bodies of water. A jig is a weighted lure that consists of a skirt and generally has a worm or craw trailer that is most effective when dragged along the bottom. Jigs are great to use with a baitcaster when fishing in heavy cover. You can pick up this spinnerbait and jig bundle from GoWild to try out a jig.
Soft plastics are great baits that are often underappreciated. They can present themselves as worms, grub tails, crawfish, etc. These plastics come in a variety of different colors and can be rigged in several different ways to make them more enticing to bass. For more information about rigging and retrieving softplastics like Senkos checkout the article titled "Bass Fishing with Senkos: Tips for Rigging & Retrieval".
Spinnerbaits have a metal blade attached overhead that reflects light to attract bass from great distances. Most spinners feature a rubber skirt, although sometimes just a minnow style soft plastic. For an in-depth look at how spinnerbaits should be used and retrieved checkout the article titled "Bass Fishing with Spinnerbait: Presentation & Retrieval Tips".
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Bass Fishing Lure Rigging Styles
Knowing how and when to use specific rig styles can take your bass fishing success to a whole different level. There are a few tried and true rig styles that I have had tremendous success with and take little skill to master.
The Texas Rig is quite possibly the most popular rig to use on bass year round, and its consistency to catch monster bass make its popularity evident. This is an extremely easy rig style to learn and can be very effective when casting into heavy cover.
You’ll want to insert the hook into the top of the worm, pushing in about a quarter inch. As the hook pops it, you’ll want to make sure it’s angled at 90 degrees. Keep pushing until the eyelet is exposed. One of the greatest features of this rig is that it allows you to fish heavy cover without being snagged, so ensuring the hook is pushed back into the side of the worm is crucial.
The Ned Rig is by far the easiest bass fishing rigs to set up. This rig works amazing during the cold months such as in late fall and early winter, when the bass aren’t moving quite as much.
To set up, insert a mushroom jig head into the top of any plastic worm, ideally no longer than 4 inches. Rotate the hook out the side of the warm with the mushroom head laying flush with the top of the worm. Attach a 6 foot fluorocarbon leader with any common bass knot, however, a Uni-to-Uni knot works best.
Drop Shot Rig
The Drop Shot Rig is used by almost every professional bass angler, and for good reason. This is a great rig to use when you want to present a worm suspended just above the bottom.
To set up this reg, you’ll want to pass double line through the eye of the hook, leaving about 2 to 4 feet of excess line, depending on how shallow the water is that you’re fishing. Tie a Palomar knot to your hook, then take your tag line and pass it through the eye of the hook again, ensuring that your hook is now sticking out at 90 degrees. Tie your weight to the end of the tag line, and attach a soft plastic to your hook.
Retrieving Bass Lures
Each bass fishing lure has an intended method of retrieving, and without knowing how to do this, you run the risk of making an unnatural presentation, which might scare off the bass. Not only can you manipulate the movement of your lure to look more natural, but the erratic stops, jerks, drags, etc. can anger a bass to the point of attack, all resulting in what we’re going for, hooking a hog!
This is an obvious type of retrieval. You create a consistent speed as you reel in, and the lure does the rest. For lures such as crankbait, this is the ideal retrieval. As you reel, the crankbaits lip will create natural wiggling, which will entice a bass to strike.
It might seem counterintuitive to try to reel in your lure as fast as possible, but there are some lures where this is absolutely necessary. For example, a buzzbait needs to be reeled in relatively fast to keep the lure on top of the water as it creates a buzz on the surface and splashes water that really drives a bass crazy. The faster you reel, the different tones the lure will make.
Jerk, Jerk, Pause
This is a phrase you’ve probably heard before. With lures like jerkbait and poppers, cadence can be pretty important, as it creates attractive movement and gives the bass time to strike during the pauses. You can use your rod to create these motions as you reel in. A simple 3 jerk rod action with a three second pause in between can be very effective for Spring bass fishing.
Pop and Drop
With baits like soft plastics, they have a tendency to want to sink to the bottom. With the Pop and Drop retrieval method, you can create a motion that will get the attention of a largemouth and keep in the strike zone that you’re aiming for. This can either be done by a quick reel and pause as the lure falls, or even a simple pop of your rod to raise your plastic. This seems like too simple of a method, but as you figure out the cadence, it can be extremely effective.
When working on retrieval methods, it’s important that you take note of the gear ratio on your reel, as this plays a big part in the retrieval process. Gear ratios on your reel will essentially determine how much line you take in for each turn. Adjust these based on what lures you’re using and the movement that you’re trying to present.