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To many, a day of bass fishing is like a day in heaven. Catching a large bass can make that day even more exceptional. To capture the biggest bass, you need to have a variety of lures and baits in your tackle box. The best bait to catch bass depends on factors such as the season, weather temperatures and water conditions.
In this article, we will explore how the seasons affect bass, compare hard versus soft bait, and dive into the best bait to catch bass.
Bass fishing can take place in any season of the year. The availability and ease of catching bass, however, does vary based on the season and temperature of the water. Bass Pro fisherman Kevin VanDam has stated to bassmaster.com that his success at finding bass in any lake is due to his use of a seasonal guide.
You must choose your bass bait based on the available food for the bass at that time. For example, during the winter months, a bass’ metabolism slows down, as does their eating. So, to catch bass during the winter months, using a large, slow-moving bait and lure is essential.
During the fall, shad migrate toward creek channels, and this is prime feeding time for bass. Make sure to choose a bait such as a spinnerbait or crankbait during the fall because they resemble shad.
Spring and summer months see an increase in the variety of food bass enjoy, so using topwater, crankbait and spinner baits get the most bites. Fish move from more shallow water to deeper water as spring moves into summer, so it is a good idea to have a bait that can be used in both shallow, medium and deep water during these months. A quick reference bass seasonal feeding cycle infographic can be found here.
Most fishing subscription boxes will include both types of baits. Below you will find examples of both hard and soft baits.
Choosing the right bait at the right time can be tricky. Let’s take a look at the top baits for bass fishing.
Topwater baits come in a variety of colors, sizes, and designs including frogs, jitterbugs, and poppers. These baits are most commonly used in the summer months when bass are most active. Many fishermen and women enjoy topwater bait because you can watch the approaching fish.
Poppers require a bit more skill to get the correct movement, whereas frogs or other soft plastic topwater baits can simply be reeled in slowly while gently moving the rod. Since topwater baits work well in grassy areas, many come in the form of weedless lures (where the point of the lure is not protruding out).
One of the most common types of bait used is the jerkbait. It gets its name from the slight jerking motion the fisher makes to attract the fish. Jerkbait comes in a variety of colors, sizes, and in both soft and hard.
This bait is versatile because it can be used in all water depths. However, it is most effective in clear water.
Resembling baitfish and shad, crankbaits come in shallow, medium and deep-water styles. These are also best used during the warmer months when the bass is more active.
Crankbaits can be used to cover a lot of water, so they are popular among tournament fishermen and women. These work best around large objects such as boulders and logs.
Crankbaits work best when using the method of a quick reel, pause, then followed by another quick reel to tease the fish. Crankbaits are an example of a hard bait.
When reeled smoothly, the spinnerbait resembles a bug on the surface of the water. Spinnerbaits are recommended for use underwater during very hot weather when bass may be hiding in deeper water because the spinners create a vibration which catches the bass’ attention.
These are great to use in cloudy water because the bass can still see the movement. Reel a spinnerbait in slower for a deeper lure, or faster for a shallow one. Mystery Tackle Box usually has a spinnerbait in it each month!
These baits are best used during the colder months when bass are not as active. Jig and Pigs resemble a crawfish and are meant to be drug along the bottom. They are popular for use in riverbeds, lake bottoms, and other shallow areas.
These are also one of the most straightforward baits to use because no particular technique is needed, just reel them in slowly so the mimic the movement of a mudbug. Jig and Pigs are another examples of a soft plastic bait.
Most fishers learn to fish as a child using worm bait. Worm bait is a classic and using worm bait for bass fishing can yield some great results. However, it is essential to keep in mind that most fish like worms, so you may end up catching some fish other than bass.
Plastic worm baits come in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. They can be used in deep or shallow water and are simple to use. Plastic worms can also be rigged in several different styles, based on your preference.
Live worms can be the most cost-effective than plastic worms. Using nightcrawlers is the best for largemouth bass fishing; typically, one between 6-7 inches. You can also purchase nightcrawlers if you do not feel like catching them yourself.
After taking into consideration the season, water condition, and the area, the final decision of which lures and bait to use always comes down to personal preference. What might be the best bait for catching bass for one person, may not be the best for you.
Casting and reeling styles vary by person, so try out multiple types of bait to find what works best for your style. Make sure always to have a variety in your tackle box, so you are prepared for any conditions.