The name “bass” normally means several species in the sunfish family, such as the largemouth and smallmouth bass. Because of factors such as seasonal movements, habitat variation, water clarity and temperature, there are many types of bass lures. There is a great deal of crossover but the best lures for bass fishing can be grouped into these categories.
1. Soft Plastics
Soft plastic or “rubber” bass fishing lures are extremely versatile in their shapes, sizes, and uses. For example these bass lures can resemble plastic worms like a finesse worm or a stick bait, or other creatures such as with plastic grubs like the curl tail grub. They also can appear fishlike such as with a swimbait, tube bait, or fluke baits.
Bass jigs are a weighted head and single, skirted hook, commonly paired with a soft plastic trailer. If tipped with a minnow resembling soft plastic, they can be retrieved in a swimming action much like a swim bait. If tipped with a soft plastic creature bait such as a crawfish or frog shaped pork trailer, known as jig-and-pig, anglers will pitch jigs through, in, or around dense vegetation and then hop the jig across the bottom to draw strikes.
Of the many types of bass lures, the strikes from surface action is a heart-stopping favorite. During low light conditions of morning and evening, splashing, noisy lures such as buzz baits, topwater poppers, or a topwater walking bait can be great first choices. As the sun gets higher in the sky and temperature increases, anglers can continue the floating thrill by taking advantage of bass retreating under vegetation and casting a top water frog.
These bass baits target hungry fish more mid water column, usually in more open water. Made primarily out of hard plastic or wood, these bass fishing lures can be used to cover water in a couple of ways. Some types of bass lures such as a square bill crankbait or deep diving crankbait have a lip or bill that makes the lure dive and wobble when reeled in. A lipless crankbait such the classic Rat-L-Trap, sinks already and when retrieved, it also tightly wobbles, often drawing strikes when allowed to flutter down during a sudden stop of retrieving.
I forged this broad category by grouping several types of metallic lures such as spoons, spinnerbaits, tail spin lures, blade baits, and inline spinners. Even though it has “jig” in its name, I include the bladed jig here because the blade is usually made of metal such as with the Chatterbait, and the action which is similar to a vibrating crankbait, also is similar to a spinnerbait because of the flash it produces, consistent with this category.
Although they also can be great bass fishing lures, I’ve omitted a category for flies because they are more often associated with trout. New lures, or at least variations, are constantly under development. For new bass fishing lures for 2022, watch for product releases through various outlets during ICAST, the world’s largest sportfishing tradeshow in mid July.