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Buying bass tackle can be overwhelming. Just head into any fishing store (or even fishing aisle at a department store) and there are thousands of bass lures, baits, hundreds of rods, reels, combos, lines and equipment. You literally see fisherman standing there with a tough choice. What to buy? Pink ones, blue ones, pumpkinseed, watermelon...sometimes it is hard to know if it's a lure or a snack.

The Basics of Bass Lures

Spinnerbaits
Spinnerbaits are an all around solid choice in any tackle box. It is an early season favorite it is also a top performer year round. It is easy to cast and easy to retrieve. Some fisherman prefer it in calm weather, but windy conditions can be just as favorable. With a good stiff breeze it can enhance the spinnerbait appearance and trigger strikes when it seems nothing else will. One of the top bass lures is the spinnerbait.

Largemounth bass seem to love the spinnerbait, it is an easy to use lure that produces a consistent action. Usually used as a horizontal bait and mostly fished quick. It is a great lure for finding aggressive, actively feeding fish. Plus, its weedless design is easy to get in an tempt the areas bass love - the weeds! Another method is to allow it to flutter fall to the bottom, some fisherman find spinnerbaits can be effective down to 30 feet. Allowing the spinnerbait to drop can lure bass to strike that might be holding to cover.

Now of course spinnerbaits are available in a variety of colors. But, the most popular skirt colors being white, chartreuse and red/black. They are also available with different blades for a variety of water vibration. The Colorado blade produces the fiercest vibration and the willow-leaf the least with blade colors usually availble in gold and silver.

Crankbaits
Crankbaits are used to imitate the other fish that bass eat. It's not uncommon to find rows of crankbaits at the fishing shop with thousands of varieties and styles. Your best selection of crankbaits should cover various depths of water. Shallow, deep, sinking, floating.

Lipless crankbaits are a good choice. Mainly due to largemouth bass hitting them so consistently. Lipless crankbaits have a chamber for beads that rattle to attact bass. Usually fished as a countdown lure, generally sinking 1 foot per second. Count them down and reel them fast.

When choosing a lipped crankbait most largemouth bass seem to short, stubby baits. Choose a shallow, medium, and deep runner and you will be able to cover any water depths. Crankbaits can be worked slow, fast or anywhere in between.

Shad, perch and baby bass, silver, chartreuse, orange and red varieties of crankbaits will allow you to fish almost any waters.

Plastics
Starting out with plastic baits is intimidating. Hundreds of packs of plastic worms, lizards, frogs, crawfish in every color under the sun. Plastic baits are good for open water and heavy cover serving both active and neutral fish. Texas-rigging a plastic baits makes it weedless by burying the hook in the bait. It is very effect when fishing thick cover, such as weed beds, lily pads, brush and around docks. Cast it out and let it fall to the bottom. To retrieve simply hop it along the bottom. A largemouth bass will suck up these baits. Once the pressure of the fish is felt, drop your rod tip, give it a second and set the hook hard.

A good selection of worms, crawfish and lizards are common plastic baits suggest a sample of plastic baits, including six- and eight-inch worms, four-and-a-half to six-inch craws and a few varieties of six- or eight-inch lizards.

This selection should cover most bases, and the ability to add to your collection is almost limitless as your knowledge progresses.  Stick with the same color scheme as you did with your crankbaits, although adding blue, crawfish, and June bug hues will also add to the effectiveness of these baits.  Plastic baits require quality hooks. More times than not you are fishing this bait weedless, where the hook point is slightly embedded in the bait. Sharp, razor point hooks in the 1/0 to 4/0 range are most common and will generally fit most plastic baits.

Topwaters
Topwater fishing for largemouth bass is an exciting and visually thrilling technique to take to the lake.  No other technique can produce startling moments and long stretches of sheer anticipation as you can watch the bass following your bait.

There are many different styles of topwater baits available, although they all have one thing in common (besides being on top of the water), they all cause water disturbance. This water disturbance or wake is what drives the bass to strike.

You will find most topwater baits have either a prop to produce sound and churn the water (buzzbait, chuggers), or a concave mouth to throw water and create a popping sound (poppers) or have no sound or body mechanism whatsoever, relying instead on the angler's actions to impart movement and noise (cigar-style baits, walking baits).

Buzzbaits need to be retrieved with quick and constant, or as you guessed it... they will sink. Owning at least one bait in each of the three categories of topwaters will allow you to appeal to the bass' needs and wants, while also covering all the bases for topwater technique.  And technique with topwaters is generally the easy part.  Simply cast the lure out, allowing the ripples to subside, then retrieving your bait back with a series of pulls, jerks or steady reeling.  (Buzzbaits will need to be retrieved quickly on the surface of the water, as they will sink if you hesitate while reeling.)

Topwater baits appeal to active fish.  This can mean actively feeding on prey or actively moving throughout the water column.  Very rarely will you hook a negative mood fish on top.  (Conditions such as cold fronts, unstable weather, or severe heat coupled with direct sun overhead, are times when a topwater should be put back in the box in exchange for a plastic bait or jig and pig - odds are the fish will shun their nose at surface presentations during these times.)

Try not to spend too much time on color schemes for your topwater baits, most believe the fish is less interested in the color of your bait, and more so in the action on the water.  But, if the water is very calm and clear, more realistic colors should be used. Still water gives the fish more chance to inspect your bait before the strike.

Jig and Pig
What is a jig and pig rig? It is composed of a jig head and skirt and a pork trailer or most common now is a plastic "pork" trailer.  Add in a weed guard and this bait can cover a variety of conditions and into the thickest of cover.

The jig and pig is a "finesse-type" bait when the fish are tight to cover where you need to swim the bait into where the fish are holding.  This bait also works well during hot weather when bass will hole up in the shade for cover.

Flipping or pitching a jig and pig are common methods. Flip along fallen timber, work it around and under boat docks and banks.  Let it sink on a slack line until it hits the bottom, lift and hop the jig and pig to arouse attention.  Much like the plastic worm rig, a largemouth bass will inhale in a jig, leaving only a tap or slight pressure on the line.  Set the hook hard and quickly move them towards the boat away from cover they can attempt to retreat to.

Common colors for jig and pigs are black and blue, brown and orange and black and green.

Bass fishing does not have to be a complicated game if you know the basics of lure selection and techniques.  Knowing when and what to throw is half the battle in becoming a certified bass professor when out on your favorite lake.

Good Fishing.

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