The Must Have Lures | Bass Angler Magazine
BAIT #1 The flipping jig has been a tried and true staple for bass anglers for many years, but for some it has fallen by the weigh side for Texas-rigging a variety of soft plastic baits. Although the Texas-rig may sometimes garner more bites, the jig is commonly referred to as a big bass bait. The bigger profile and different presentation than the Texas-rig makes the jig a must for anglers to have rigged up and ready to go at all times.
For me a ½ oz black/blue or green pumpkin jig is a stand by lure for me, why? Well it works around any form of cover or structure that you may be presented with. It can be skipped underneath boat docks, flipped around laydowns or stumps, punch through vegetation, or worked methodically around underwater ledges.
The jig triggers a strong reaction bite out of a bass, as many times when your jig falls to the bottom, the bite will occur right away. This allows you to cover a good amount of water quickly, because if you don’t get bit on that initial fall, you can reel in your jig and make another flip.
Many anglers will lose confidence in the jig if they don’t get bit right away or miss a few fish, this is when it is important to not get discouraged and keep fishing that jig. Sticking with a jig and learning to fish it will pay off down the road as your rod will be loading up with a big bass in no time.
Having the correct gear makes fishing a jig that much easier, which is why I’ll use 20 lb Seaguar TATSU Fluorocarbon as it is very abrasion resistant and super sensitive, meaning I’ll be able to feel lite bites. The rod you use when jig fishing does depend on angler’s preference and if they’ll be focusing on skipping docks or not. If you are going to be in tight around cover, then a 7’ rod could be used, compared to a standard 7’6” flipping stick when flipping wood and vegetation.
I’ve become acclimated to a longer rod, so I use the 7’6” Wright & McGill Tessera Series Heavy Cover Rod, which has micro guides, which I feel allows me to feel what my jig is doing better and am able to make longer flips than with standard rod guides.
What makes a jig versatile is that you can change out what type of trailer you put on it. For me, I’ll begin with a Zoom Super Chunk, if I determine the bass want a more compact presentation or I’m skipping docks, I’ll downsize to the smaller Jr. size.
BAIT #2 A lure that was developed by accident from angler’s who were catching bass when reeling in their flipping jig back to the boat, is the swimming jig. What makes swimming a jig so effective is that it is a versatile lure that you can fish it shallow or deep.
When I’m fishing shallow I’ll use a 1/4 oz RC Tackle Swim Jig around inside weedlines, boat docks or through lily pad fields. When my graph gets beyond the five or six foot mark, I’ll switch over to the 3/8 oz size and fish this along outside weedlines, crawl it over sand flats or work it up the backside of an underwater point.
By changing up your retrieve, color and trailer, the swim jig can easily mimic whatever the bass are feeding on. If they are feeding on shad, then a white jig and a small swimbait as a trailer, retrieved with a rod twitch every so often. On the opposite side of the spectrum is if the bass are feeding on crawdads, then a brown or pumpkin colored jig slowly reeled and bounced along the bottom with a craw or double trail grub trailer is a good choice.
BAIT #3 Whether you are fishing shallow or deep, having a finesse type lure on the deck of your boat is a wise choice. One of the most versatile finesse lure options is a shaky head jig. With a shaky head you have the ability to change the weight of your jighead to the depth of water you are fishing and how dense the cover is you need to get through.
The majority of time, I’ll use a 3/16 oz jig, cast it out, let it hit the bottom and slowly drag it back, ensuring it keeps contact with the bottom at all times. If you are fishing offshore, it can be cast along weedlines, drug over rock piles or dropped into brush piles. Fishing shallow? No problem, the shaky head can be cast underneath docks, along laydowns or right up on the bank.
Like the jig, the shaky head allows anglers to rig a variety of soft plastics on them. The most common plastic that gets threaded on to the business end of a shaky head jig is a finesse worm. This streamlined, compact presentation triggers inactive bass into biting. I keep a wide array of colors of Zoom Finesse Worms on board, as sometimes a natural color, like green pumpkin is hot, while other times an unnatural Morning Dawn color is what they want.
If you are looking to bulk up your finesse presentation, small creature baits can be rigged on a shaky head as well. With a craw that has some action on the end of it, you can swim a shaky head back to the boat, or drop it into denser shallow water cover. Some of my favorites are the UV Speed Craw or Z-Hog Jr.
When you begin getting ready for that next fishing tournament or trip, you’ll have those rods you rig with those hot baits, but don’t overlook these staple lure choices that can be used at any time you are on water.
Glenn has been fishing tournaments for over ten years, spreading his passion and knowledge of the sport via articles and videos. Glenn’s sponsors include: Buck Knives, Ducky Products, Humminbird, Jeff Belzer Chevy, LakeMaster, Mercury Marine, Minn Kota, ORCA Coolers, Plano, Rayjus, RC Tackle, Seaguar, Simms, Snag Proof, The Rod Glove, TroKar, Wright & McGill and Zoom Baits. For more information check out www.glennwalkerfishing.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/glennwalkerfishing.