Successful bass fishermen select lures based on the current fishing conditions and they’re always prepared to switch when conditions change. But which lures do they tie on, and why? We’ve rounded up the top 5 bass lures that, as a group, address almost every bass fishing scenario you may encounter.
If you’re ready to drill down into one of the specific lure categories, select it from the menu above. For each category, we’ve provided a guide that covers lure features, size and color selection, effective techniques, and more.
Now let’s get into the 5 best bass fishing lures!
5 TYPES OF FISHING LURES FOR BASS?
1. BASS JIGS
Bass jigs come in first place because they’re the most versatile lure on the planet and considered best bass lures of all time. With a few different sizes, you can catch bass with jigs in almost any conditions, during any time of the year. They allow you to cover an entire body of water, from shallow brush to deep humps and ledges. Many experienced bass fisherman view jigs as the single best lure in existence.
Swim jigs, finesse jigs, flipping jigs—there are specialised jigs for every circumstance. Considered to be the best weedless lures for bass but the most versatile jig is the common casting jig. The jigs shown above are casting jigs, and they have the classic characteristics that make this lure so versatile: a compact, weedless design, a flowing skirt, and a sharp, sturdy hook. With a casting jig, you can flip or punch into heavy cover, skip under docks, swim it, or probe deep structure.
Even with a skirt, bass jigs are almost always enhanced with a trailer of some kind. Typically, a chunky crawfish imitation is used, like a Chigger Craw. A finesse presentation may call for something more subtle, while a swimming technique works best with a paddle tail swim-bait trailer like a Grass Pig.
It may be the unique profile or the fact that jigs can be fished where other lures can’t be, but jigs catch a lot of fish, and they’re especially effective on larger fish. Given that jigs are a great go-to option for almost any conditions, it makes sense to gain experience with various jig fishing techniques to get the most out of this remarkable bait.
Our Pick: One fantastic example of this category is the BiCO Original is the Jig from BiCO Performance Jigs.
This 3/8 oz jig features a versatile weedless design that’s great for flipping, skipping under docks and brush, or swimming through light grass cover.
One feature every quality jig must have is a strong, sharp hook, and BiCO Performance Jigs come equipped with Owner hooks, the best hook the industry has to offer. These lead-free jigs are made in the USA using the highest quality materials, and they’re our top choice in this category.
For more details about BiCO Performance Jigs, watch this short video:
2. PLASTIC WORMS
Filling in the number two slot are plastic worms. These multipurpose baits look, feel, and in some cases smell and taste like live prey. When bass hit a plastic worm, they tend to hold on tight.
Plastic worms are the ultimate bait when a weedless technique is needed. When used with an offset hook, you can hide the hook point just under the surface of the plastic, allowing for a completely snag-free presentation, whether you’re fishing heavy grass or thick wood cover. When you set the hook, the point can easily exit the soft plastic to penetrate the fish’s mouth.
There are several time-tested rigging methods for plastic worms, each refined to address the specific fishing conditions you’re facing. Some of the most popular are the Texas rig, the Wacky rig, the Carolina rig, and the Drop Shot rig.
Two of those rigs stand out as the most effective and adaptable—the Texas rig and the Carolina rig are both extremely weedless, sink to the bottom fast, and can be worked very close to cover and structure. The main difference between these two rigs is their target depth, with the Texas rig excelling in shallow to moderate depths and the Carolina rig producing better as a search bait in deeper water.
Another great thing about plastic worms is the massive array of styles, sizes, and colors you have to choose from. Matching the action and appearance of whatever the bass are eating is critical, and a wide selection of sizes and colors helps you do that.
Our Pick: One of the best plastic worms of all time is the Senko Worm by Gary Yamamoto.
This classic stick-bait style worm is adaptable to many techniques, and it’s been helping fisherman catch bass for years. You can fish it weedless with a Texas rig, and it’s deadly rigged weightless on a Wacky rig.
If you’re going weedless, be sure to pick up some Gamakatsu EWG Offset Worm Hooks, or, for the ultimate Wacky rig, check out a useful Wacky Rig Kit.
Our third-ranked lure is the spinnerbait. It’s the ultimate search bait, allowing you to cover a lot of water in a short amount of time. They are relatively weedless, cast like a bullet, and can be fished at any depth. You can burn a spinnerbait near the surface, probe deep structure, or fish it anywhere in between those extremes.
It doesn’t hurt that spinnerbaits are very easy to use. With a basic, steady retrieve, beginner fisherman and old pros can attract large numbers of fish. The blade creates a flash and vibration that calls fish in from a distance, then the skirt and coloured head help seal the deal by creating the appearance of a fleeing baitfish.
The design looks weird at first—like an opened-up safety pin with a blade on one end and a hook on the other. Despite how they look to us, fish can’t resist hitting a spinnerbait. The flash and vibration trigger violent strikes from fish in almost any conditions.
One thing that adds to the spinnerbait’s versatility is blade selection. The size, shape, and number of blades significantly impacts the vibration produced. The two most common blade styles for bass fishing are Willow and Colorado. Willow blades are narrow and long, better at creating flash than vibration, whereas Colorado blades have a wide, rounded profile and are cupped more deeply, displacing more water when they rotate and producing a strong, thumping vibration.
Spinnerbait color selection can help you match what the fish are chasing, but size is a more important factor, greatly impacting the depth at which the bait will run. A common size spinnerbait is the 3/8 oz variety, but you can choose a 1/4 oz version for a smaller profile that runs shallower or go for a heavy 3/4 oz model to probe the depths.
Our Pick: One of the best spinnerbaits on the market is the KVD Finesse Spinnerbait by Strike King.
It’s designed with the valuable input of top pro Kevin VanDam, a man who has dominated numerous big-money tournaments using a spinnerbait.
The KVD Finesse Spinnerbait is versatile, with features that allow you to fish it in a wide variety of conditions, making it one of the greatest all-around spinnerbaits you can find.
4. CRANK BAITS
Another great lure type that allows you to search for fish is a crankbait. They’re great at imitating fleeing baitfish, and you can cover a lot of water very quickly. Whether you run a crank bait in open water, use it to probe shallow cover, or dig down to the bottom to fish deep-water points and humps, these hard baits catch fish.
For many pro fisherman, a crank bait is the first choice for triggering strikes in any conditions. The versatile baits are available in a huge range of shapes, sizes, and weights, with models that run as shallow as 2 feet or as deep as 25 feet. Selecting the right crankbait is of the utmost importance, so having several options in your tackle box is critical.
While crankbaits, by definition, have a wide, wobbling action that attracts fish, in most cases, you’ll want to make your bait glance off cover, like the limbs of downed trees, or structure, like the gravely bottom of an underwater hump. When a crankbait deflects off submerged objects, the quick, erratic movement is often what triggers bass to strike.
Our Pick: Strike King’s Square Bill Crank bait is one of the most effective crankbaits you can buy.
It’s a medium-depth bait that you can work through cover with ease, and it provides a lot of feedback during the retrieve, so it’s a great entry point for novice crankbait fisherman.
The Square Bill Crankbait is a relatively shallow diver, running at depths between 3 and 6 feet. You can get it in 3 sizes and a wide variety of colors to help you match your local baitfish.
5. TOPWATER LURES
Witnessing a topwater strike is one of the greatest things about bass fishing. So, you may be asking, why do topwater baits get ranked fifth instead taking the one- or two-spot? The short answer is, they’re just not quite as effective in multiple conditions as the other baits discussed.
Topwater baits are designed to make a ruckus on the surface, creating popping or gurgling sounds and splashing like an injured baitfish. Presenting such a display to a bass is like waving a red cape in front of an angry bull—the strike is often extremely violent!
Now back to that down-side we mentioned: the topwater bait’s inherent lack of versatility. They stay on top of the water, so their effective depth is limiting. Plus, they work best when bass are actively feeding and willing to chase baitfish; that means during the low-light conditions of early morning, dusk, or on a very cloudy day. Wind can also impact a topwater bait’s visibility to fish, with subtler baits excelling on calm days and louder, splashier baits performing better in a light chop.
Our Pick: Widely considered the king of topwater baits, the Rebel Pop-R is our top pick.
This bait is deadly when bass are aggressively feeding on top, but its time-less popping action has a way of enticing less active fish as well.
The Pop-R casts a mile, and you can vary your retrieve until you find out what the bass want. Sometimes a slow steady cadence works best, while other times, a more erratic presentation is called for. One way or another, this bait never fails to elicit exciting topwater strikes.
BASS FISHING LURE SELECTION
If you ask a group of bass fisherman what the best lure is, you’re likely to get a wide range of answers, some might say cheap bass fishing lures are great. That doesn’t mean some of them are wrong, it just means different bodies of water call for different techniques. There are also personal preferences that come from increased confidence in one bait over another, or simply a fisherman’s love of a particular technique. Some bass enthusiasts get so good at using a certain bait that, for them, that bait becomes their secret weapon—the first bait they try every time they hit the water.
Black bass are the most popular gamefish in the US, and bass anglers spend more money on equipment than anglers seeking other species do. This fact has led fishing equipment manufacturers to relentlessly pursue innovation and modernisation in lure design. The result is what seems like an endless stream of new products that claim to help you catch more largemouth and smallmouth bass.
While the industry’s approach occasionally brings us a truly new type of lure, a more common result is real improvements to the core set of time-tested lures. Some of the hottest new designs may be better at attracting fisherman than fish, but the enhanced quality that lure makers are putting into the classic lures, like the five types we covered here, is adding true value to the range of lures available to us today.
COST VS CONFIDENCE
As you shop for tackle, you’ll find that some lures cost much more than others in the same category. For example, a Lucky Craft crank bait will hit your wallet much harder than a Bomber crankbait, but fisherman can achieve great success with either lure. It all comes down to confidence—if you know you’re using the right type of bait, in the right place, at the right time, you’ll present it with care, and usually catch fish.
One of the nice things about bass fishing is that it can be fun at any level of sophistication. Whether you’re stealthily stalking bass from the bank, working your way down a tree-lined shore in an aluminum jon boat, or blazing from one main lake point to another like the tournament anglers do, bass fishing will always be a fun day on the water. And the playing field is more level than you may think! A novice angler using modest equipment has as a good a shot at catching a lunker as the most experience pro does.
CHOOSING THE BEST TYPES OF BASS LURES
A tackle box full of lures can sometimes create more questions than answers, especially for beginner anglers. Too many choices can make decisions more difficult, but arming yourself with some basic knowledge about which lures work best under specific conditions can really help narrow down the selection.
With this website, our goal is to help fisherman of all skill levels select the right bass lure every time. By giving you some basic information about the five most popular lure types, we hope to help less experience fisherman accelerate their fishing education. And for all you old pros out there, a refresher never hurts; sometimes it can force you out of old habits to revisit a tried and true technique from your past.
All the lures we discuss on this website have stood the test of time, each having a proven record of catching bass and winning tournaments for many years. Our goal is to provide unbiased information that helps bass fishermen find the best lures for every style of bass fishing.