We have all been there, standing in front of the bait section of our big retail store, or shopping on Amazon and looking at thousands of different lures, plastics, flies, and hooks wondering, “What the heck should I even Get!?”. First, don’t worry about this feeling, every angler goes through it, and we continue to go through it because there is just a ton of products out there that say they are the best. Is there really a best bait out there that you should use to catch bass, and baits out there that won’t catch any at all? How can you really believe a company when they say their worms are the best, or their top water lures will make a bass jump out of the water for it? Let’s take a look at some answers to these questions and get you on the right track of finding the best bait to use, and when to use it so you can catch the most bass for buck.
Depending on your style of bass fishing, and where you will be fishing will be a good identifier of what the best bait to use is. In general, Soft plastic worms, brush hogs, crawfish, and lizards will always win in a pond or lake situation. I have caught more bass on soft plastics than I have with lures. There are many different ways to fish plastics, and lots of different variety making them one of the best baits out there for catching fish. Lures like swimbaits, jerk baits, and spinner baits will also do you very well if you fish them right, and of course, if you see bass jumping, it might be time to throw a top water. The winner for best bait collectively has to go to soft plastics for their versatility, and variety for the cost. There are so many different techniques and varieties that you get a lot more bang for buck, and you have a lot more chance to makethat bass want to bite than just throwing a lure out and bringing it back.
Plastics are the clear winner when it comes to best bait and there are a few different factors of why we chose them. I am going to give you a brief break down on why we chose this as the clear winner as best bait.
- Cost :The average cost of a bag of soft plastics is around $3.00 to $5.00, and the average cost of a lure is $12.00 to $20.00, so you could get four to six bags of different plastics for the price of a lure. Fish are picky, so they might not bite on a certain color or length every day, so having a few different lengths and colors in your bag will help out tremendously.
- Variety: There are thousands of different colors, specks, lengths, and shapes of soft plastics. Some sink, some float, and some even smell. For this reason, you could spend thousands of dollars and never have all of them. This gives us an edge on the bass, and if one color is not working, we just bait up a different color worm and start throwing it with possibly more success.
- Technique: You can do more techniques with soft plastics than lures, and also different types of rigging. With soft plastics you can let it crawl along the bottom with a nice slow twitch, to making it move faster looking like a worm swimming through the water. You can even twitch it just right to look like an injured worm or lizard.
Lures come in at our second place trophy because they also have a huge variety, but are much more expensive, and have only so many ways of fishing them. They are still a effective way of catching bass, but are not as versatile as soft plastics. Here are couple of different varieties of lures that you can look into getting if you are just not a plastics person:
- Crank Baits
- Swim Baits
- Jerk Baits
- Spinner Baits
- Top Water
When it comes to fishing, your technique is going to be what catches the most fish. Even if you buy every single bait on the market, it won’t amount to a hill of beans without practicing your technique. It is always good to have a few different techniques when you are using both plastics and different lures to try and make the bait do different things underwater. Try a small twitch, or tug a few times and let it sit to see if a bass will come up and try to attack it. Hold your rod up in the air and twitch it, or hold it tip down and slowly pull to the left or right a few times. Depending on what rigging you have setup will determine what type of techniques you can use. If you are using a lure, try different reel speeds to see if the bass want to hit something moving through the water very quick, or if they want something that is just a nice slow cruising speed that is easier for them to hit. Practice different techniques and let us know which one works best for you, so other people can give it a try.
When it comes to soft plastics like worms and crawfish, there are a few different types of rigging you can do with your line. Here are some you might already use, and maybe some you have not heard of that you might want to try out:
- Texas Rigging
- Carolina Rig
- Drop Shot
- Wacky Rig (with or without weights)
- Neko Rig
We have had much success with all of these rigs, but I must say that the Drop Shot rig, and the Wacky Rig are my favorites. All of these riggings make the baits do different things in the water to mimic live and hurt baits, so you may want to try some of these out.
For most of the year, you can fish whatever bait you want and have a high chance of a hungry bass wanting to attack and eat it. The one time of year that makes soft plastics number one for us is Spawn time. During the spawn, bass will come closer to shore and start making their nest, and will not actually want to eat anything during this time, but wait, that doesn’t mean you wont catch any bass. The great thing about soft plastics is that if you rig them right, you can make your bait actually act like a predator, and can drag your bait along the bottom right over the nest. This is going to put the bass into extreme defense, and will want to kill anything that is intruding on their nesting area. Even though they may not be hungry, they will still strike at anything that comes close, and that is a great time to set the hook and land a nice fat bass. I do want to point out to be very careful with the bass during the spawn so that you do not injure the mother, or any eggs she might have. If you feel the bass strike, learn how to set that hook quickly as its just trying to kill and not eat your bait.
Attractants And Sprays
Fish attractants that can be sprayed or poured onto your bait have had anglers at a difference of opinion over the years. Some say it really does attract the bass, while others say it really doesn’t work. I have used different products like Gulp and
BaitMate, and have had some good success with them, but it is not the end all be all fish magnet they let on. Since a lot of these attractants are made to smell like the same food they feed in fish hatcheries, you might have some very high success rates of stocked lakes and ponds. If you are out fishing a non stocked lake or pond, it may or may not work for you. If you do not want to try an attractant spray or oil, you can always grab yourself some cheap PowerBait Worms that have the scent already in them, and give that a try. Since they come in all shapes, sizes and colors, it could just be an added bonus to your plastics game.
Soft plastics won our best bass bait prize because of cost, functionality, and variety. I do not suggest you only have soft plastics in your tackle box, but you should have a decent selection in your arsenal of fishing tackle. Lures came in at second place,but only because of the price point per lure, and the lack of rigging and techniques that you can use with them. Let us know your thoughts and comments below, we would love to hear from all of you on what you think the best bass bait is.