I must receive hundreds of e-mails and phone calls from anglers all over the world living in the USA, Africa, Japan, Europe, Canada, Mexico and elsewhere asking what types of baits I use for catching big bass.
This is a BIG subject! for many anglers and I usually answer these inquiries suggesting a few different baits that will predominately perform for them catching bigger bass than they have caught before, especially when most of them explain what baits they are already using to catch bass. This is the easy part!
But next, they want to know how to present these certain baits around the many different structures in the many unfamiliar bodies of water that contain current, different water colors (stained, simi-stained, muddy, and crystal clear), vegetation, water depths, rocky areas, brush, cliff drops, and on and on. Yes, they seem to hit me with about every scenario an angler would come up against on any body of water.
In this article I hope to help some of the anglers that might be wondering the same things all these other anglers are asking about. One of the first things you need to know or at least understand is that you will have slow days on any body of water at just about any given time. This means that just because you may learn different patterns and techniques for catching big bass that will work great for you one day don’t necessarily mean that they will work the same the next. This could happen for many different reasons, but mostly because of the changing daily conditions such as rain, wind, clouds, pressure fronts, clear sky situations and water temperatures fluctuations.
I teach a 3-Day bass fishing school, which is located in upstate New York on Lake Champlain and Lake George. These are two totally different bodies of water. Lake George is an ultra clear lake. On a sunny day you can see the bottom in 20 plus foot depths. This lake offers deep bluff type fishing, weedy areas, many rock areas and different structures in shallow and deep water. It contains many docks, sunken ship structures, and there are some areas you can even find current.
Lake George is full of smallmouth and largemouth bass and any angler can catch bass in numbers if they know what they are looking for. Many anglers that I’ve talked with concerning a lake such as this are not sure how to fish it, especially a lake having the ultra gin clear water it offers.
Now, on the other hand Lake Champlain offers just about every type of scenario an angler could think of as far as bass fishing techniques go. You can find all the things that are offered in Lake George in Lake Champlain and much more such as shallow and deep water areas, muddy, semi stained, stained, or clear water color situations, shallow and deep thin to thick vegetation areas, fall-downs, drop-offs, rocky areas, bull rush and lily pad areas, channels, rip-rap areas, different bottom contours, chestnut weeds (or grass), narrow and wide open waters, current and docks. It is truly an anglers paradise.
Now, the reason I am explaining this is because between these two lakes, there probably isn’t any body of water in the USA that won’t offer at least some types of these areas except for tidal situations. Lake Champlain has an over abundance of largemouth and smallmouth bass within it. I would definitely rank both of these lakes in the top-10 of the bass fishing lakes in the nation.
I would like to explain one more thing before we get started with some of the “Bigger Bass” type baits. Although I will mention a few of the types of baits that I use when working with my students and charter clients. The one thing I won’t do is mention brand names of baits, but I will address types of baits.
Now, let’s get on with it! First, you want to make sure you have the proper equipment to use with some of these baits such as rods in the right size, action, and stregnth, reels of the right speed and style, line, weights, colors, etc. I personally use a stronger line for most of my bass fishing, even in ultra clear water situations than most anglers.
Many of my former students have learned real quick that a 17lb. test clear transparent mono line will catch just as many bass in clear water as a 6 or 8lb. test will. With the right equipment I will use 14lb. test clear transparent mono line, the smallest pound test line I will use for bass fishing, for my cranking rod I use 17lb. test clear transparent mono line for just about everything else except for the 20 and 25lb. test which I use for my jig’n’ pig combos, Carolina Rigs, and some Texas rigged baits.
My favorite topwater baits and baits that I encourage any angler interested in big fish are full size walking baits, buzz baits, soft jerkbaits, hard jerkbaits, prop baits and large 6 inch tube baits. These baits have caught more larger bass for me and my students and charter clients than most other top water baits on today’s market.
As far as subsurface baits go a jig ‘n’ pig combo is my personal favorite when tipped with either a pork chunk or a 4 inch twin tail grub. My second favorite subsurface rig is a Carolina rig armed with either a 6 inch lizard or a 4 inch tube. My third choice would simply be a Texas rigged twin tail grub or a 4 inch plastic craw.
I certainly would use these baits anywhere in the world to catch bass because they have proven themselves time after time for catching quality bass. I had a student last season from Arizona who attended my 3-day bass fishing school, and this fellow had been bass fishing for over 10 years. He told me before he enrolled in my school that he fished for bass just about everywhere in the nation (he’s retired), but he never caught a bass over a 3 -1/2 pounds.
After spending three days with him, teaching him things he had never tried, seen, or didn’t know how to present, he caught 5 bass over 4 pounds in one day! Then, a few weeks later I got a e-mail from him letting me know that he won his first bass tournament ever, competing with a field of over 75 boats, and, using some of the techniques and baits that he was taught at my 3-day school.
The baits I mentioned really work! Even when I travel out of state to teach seminars and demonstrate baits for bass clubs I have these baits with me because I know they work wherever bass are found.
I love to see the look on women, men, boys, and girls faces when they hook into a bass. It makes it worth it all just watching people have fun and the excitement they experience is second to none! I hope that this information encourage some of you to use bait you might not have tried. Sometimes you may not get as many strikes with the baits I’ve mentioned as you would with different baits, but when you do get hit it will usually be a quality or larger than average bass.
Roger Lee Brown, The Bass Coach operates a fishing school and guide service in New York. You can check him out on the web at basscoachfishing.com.