As a fishing guide I have to consistently find new ways, but simple ways to catch fish. I guide on small to med sized rivers. One thing I have seen over the years is that Largemouth and Smallmouth bass can become conditioned to some baits. But there is always 5 basic baits I will reach for no matter what the newest fad is at the time. It is also the baits I rely on to get my clients bit. No matter how many times a bass sees these baits they will almost always take them.
The 1st is the Jighead and Grub Combo. I believe Field and Stream once called this the best lure of all time. There is so many color options out there that you’ll be able to find some colors that work for you. I have three bread and butter colors I always have on me. White, Chartreuse, Motor Oil. Rig them on a simple round jig head in 1/16oz with a size 1 or 1/0 hook. The beauty of this bait is that you can fish this bait has a search bait just casting and retrieving it or you can hop it along the bottom. It is also a deadly bed bait. I have even used this bait for jig fishing suspended smallies in a deep quarry. If you can think of a technique you can probably fish this bait that way.
Key times to Fish: Winter, Spring, Fall
My second all time favorite is a soft plastic jerkbaits. I fish a Zoom Super Fluke and Jr. size weightless on a EWG hook. I fish the pearl color a lot I also reach for Tennessee Shad and Pumpkin colors. I use this bait almost all year round, but someplace this bait really shines is during the Pre-Spawn through Post Spawn. These are deadly baits for bed fishing. I will cover that at a latter date.
Key times to Fish: Spring, Fall
The third go to bait for me is the 3/16 oz spinner-bait in the compact size. Booyah and Strike King both make great models for this. I use this bait to cover water fast. If you ever seen KVD burn water with a spinner-bait you get the idea of how I fish this. I will cast it to every current break and slack water I can find. This is key in the dog days of summer when smallies in these river will spread out and find some shady cool area to spend the day time.
Key times to Fish: Late Spring, Summer, Fall
Fourth is the smallie classic the tube. I fish 3.5 and 4 inches most of the time. One thing I look for is that the tube has been cut 50/50. What I mean it that it is 50% body and 50% tails. The brands I use are Extreme Bass Tackle and Economical Bass Baits. EBB makes a hot pink color tube and I have done really well on that color. So don’t over look those crazy colors. EBT makes tri-laminat tubes I love, Great Lake Perch, St. Clair Goby NFT.
Key times to Fish: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Last and my fall go to bait crankbaits. The two go to baits for me is the Bandit Footloose or Series 100.One thing I do with these baits is take the front hooks off so I don’t get hung has much on the bottom. I fish these baits and bang bottom hard. If it get stuck I let off and let the current free it for me. I get a lot of strikes right when I do this. You might be wondering why I don’t use a deeper driving bait.Well it is really simple I snap and crack way to many of those bills no matter what brand I have tried.
Key times to Fish: Late Summer, Fall
If you don’t have these 5 baits in your tackle bag you might want to go pick a few up before spring is here.