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Megabass Vision 110
A revolutionary jerkbait with realistic colors, sharp hooks, and great action.
Best Finesse Worm
Zoom Finesse Worm
This bait is subtle, effective, and can trigger strikes from wary fish.
Best Bass for Ponds
Z-Man The Original Chatterbait
The perfect bait to cover a lot of water and fish through vegetation.
The best bass lure can spark heated debates among anglers. Some fishermen like spinnerbaits more than jerkbaits and others prefer topwater over soft plastics. In reality, it is difficult to say this is the best bass lure because every bait excels in a particular situation. At the end of the day, emotion and personal preference play a huge role in selecting baits. But emotion should not factor in determining the best bass lure, only the facts.
Fluctuating temperatures, pressure systems, and conditions all impact fish patterns and feeding habits. A good angler should have a wide variety of lures to choose from depending on the conditions to consistently catch fish. As a general rule of thumb, moving baits like swimbaits and crankbaits work well on windy days, whereas finesse-style baits are suited for more clear water shallow applications. The most important question to ask about the best bass lures is whether or not they catch fish consistently. They should be durable enough to withstand multiple fish and be offered in a variety of colors for different situations. Here are some of my best bass lures that meet those criteria.
Best Jerkbait: Megabass Vision 110Best Finesse Worm: Zoom Finesse WormBest for Ponds: Z-Man The Original ChatterbaitBest Swimbait: Keitech Swing ImpactBest for Summer: Spro Bronzeye Popper FrogBest Smallmouth Lures: Roboworm 4.5” Straight Worm
How We Picked The Best Bass Lures
As a bass angler and fisheries biologist, I am around largemouth bass every day. I can attest that they are much smarter than they look. Bass can be picky and having a variety of lures to throw at them is the best bet to consistently catch fish. Start by covering all the bases with bottom, moving, and topwater lures. From there, use baits that match what the bass in your area are eating. Look for lures that have good action, are built to last, and are scented when possible. I took the time to find several of the best bass baits out there to keep you on fish. Here are the criteria I based my selections on:
Durability: How well will the lure hold up to multiple fish?Scent: Is the bait scented and how does it improve the lure?Action: Does the lure have a good action that attracts the attention of bass?Value: Is the lure worth the money or if it’s a soft plastic how many do you get?Hooks: Are the hooks sharp enough and strong enough to keep fish on?Application: What situation is best for this particular bait?
The Best Bass Lures: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Jerk Bait: Megabass Vision 110
Megabass Vision 110 Megabass
Why it Made the Cut: A revolutionary jerkbait with realistic colors, sharp hooks, and great action.
Size: 4-1/3 inchesBest Colors: Sexy Shad, French Pearl, Table Rock SPHooks/Lure Pairing: Comes Rigged with Treble Hooks
Realistic color optionsGreat action in the waterBarbs on the outside of hooks to help land more fish
In 2009, the world of bass fishing was permanently changed with the creation of the Megabass Vision 110. For the first time, there were realistic-looking jerkbaits with great action readily available and the result was apparent. Anglers from across the country started dialing in deep-water fish with a bait that could be worked slow or fast. Since then, the jerkbait market has been flooded with realistic options, but the Megabass still reigns king. I find the action of this bait sets it apart from others. Fished slowly, it can trick the most pressured bass into eating which is crucial in tournament situations. But when bass are schooled up and chasing bait, the lure fishes just as well with a fast retrieve. The bait has an erratic swimming action, due in part to the perfect balance, that mimics a fleeing baitfish. It is currently offered in 56 colors so you can match any baitfish out there including bluegill and perch. My go-to is sexy shad which works in a variety of conditions. The best time to fish them is the early season when bass are pre-spawn and looking to pack on the weight. But don’t be afraid to fish them in windy conditions when baitfish get pushed around and make easy meals.
Best Finesse Worm: Zoom Finesse Worm
Zoom Finesse Worm Zoom
Why it Made the Cut: This bait is subtle, effective, and can trigger strikes from wary fish.
Size: 4-1/2 inchesBest Colors: Green Pumpkin, Water Melon Red, and Black GrapeHooks/Lure Pairing: 3/0 EWG or 3/0 Shaky Head
Plenty of color optionsAffordableTwenty in a pack
Can usually only be used for one or two fish before the worm is destroyed
Trick worms are synonymous with bass fishing and are how most people get started. The Zoom Finesse Worm is my go-to worm whenever I tie on an EWG hook and start fishing slowly. A standard trick worm is around 6 to 8 inches and these have caught me a fair share of bass but nothing compared to the 4 ½ -inch finesse worm. This small worm is subtle with a slight bit of movement that piques the interest of bass of all sizes. If you want to catch a lot of fish, this is a good bet to do so. Don’t be fooled, this small bait can catch some tanks. Larger presentations have a tendency to spook big fish, dragging this small worm slowly on the bottom is a sure way to get bit. My preferred method of rigging is with a shaky head to get my bait down fast and add a little extra movement. As far as colors go green pumpkin is my go-to for clear water and black grape is an overlooked but extremely effective color for deeper and darker water.
Best for Ponds: Z-Man The Original Chatterbait
Z-Man The Original Chatterbait Z-Man
Why it Made the Cut: The perfect bait to cover a lot of water and fish through vegetation.
Size: 5/0 hook in 1/4 oz, 3/8 oz, 1/2 oz, and 5/8 oz Best Colors: Sexy Shad, Chartreuse/White, Black/Blue, Green PumpkinHooks/Lure Pairing: Paddle Tail Swimbaits or Crawfish Trailers
Easy to fishGoes through vegetation wellAffordable
Skirts can fall apart after a lot of fish
If I could only have one bait for pond fishing it would be the Z-Man Original Chatterbait. This is one of the most versatile baits available and is great for covering water. Fishing a chatterbait is simple, you cast it out and reel it in, which is great for casting and moving. The bait has a blade on the front that vibrates to attract fish and doubles as a weed guard to go through vegetation. Fished as is, it is effective, but paired with a soft plastic trailer and it’s deadly. I prefer fishing a paddle tail swimbait to mimic a fleeing baitfish but crawfish trailers work too. If the fish are lethargic and not willing to chase it down, you can drag it on the bottom like you would a jig. Popping it off the bottom makes the blade flutter and can entice fish to eat. If you like packing light, chatterbaits are a great way to minimize gear and cover all your bases in just about any situation.
Best Swimbait: Keitech Swing Impact
Keitech Swing Impact Keitech
Why it Made the Cut: An erratic swimbait that can be fished on its own or as a trailer on other lures.
Size: 2” to 4.5” inchesBest Colors: Electric Shad, Chartreuse White, and Electric Bluegill Hooks/Lure Pairing: Jig Head, EWG Hook, or Underspin
Comes in a variety of sizesScentedSwims great
The hook must be centered to swim right
When bass are dialed in on schools of baitfish, matching the hatch is crucial to landing fish. I’ve had days where a bait a half-inch too big means not getting bit. The Keitech Swing Impact is the best swimbait to match schools of bait in color and size at a fair price. It’s available in 2-inch to 4.5-inch sizes and over 45 colors so you can dial in your presentation. Even when bass aren’t schooled up it’s still a solid choice to throw for consistent results. You can fish the bait by itself on a jig head or an EWG hook for weedless presentations. This creates a natural baitfish silhouette with an erratic action. For a little more flash, rigged on an underspin you get the weight of a jig head and the addition of a blade that mimics a small school of bait. However, this bait really shines as a trailer with other baits. On chatterbaits and swim jigs, it adds the extra realism and profile that can dramatically increase strikes. I also find that if you flip it over and rig it upside down it has a much tighter action similar to a fleeing baitfish. Whether fished as is or as a trailer, I make sure to always carry some Keitech Swing Impacts with me.
Best for Summer: Spro Bronzeye Popper Frog
Spro Bronzeye Popper Frog SPRO Fishing
Why it Made the Cut: The best frog for making a disturbance with strong and sharp hooks to land your fish.
Size: 2.4 inchesBest Colors: Rainforest Black, Natural, Nasty Shad Hooks/Lure Pairing: Comes with Gamakatsu Hooks
Great popping actionCan work it slow or fastSharp hooks for landing fish
Cost more than most frogs
Summertime means hot days, warm water, and lots of vegetation. While it may seem impossible to get through the vegetation, the bass haven’t gone anywhere. Instead of going through it, I prefer to go over it with a frog lure. The Spro Bronzeye Popper Frog is my go-to frog lure for summer bass fishing. In the heat of summer, frogs are everywhere and bass key in on them. A popping frog like the Spro allows you to work your lure fast or slow. The lip on the frog chugs and throws water so a small twitch can still produce a lot of commotion. This is important because bass don’t always want it to work fast and traditional frogs can struggle to make enough commotion at slow speeds. What sets Spro frogs apart from others is the quality of the hooks. Built with Gamakatsu hooks they are ridiculously sharp which is a must when you need to bury the hook into a fish from far away. The hooks are also plenty stout to avoid bending one out when dragging a fish through thick vegetation. My preferred colors are natural or rainforest black, but in the case of these frogs, the action seems more important than the color.
Best Smallmouth Bass Lures: Roboworm 4.5” Straight Worm
Roboworm 4.5” Straight Worm Roboworm
Why it Made the Cut: A subtle and enticing soft plastic that smallmouth can’t resist on a drop shot rig.
Size: 4.5 inchesBest Colors: Pumpkin Punisher, Margarita Mutilator, Bold Bluegill Hooks/Lure Pairing: VMC Spinshot 1/0 or 2/0
Erratic actionSalt release systemUnique layered colors
Only ten in a pack
The Roboworm 4.5″ Straight Worm is one of my favorite smallmouth bass baits. You can fish this lure in a variety of ways including on an EWG hook like you’d fish any other bass worm. However, adding this to a drop shot rig is the best for consistently getting bites. The worm is soft and pliable resulting in an erratic wiggling action. When bounced on a drop shot rig it can mimic a dying baitfish or a fleeing crustacean. Smallmouth key in on this and can consistently be caught. For a good drop shot, bait scent is key and the Roboworms have a salt release system that tricks fish into holding on longer. When crawling a drop shot this can put more fish in the boat giving you time to feel the bite. For colors, I prefer the margarita mutilator for goby or crawfish imitations and the pumpkin punisher for shad and shiner imitations. Your best bet is to match the worm color to what the fish are eating and you’re on the way to catching fish.
Things to Consider Before Buying The Best Bass Lures
There are hundreds if not thousands of companies producing effective bass baits and it is overwhelming to sift through them all. Learning to recognize what makes a good lure like size, hook strength, colors, and application is crucial to finding the best out there. This will help save you money and frustration when picking out new gear. Here are a few things to look for in the best soft plastics and hard baits for bass fishing.
Read Next: The Pond-Hopper’s Guide to Fishing for Summer Bass
In the world of soft plastics, there are an infinite number of possibilities. Companies can make a mold of any shape and fill it with whatever color combinations they can think of. For worms, I like a basic worm shape between 4 and 8 inches long—it’s simple but it works. If you like fishing creature baits look for soft plastics with a lot of movement. Crawfish patterns with several appendages can trigger a reaction strike from a bass. . The next thing to consider is color. Generally, you want to fish dark colors in darker water and natural colors in lighter water. But if you’re unsure, green pumpkin is a safe all-around bet.
Hardbaits are lures with a solid plastic or wood construction—like crankbaits and jerkbaits. Hardbaits tend to be a little more pricey, so it is important to pick usable lures. You can tell a lot about a lure based on the components that go into them. The biggest consideration for me are hooks. A lure with sharp and sturdy hooks will help you land more fish. If a company didn’t skimp on the hooks it is usually safe to say they didn’t skimp on designing the lure. The next most important thing is movement. Unfortunately, the best way to test this is with time on the water. Some baits swim with a tight wobble while others swim with more vibration.
Match the Hatch
Matching the hatch can dramatically improve your catch rate. Learn what the bass in your area are eating and find lures that resemble it. Local reports can be a good starting point when trying to dial in baits. On the water, look for clues like a dead baitfish that can help you match your lure to what the bass are eating. When I fish a lake with a lot of shad, white swimbaits are my go-to for fish that are actively cruising for an easy meal. Come summer, ponds and lakes can be overgrown with vegetation that frogs love. Fishing a topwater bait or frog pattern can trigger a reaction strike from a fish waiting under the cover.
River smallmouth are a great way to expand your fishing techniques and experience new conditions. Max Inchausti
Q: What is the best bait for largemouth bass?
Finding the best bait for largemouth is not as straightforward as it seems. It depends on the conditions to find the right lure. If you find a solid lure for finesse fishing and a good moving bait, you can cover nearly all conditions. For finesse fishing, a trick worm like the Zoom Finesse Worm is a good bet to catch fish of all sizes. As far as moving baits a chatterbait can imitate most baitfish patterns effectively and covers a lot of water. From there you can always expand your tackle selection but these are the best starting points to catch fish.
Q: What attracts bass the most?
Bass are attracted by a variety of things such as vibration, smell, and sight. Of all these vibration and smell are the most important. For moving baits, lures with a lot of vibration can attract fish from far off. Bass can feel these vibrations in the water and will curiously investigate such offerings. When fishing more finesse-style lures, a good bass bait should have a scent to get fish to bite and hold onto the lure while fishing. This allows anglers to set the hooks before the fish spits it out.
Q: What smell attracts bass?
A lot of smells will attract bass but salt and garlic are two of the most important factors. Good soft plastics that are infused with salt and garlic produce a scent trail in the water that will bring fish in to investigate. When they do bite, a scented lure will make them hold onto the bait longer than an unscented one. If you want to add scent to a hard bait there are plenty of sprays that you can add to the lure to attract fish.
Q: Are bass top or bottom feeders?
Bass can be caught anywhere in the water column but it can depend a lot on conditions. When the water cools down bass will go deeper seeking more consistent water temperatures. If this is the case, the best baits are bottom baits which can drag past lethargic fish and produce a strike. In other instances, like first and last light, bass will move shallower in search of baitfish cruising flats. Here topwater lures like frogs or poppers are a good bet. Weightless swimbaits can also fool bass cruising the shallows.
Final Thoughts on the Best Bass Lures
The best bass lures can make all the difference when it comes to catching fish. If you know what the fish are eating, matching a lure to the bait will produce a lot of strikes. For beginners, I recommend choosing a variety of baits that cover the entire water column and experimenting with different techniques. The lures I selected will cover all the basic bass fishing situations and are great starting points. Give them a try and learn what fits your style of fishing best.
The post The Best Bass Lures of 2023 appeared first on Field & Stream.
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