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Okay so I know the bait you're using is really important but my question is how do you know which bait to use if they are similar. In my arsenal of baits I have a lot of different soft plastics and when I'm trying to fish slowly on the bottom I normally go off of color but does the bait actually matter? Like if I am throwing a texas rig what is going to decide whether I tie up a craw or ribbon tail. And when I do fish slow What is the difference of fishing a fitness worm, jig, or any slow moving bait, if the color matches and sizes is it just personal opinion or is there better times to throw a craw over a worm and so on?

 

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I'll say that there are at least 3 factors that I am concern with when choosing a soft plastic bottom contact bait before I pick color.

1. Type of Profile (worm, craw, creature, tube or fluke/shad)     2. Size ~ example Baby Rage Craw, Rage Craw or Rage Lobster   3. Drop speed ~  mostly dictated but the weight size.  One could also get into the baits action (a lot or a little) as well; such as a straight tail worm vs a curly tail or Thumper type tail.

When to use each of the above for me revolves around season, water temp & clarity and depth I'm fishing.

Selecting colors for me is pretty easy as I basically only fish 3 maybe 4 different colors of bottom contact baits, a Green Pumpkin, Black & Blue,  Green Watermelon-ish, and Black.  I will use colored Pens & bait dip to highlight baits when the need arises as well.

I'm usually selecting a color that either closely matches the bottom color & / or the prevalent bait present.

So that's the usual plan and it has served me OK - but there have been times where all of this goes right out the window and a weightless wacky rigged Pink Senko is the only thing they'll eat all day.  And when I run out of that bait, my day is done.

:)

A-Jay

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Pretty much every body of water in this country has crawfish, shad, or some type of sun/pan fish. It's in your best interest to know what those look like in that body of water at all four seasons. If not default to green pumpkin because it doesn't really look like anything specific, but it kind of looks like everything. A basic shad color is also a good default.

Water clarity isn't a big factor to me unless it's under under 2ft., then it's still not a big factor but I know I need to be right on the bank and right on structure. Water temperature tells me what pace I generally need to fish at. Cold = slow, warm = fast. That's not always true, but generally it's true. 

I only fish three or four colors and I match those to the ambient light situation, not the color of bottom. If I'm in shade, dusk/dawn, or overcast I'm fishing dark colors. If it's the reverse I'm fishing lighter colors. As for what bait and profile fish what you are comfortable with. 

For someone starting out pick four bait styles. Topwater, reaction, suspended, and bottom. It doesn't matter what they are, they all catch fish. Then fish the situation. If the bass are suspended you could use a T-rig or wacky Senko, underspin, flutter spoon, etc. Pick one, use it exclusively, get good at it. Then expand the arsenal, and that applies to the other three styles. 

Finally, you just have to fish a lot. The lakes you are on will change drastically through the year. 

 

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85 % of the time I fish a soft plastic bait is a 6-7 inch straight tail worm ( used to be Mann's Jelly Worm nowadays it's a Trickworm ), why 85 % ? Oh well, cuz I'm right 85 % of the time about my bait selection.

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I use three things to choose my bait:

1.) Bass activity and time of year. Its hot here in L'siana. And by hot, I mean we were measuring 98 degree water in early August. That is too hot even for the brute redfish we have. When the temps get hot, I find the bass here dont wanna work hard for a bait. They want something easy to chase or something slow. When they are like this, I have luck on curly tailed worms Texas Rigged, or something like a Brush Hog or Z Hog.

2.) Water clarity. Bass can't hit what they cant see. In dirty water, even dark colored baits (which are more preferred as you are looking to silhouette the bait against the dark water) are hard to find, unless they put out vibration. In clear water, I want something that is both a lighter color like a watermellon red or a charteuse, and also putting out vibration. My current favorite is the Jackall Scissor Comb and a tandem spinnerbait. In dirty water, I go back to the spinnerbait and a lipless crank, either colored like forage fish, or like a crawfish.

3.) Food in the area. Bass that have never seen a mullet or shad won't recognize the colors or actions of a bait that imitates them. And if bass are keyed in on a forge fish, they might avoid things like crawfish or even frog imitations. In fly fishing, we call it "matching the hatch". If i see shad, mullet, or bluegill, I am going to the spinnerbait or crank again, usually the spinnerbait.

And remember: fish what you have confidence in. If you like it and it works, but people say you are using the wrong bait, tell them to make like a googin and go blow a head gasket: you fish the way you want.

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17 hours ago, A-Jay said:

I'll say that there are at least 3 factors that I am concern with when choosing a soft plastic bottom contact bait before I pick color.

1. Type of Profile (worm, craw, creature, tube or fluke/shad)     2. Size ~ example Baby Rage Craw, Rage Craw or Rage Lobster   3. Drop speed ~  mostly dictated but the weight size.  One could also get into the baits action (a lot or a little) as well; such as a straight tail worm vs a curly tail or Thumper type tail.

When to use each of the above for me revolves around season, water temp & clarity and depth I'm fishing.

Selecting colors for me is pretty easy as I basically only fish 3 maybe 4 different colors of bottom contact baits, a Green Pumpkin, Black & Blue,  Green Watermelon-ish, and Black.  I will use colored Pens & bait dip to highlight baits when the need arises as well.

I'm usually selecting a color that either closely matches the bottom color & / or the prevalent bait present.

So that's the usual plan and it has served me OK - but there have been times where all of this goes right out the window and a weightless wacky rigged Pink Senko is the only thing they'll eat all day.  And when I run out of that bait, my day is done.

:)

A-Jay

Haha Extreme Philly Fishing? My normal colors are quite similar. Green Pumpkin, Watermelon Red, and Black & Blue. You just have to find what they are eating that day. One day they will go crazy for a green pumpkin senko, and on other days they will only go after the baits that I would have never thrown.

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As far as bottom contact baits go, I don't think it makes a whole lot of difference what the bait resembles.  The locations you target and the type and speed of the retrieve, to me, are more important. You can hop, crawl, drag, swim, or dead stick any soft plastic rigged any way you want. If it's moving too fast/slow or they want a horizontal vs. a vertical presentation, they're going to ignore it no matter what it is. 

I base my decision on which style bait to use by the way I present them. A falling or swimming presentation gets a bait with a lot of action, while for dragging or deadsticking, less action is better IMO.  That's why a tube is my favorite soft plastic. I can work it both ways.

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Smallmouths , I usually fish a craw . Largemouths I usually fish a worm . I could go with lizards , craws... but worms seem to put greater numbers  in the boat .

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Knowing what bait to throw is very simple...

I just ask the fish - they are never wrong. ?

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