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redbirdsfan44

The Only Baits Any Beginner Needs to Catch Fish

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As an employee of a sporting goods retailer I often see many different anglers ranging in experience. Just in the last week I was lucky enough to run into Elite Series Pro James Elam while I was working, but many times I get the chance to share some of my knowledge of fishing to some new guys and gals. A lot of new anglers seem timid to ask for help or even embarrassed of their lack of knowledge of the sport. Some may say I'm over passionate about fishing, but it's my love of the sport which drives me to want to educate and teach others of my experiences and knowledge. With so many different sources of information on the web a beginner can be bombarded with too much information at one time. So here I am to answer one of the most commonly asked questions from beginners and experienced anglers alike: "What are the fish biting on?" 

My answer to that question can vary a lot depending on the time of year and experience of the angler. In many cases, whether it's a newbie or a seasoned vet to the sport, I will tell them at least one of these four baits I'm about to list. In my opinion these are the only four baits a beginner needs to have in their box to get out and start catching fish immediately.

The spinnerbait/Chatterbait

The spinnerbait can be contributed to more fish catches than just about any other bait on the market. It's an easy bait for a beginner to pickup because it requires a simple cast and retrieve and is relatively weedless. It can produce fish no matter if its fall, winter, spring, or summer. The chatterbait is very similarly fished like a spinnerbait though more commonly fished from spring through fall. 

The square bill crankbait

A square bill crank can produce fish spring through fall and lots of them. Though it is not very weedless it does require the same simple cast and retrieve as the spinnerbait and chatterbait. The color options are somewhat limitless so going with a simple bait fish pattern or the ever popular chartreuse black back pattern is a safe bet to landing some bass.

The Senko

The senko is a no brainer best bait for any new angler partially because your options to fishing it are practically neverending: weightless texas rig, wackey, ned rig, drop shot, neko, it goes on and on. A couple packs of Green Pumpkin Senkos (or other brand stick worm) and you can be out catching fish today. 

Why are these the best baits for a beginner you might ask. Well, because all of these can be thrown on either spinning or baitcasting gear and none of them require a monster hook set. Bites are fairly simple to detect on all of these set ups and getting out and catching fish is what the new guys need to build confidence in their abilities. I will say it again these are the best four baits for a beginner in my opinion and I'm sure there are others that would work just as well, but these are the ones I have chosen. So I hope this was worth the read and I hope it helps you get out and catch some fish. 

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A few more that are easy to fish and are very productive when the time is right:

Original Rapala

Lipless crankbait, specifically the Red Eye Shad.

Jitterbug

Heddon Zara Puppy

PopR.

 

:fishing-026:

 

 

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Topwaters like those that Roadwarrior mentioned are great for beginners because they can see the lure and and any strikes.  It cuts down on any mystery of what is going on underwater.

I was surprised that the OP is from the Midwest and didn't include the Ned Rig.  It has become one of the lures I put in a beginners hands because it is nearly impossible to fish wrong and draws bites from darn near anything in the area.

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2 hours ago, OCdockskipper said:

I was surprised that the OP is from the Midwest and didn't include the Ned Rig.  It has become one of the lures I put in a beginners hands because it is nearly impossible to fish wrong and draws bites from darn near anything in the area.

I believe I mentioned it under senkos but yes that should be one highlight technique within that category. 

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Don't want to sound negative, the right lure is only good fished at the right location and time. Selling a new angler that uses spinning tackle for example eliminates 3 or the 4 suggested recommended lures. Advice should take into account what tackle is being used, where the angler intends to fish and at what depth the bass are currently actively feeding.

The lowly worm has caught more bass than all other lures combined, Senko is only one type of soft plastic worm.

Welcome to the BR site.

Tom

 

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Can you please educate me, someone that primarily uses spinning tackle, why I am limited in the different types of lures that I am using.

I'm having a lot of fun using all different types of lures with my spinning outfit.  

 

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1 hour ago, cutbait said:

Can you please educate me, someone that primarily uses spinning tackle, why I am limited in the different types of lures that I am using.

I'm having a lot of fun using all different types of lures with my spinning outfit.  

 

You can use any lure with spinning tackle, provided you have a reel with gearing that is powerful and durable enough to retrieve high resistance baits like big cranks and spinner baits and the strain of horsing fish from heavy cover with braid using frogs and punching. And provided you can find a rod suitable for those techniques or afford to have a custom built on a casting blank. Other than that I guess you could use one for anything but a baitcaster is going to have a lot more power with any resistance bait and it's a lot easier to find a casting rod in long lengths that are best for many techniques, moderate or moderate fast crankbait actions, and heavier powers

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3 hours ago, redbirdsfan44 said:

I believe I mentioned it under senkos but yes that should be one highlight technique within that category. 

I missed that, sorry about that.  However, I do believe there is a difference between a piece of a Senko on a small jig head and a Ned Rig.  At least for me, the former does not get bit as often as the latter.

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Umm I catch fish on all those lures using spinning tackle ? I only have one bait caster and almost exclusively use spinning tackle. I catch fish on cranks all day using it.. I don't see how using spinning tackle eliminates the OP's suggestions. It clearly does not. I use all of those baits on spinning tackle with success on a regular basis. 

I think the most Important "beginner's lure" not mentioned is the IN LINE spinner. Like a mepps. I've caught more species on that lure than any other . Nothing even comes close. 

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That's a pretty good list, but the two lures that I would add that I really haven't found a time the don't catch fish are a tube and a 3-5" grub. They are pretty idiot proof and a very economical way to get into fishing. There aren't many trips where one of the two wasn't in the water for me, because they both are versatile and flat out catch fish including the big girls. 

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How come lipless cranks weren't mentioned by the OP ? :dontknow:

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Spinning tackle that most entry level anglers have are not designed for high water heavy resistant lures like square bill crank baits and spinnerbaits or chatter baits and the line rod power is marginal to get good hook sets with heavy wire hooks. If you cast and retreive lures that can't unwind the line as it twisted by the spinning reels bail each revolution, the line becomes twisted beyond use quickly.

To over come line twist a swivel should be used or braided line. To achieve good hook sets with heavy wire hooks you need line at least 10#  test and rods with enough power like 3 or MH.

Agree you can use a spinning outfit if the rod, reel , line combination performs the task. Gary Yamamoto only uses spinning tackle and I can't think of any other pro who uses spinning for crank baits, spinnerbaits or chatter baits. Spinning is ideally suited for weightless Senko's and several lightvweight finesse presentations suited this type of tackle.

You all should be busting my chops for saying 3 out 4 when it's 2 out of 3!

Peace.

Tom

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Original Floating Rapala....split shots....assortment of plastic worms and of course.....a Popper and walking bait since they are fun, but I would have fun setting people up with a starter kit when I worked at a tackle shop.

I would always ask what the budget was and then I would always figure since they usually were fishing ponds or small lakes I would also suggest the senko since it is easy to fish, but in pressured areas like many private lakes, everyone uses a senko, but we had a worm bar so for .10 each you could load someone up with enough plastics for the year for $10 bucks.

I would always suggest inline spinners since they get bit, topwater, but I would encourage them to learn to get comfortable with weightless worms and I would suggest shallow running cranks to keep it simple, but the Rapala or Rebel Minnow was usually the first lure I would suggest because people love to have lures....

Best part of the Floating Minnow baits is you can fish em topwater, wake em, walk em, or crank them down to 3-4' like a crankbait, or add a split shot or put them on a carolina rig especially if fishing rivers....I would always try to give baits they could use in the brackish water as well so they could catch some Snook as well, but good list.

I could always tell who was reading magazines or watching videos when they would come in new and want  Glide baits or the BBZ....I had to do my job and sell them, but if they were on a budget I would have to be honest and tell them that the line was really the most important part because strikes are only fun if you land a few.....

I found most new anglers would come back and always want more toads and boot tailed swimbaits because I would tell them to fish them on the surface, cover water, and count to 3 after the blow up....Everyone loves Topwater, it is hard to convince them that the best way to get started is to target shallow bass, and suggesting casting to the banks is often hard for people to comprehend.  They assume if they can get that boat right in the middle, that is where the big fish are....

I use Medium Heavy spinning rods for Jigs, Cranks, any bait with 20lb braid or 10lb braid, sometimes 10lb mono on a 4000 Reel. Most MH spinning rods are rated up to 3/4 so you can't really fish big baits, but the saltwater inshore spinning rods can handle 1 ounce and are light. I never see saltwater guys using casting gear, and you catch fish much much larger than the world record largemouth with much bigger lures at times....A nice Stradic with a good quality MH or H spinning rod can get you through mats if needed imo. If you can land a huge Tarpon, a 5-8lb bass should be alright.

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Interesting how some think you are limited in bass fishing when using a spinning reel.I use all the lures mentioned above with spinning reels and have a high success rate with spinning tackle.I even throw big spinnerbaits and buzzbaits on spinning gear which is supposedly "incorrect" to do as well(yet I somehow manage to catch bass this way).It all boils down to personal preference and there are plenty of fishermen that do well with spinning reels just like fishermen do well with baitcaster reels for bass.

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7 hours ago, soflabasser said:

Interesting how some think you are limited in bass fishing when using a spinning reel.I use all the lures mentioned above with spinning reels and have a high success rate with spinning tackle.I even throw big spinnerbaits and buzzbaits on spinning gear which is supposedly "incorrect" to do as well(yet I somehow manage to catch bass this way).It all boils down to personal preference and there are plenty of fishermen that do well with spinning reels just like fishermen do well with baitcaster reels for bass.

I am with you, I have fished pretty much every technique with a spinning reel in my time. I have found that a baitcaster is easier to use with cranks due to gear ratios and the handle reels fast easier, but that doesn't stop me from only using a spinning reel/rod when bank fishing tossing everything from plastics to cranks on the same spinning stick and catch a mess of fish while I am at it. I may miss a few because the rod is not perfect for the lure, but since I am out there to just have fun, it is much easier to carry one stick vs 4 especially if I wade in.

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. Well @WRB that makes sense. And something I didn't really consider. I almost always use braid . I like the strength, casting ability , and sensitivity . And almost always use 15lb-20lb test because of a big one that broke me off at the boat using much smaller lb test. So the things you described being needed to be done if you chose to use spinning reels with cranks , I already do.. and have done for years. Unknowingly. 

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38 minutes ago, cgolf said:

I am with you, I have fished pretty much every technique with a spinning reel in my time. I have found that a baitcaster is easier to use with cranks due to gear ratios and the handle reels fast easier, but that doesn't stop me from only using a spinning reel/rod when bank fishing tossing everything from plastics to cranks on the same spinning stick and catch a mess of fish while I am at it. I may miss a few because the rod is not perfect for the lure, but since I am out there to just have fun, it is much easier to carry one stick vs 4 especially if I wade in.

I agree with you 100% on everything you wrote,especially the part on having fun when bass fishing.Some say that spinning reels don't have strong enough components to effectively fish  bigger lures such as heavy spinnerbaits,but that's not 100% true with all spinning reels.There are many people that enjoy casting big saltwater plugs with size 4000 spinning reels and these people have no problems catching big powerful saltwater gamefish.

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Wait . no Beelte spin ? I thought all Bass fishermen cut their teeth on these things .

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The Only Baits Any Beginner Needs to Catch Fish

I don't know about baits (lures) but I start most of my students with one simple technique. 

Texas Rigs!

With a Texas Rig I can cover the entire water column, it is effective year round, it is productive in all water clarity's, deadly post frontal & bluebird skies.

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Everyone likes to recommend senkos for beginners, but I like to start them off with a moving bait.  Something like a spinnerbait or a crankbait.  Fish usually hook themselves with these.  A topwater is not a bad option either, since it's very interactive.  Once they're used to feeling the strike, I'll move on to feel baits.  I prefer to use something weighted, but hooks easily.  Wacky jigs with a finesse worm, or a jig and grub is a good option.  I want them to feel bottom, and how long it takes to get there.  Finally, I'll show them weightless options, like senkos.  By then, they will have developed a feel for semi-slack line bites.  Too often, I'm removing deeply swallowed hooks when I introduce them to a senko from the get go.  It's this experience that led me to the path I outlined above.

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As already mentioned, I would add a lipless crank.

And I can (and often do) throw all of these on spinning gear with no issues.

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Once the beginner master the Texas Rig all other techniques are easy to learn.

Proof's in the pudding! ;)

download (1).jpg

imagejpeg_2_37_zps6ybwcihc.jpg

received_627533310757827.jpeg

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All fantastic advice and information, I'm constantly learning here.  From my own experience, and it should be noted that I'm not a tournament/competition guy; when it comes to Texas rigging, there is no shame in crimping down the barbs on the hook for me.  I do occasionally get some fish that are hooked deep, and it's easy to get the hook out and nice to see them swim away.  Of course I do have fish that throw the hook, which is part of fishing this way.

Also, if I could go back and really be a true beginner again, having no lures; knowing what I know now, I would have about 90 percent less stuff.  It's good to be prepared,however, you don't want to be a slave to your possesions and spend time constantly sorting and organizing and getting things ready.  At this point, I take just some basic lures and try to have more fun.

Love seeing the smile on the kid's face above, that captures how much fun it should be.

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