The Pros Go-To Baits When NOTHING Else Works

How-To Fishing Videos
We asked top pros what their "go to" confidence bait is. You might be surprised by their candid responses. Watch to find out.

Items mentioned in this video...

Jerkbait: Smithwick Floating Rogue - 

Worm - Zoom Trick Worm - 

          - zoom Z-Drop - 

          - Zoom Swamp Crawler -

YUM Christie Critter - 

Dropshot hook: VMC SpinShot Drop Shot Hooks -

Dropshot weight: Finesse Drop Shot Weights - 

Jighead: Buckeye ballhead jig - 

Shakey Head: Shakey Head Jig -

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Glenn: Hey, folks. Glenn May here with, and today I'm asking the elite pros questions that you submitted on our forums. Let's see what they have to say. 

Next question is from George Greebe from Davie, Florida. He says, "When fishing gets really tough in a tournament, and you have tried almost everything in your arsenal, what's the one confidence bait you turn to?"

Kevin VanDam: Well, there's never just one bait. You know, for me, I wanna look at the conditions that I have. You know, the water clarity, the time of the year, the habitat type, the depth, and I'm trying to pick lures that are the most efficient for that set of conditions that I have on a given day. So, to say I have one go-to bait when everything else has failed is not really the case. I'm gonna use what I think is the most efficient to cover the water that's in front of me, based on the conditions that I have. 

Glenn: Now, how do you get that confidence?

Kevin: Really it comes through experience. You know, we all have our own confidence bait. So, like, for me, in clear water when things get real tough like that, I know if I got to be able to cover water and be efficient, a jerk bait's a go to bait. Well, guy over here Casey Ashley it may be a jig, or a shaky head or something like that. There's no one answer for every situation. You know, there's always multiple ways to catch the bass, but you have to have confidence in what you're doing. So, you know, that comes through experience.

Glenn: What's the one confidence bait you turn to?

Brand Palaniuk: I would say one bait that I feel like I can always get bit on is gonna be a drop shot. No matter where we're at in the country, almost every single water condition other than maybe a just super dirty muddy nasty situation where those fish can't see anything, I would say 90% of the time a drop shot is gonna be my go-to.

The reason being I can apply a lot of different weights for different situations and depths. I can also change the bait, whether it's a seven-inch Zoom Trick worm, a Swamp Crawler that's a little smaller, all the way down to a Zoom Z-Drop. I can apply those across different situations and different conditions to be able to get bit as well as color. So, you can take a drop shot and do a lot of different things with it to be able to apply it to where you're efficient.

Glenn: What is the one confidence bait you turn to?

Gerald Swindle: 3/8 ounce ballhead jig made by Buckeye. It's just a ball headed jig with a 4/0 Gamakatsu hook in there. I usually throw brown and green. Ninety-nine percent of the time it's just a base color and then I use the Zoom green pumpkin twin tail or Z-Crawl trailer. That's my confidence bait, so when I get backed against the wall and I'm gonna struggle, I'm gonna struggle with what I feel the most confident in that I can make something happen. 

Glenn: Now, what makes that bait so versatile?

Gerald: It's just something I've throwed forever. You know, I can throw it and reel it, I can burn it down a retaining wall, I can skip it under a dock, I can cast it 25-foot-deep in a brush pile, but when I've got that in my hand I feel like I can do everything, still be productive, and if there's a fish there I believe I can catch him. 

Glenn: And that's the real key actually. When the fishing's really tough, you have to have confidence in what you're fishing in.

Geral: You have to have the ultimate confidence in what you're fishing. You can't ever second-guess or doubt what you're doing. So, to me, fall back on whatever that bait is. Fall back on your confidence and then ride with it. 

Glenn: What's the one confidence bait you turn to?

Justin Lucas: It's gonna be a six-inch...six and a quarter inch Berkely Havoc Bottom Hopper on a shaky head, drop shot, or whacky rig. One of those three. I mean, when I'm struggling I'm pulling out the spinning rod. It happened at the Potomac River last year. I pulled it out and ended up winning that tournament.

So, you know, it's one of those things that as we start to get more people involved in the sport and there's more pressure on these lakes than ever before, I think a spinning rod is becoming a bigger factor and I tend to pull it out a little bit quicker than everybody else. 

Glenn: What would you say to folks that are like, "Ahh, I hate spinning gear. I'm never gonna throw that."

Justin: You're missing out. And I don't care. If you don't wanna throw a spinning rod, don't throw it. Because it just helps me. So, that's what I tell them. People that refuse to throw one, that's fine. I mean, not gonna hurt my feelings.

Glenn: But your confidence bait is on a spinning rod

Justin: If the world ended tomorrow I would grab a spinning rod, a bunch of worms, and I head for the hills. Like, I know I could go catch fish on that and survive. So, that's my number one right there. 

Glenn: Perfect. Great answer.

Glenn: What's that one confidence bait you turn to?

Jason Christie: If I'm fishing shallow, not only confidence bait, but confidence technique, if I can pick up a flipping stick, I feel like that I’ve already... If I'm struggling I'm probably gonna pick up a flipping stick if there's something that I can flip. For one, I think you're getting that reaction bite. That fish is not gonna choose whether he bites or not. If he's there, he's probably gonna bite, and as far as a bait, we have a new bait that came out, I think, three years ago and I designed it. It's called a Christie Critter. I guarantee you, you can open that rod locker right there and not only will I tell you that there's at least two rigged up. I bet you they're lying on the top where they get accessed first. So, that's absolutely my confidence bait. 

Glenn: Even with cold fronts, and, let's say, the water temp has dropped 10-15 degrees that's what you pull out?

Jason: Yup. I mean, you know, we're talking about the big picture not a specific. Obviously, if the water temperature dropped to 40 degrees, I'm probably not gonna pick up a Christie Critter, but day in and day out, you know, normal spring and summer events, I'm gonna pick up something that I know if that fish sees it he's gonna eat it. 

Glenn: And confidence is the key to all of this. 

Jason: Confidence is the key not only to this, this sport, all sports. I mean confidence is...I mean...the boys that walk up and ask the girls if they wanna go to a date got to have confidence. And I didn't have a lot of that because I wasn't the prettiest guy on the street. 

Chris Zaldain: I'm a west coast guy. George. Drop shot or a little wacky rig. I mean, I don't care if the water's dirty like here in Conroe or you can see down 15 feet. If I'm struggling out there, I'm not afraid to break out the six-pound test line, a little six foot ten mega bass spinning rod, and a 2500 series spinning reel, and fishing like a weightless wacky rig. Sometimes even a four-inch worm, but most of the time it's a five or six-inch weightless worm just pitched to the most obvious piece of cover. Yeah, a guy may have went down that stretch or that dock with a spinnerbait or crankbait, but I feel like I can go in behind guys with a little wacky rig or little drop shot rig and just sit there, and shake that worm, and talk that fish into biting. 

Glenn: Great technique. Great follow up technique too. 

Chris: Yeah. Absolutely. 

Glenn: And there you have it. Great questions from the pros answering your questions that were submitted on the forums on For more videos like this, check out our YouTube channel or visit