Five Favorite Summertime Bass LuresFive Favorite Summertime Bass Lures Here are Dion Hibdon’s five favorite lures for catching summertime bass from top to bottom.
By John Neporadny Jr.
When the weather gets hot and sticky, Dion Hibdon checks the bass’ summertime menu to determine which lures to throw.
“The forage is always a big deal,” Hibdon says. “You have to be around the food.” The Missouri pro knows in his neck of the woods that shad and crayfish are the main staples of bass during the summertime so he opts for lures that best imitate the forage.
During low-light conditions, Hibdon finds bass hugging the bottom so he selects crayfish-imitating lures. “As the sun comes up and the current gets to flowing a little bit then I go to those shad-oriented baits,” Hibdon says.
Here are Hibdon’s five favorite lures for catching summertime bass from top to bottom.
The former Bassmaster Classic and Forrest Wood Cup winner favors a topwater popper in open water when he sees bass on his graph suspended within 10 feet of the surface. He considers cloudy skies with a little chop on the surface as ideal conditions for throwing the topwater popper.
“The bass are so shad oriented that they will suspend up high in the water column,” Hibdon says. “When you see those fish on the graph within 10 feet or less of the surface, those fish are probably committed more to the surface than they are the bottom. So you can draw them to the top with a big topwater.” He believes those bass want an easy meal and a large topwater plug floundering on the surface imitates a dying shad.
If the weather is calm, Hibdon with throw a Zara Spook and walk it across the surface. However most of the time he prefers making a lot of racket on the surface with the topwater popper. “I keep it moving pretty fast,” Hibdon says. “I want to draw them up to it. You need to make a lot of noise so that’s why I don’t throw a Spook–style bait.”
Hibdon favors this lure because he can work it effectively throughout all levels of the water column. “I can throw it out there and let it sink 5 or 6 feet and take off swimming or I can let it go all the way to the bottom,” he says.
Scanning his depth finder gives Hibdon a clue on how deep to run his swimbait. “I try to make my cadence as such to where it covers that column of water,” he says. Most of the time Hibdon works the lure in the bottom 10 feet of the water column by winding it for eight or 10 turns of the reel handle and then letting it go back to the bottom.
The tournament veteran believes the swimbait falls at the right speed through suspended fish whereas a spoon or jig falls too fast. “You really have to work to keep a swimbait down near the bottom,” Hibdon says.
Gizzard shad is the main forage for bass on the lakes Hibdon frequently fishes so he tries to “match the hatch” with 5- or 6-inch swimbaits. He uses a 1/2-ounce swimbait jighead for working the lure slowly through the upper water columns but switches to a 3/4-ounce jighead for bass holding 15 to 18 feet deep.
When he notices bass keep bumping or tapping his swimbait, Hibdon switches to a flutter spoon, which has an erratic action that triggers those fickle fish into biting. Most of the time Hibdon selects a 1/2- or 5/8-ounce bait for his flutter spoon tactics.
Hibdon starts his flutter spoon presentation by letting the lure fall to the bottom. ‘I just kind of hop it up off the bottom and then I follow it back down,” he says. “If you let it free fall back down it gets to the bottom a little bit faster. But if you hop it up and kind of hold tension and follow it back down it falls quite a bit slower.” Hibdon jerks the spoon about the length of his 7 1/2-foot rod so he estimates the spoon is hopping 6 to 10 feet off the bottom on each jerk.
When all other lures fail to produce a bite for Hibdon, he can always catch summertime bass on a Texas-rigged plastic worm.
The Missouri angler favors a 10-inch worm most of the time but he also throws 7- and 8-inch models. A ribbon-tail worm is his top choice because it has a good swimming action.
The depth he fishes and the mood of the fish determines the weight of the worm sinker Hibdon selects. “If the fish are pretty aggressive and eating pretty good then I will throw a heavier sinker (1/2 ounce) out there,” he says. “If the bite is slow I have thrown a 3/16-ounce sinker in 20 feet of water.”
Hibdon drags the worm along the bottom until it bumps into something such as a piece of wood or a rock. “If I bump something I might hop it a little bit and try to entice a fish into eating it,” he says.
Hibdon relies on this lure to imitate crayfish when fishing rocky banks or to imitate bluegill when he is targeting shallow boat docks.
When targeting shallow bass around docks or boulders, Hibdon opts for a flipping or casting jig in lighter weights (3/8 ounce or less). He wants a more natural-looking fall for his lure so Hibdon tips his jig with a Ledgerock Lures plastic craw that generates less action than curly-tail trailers.
If he finds bass hugging the bottom 20 feet deep, Hibdon chooses a 3/4-ounce football jig for probing the bottom. He will upgrade to a 1-ounce jig if a lot of current is flowing in his area. He wants his deep-water jig to produce a lot of swimming action so Hibdon pairs it with a twin-tail plastic grub or a Strike King Rage Bug.
Hibdon lets the jig fall to the bottom and lifts and drops his jig in a similar fashion to his flutter spoon presentation. ”I will pull it up off the bottom until I feel like I got the fish’s attention,” he says.
Grow your fishing skills and improve your angling effectiveness.
Subscribe to the free weekly BassResource newsletter.