Summer baits

Top 5 Baits For Summer Bass

Summer bass

With Summer right around the corner on the calendar, it's time to pick Summer baits for bass. We will break down and talk about 5 top baits that you should have in your tackle box to help make your summer highlights this year.


What would a summer be if we did not talk topwater? As summer water temperatures peak, so will the topwater action. A short and straightforward statement, braided line has changed topwater fishing as we know it. With the limited stretch that braid has to offer, it's now easier to work topwater baits adding better casting distance. Braid allows you to cover more water with each cast than before.

The most significant change in this mix is hooking power at the end of a long cast. Many anglers have fished monofilament line when fishing a topwater for two reasons, mono was the primary line choice because that was the only line choice available, and second, it floats. Still, braid is now becoming the main line used when fishing topwater's today.

When picking topwater baits, add a walking bait like a Heddon Zara Spook to your collection if you have not already. It's the bait that propelled the topwater category into popularity and still holds the top place today.

It takes some practice to master walking the dog, but it's one of topwater’s top retrieves. It creates a walking (back-and-forth movement) of your topwater bait, and keeps your bait in the strike zone longer even though it's still moving.

Topwater baits

Make sure that you have a topwater popper in your box. The top two poppers to stock are a Rebel Pop-R and a Storm Chug Bug. SPRO has also added a new topwater called the Pop 85. This bait is as good as the others.

Also, add a buzzer-type topwater bait to cover all your bases. The Whopper Plopper made a mark early in this category, but the Berkley Choppo offers more sizes and savings, making it a top choice.

When it comes to topwater tweaks, make sure that your hooks are sharp. Often, bass will swipe at the bait the first time to stun it and then turn back to eat it. You'll hook more bass on the first pass if your hooks are sharp.

Add a red hook to help the bass zero in on your bait. It will give the bass something to focus on and lead to more hook-ups than misses during your fishing day.

One last point, add feathers or tinsel dressing to your tail hook. Even when the bait is sitting on a pause, this material keeps moving, helping to trigger strikes. Again, use this tweak to your advantage.

Drop Shot

The drop shot was first intended to target bass in deeper cold-water conditions, allowing you to hold your bait in front of bass to trigger strikes. That was successful, but Aaron Martens saw far more uses for a drop shot all year long than what was being utilized. Aaron was also the first to use braided line as his primary line choice and brought many more baits, hooks, and tactics into play to drop shot circles. Tungsten weight also added a better feel into the mix, plus bait companies reacted by jumping in with both feet to help feed the supply-demand of fishermen looking for new and different drop shot baits.

When it comes to baits, keep your options open. Try new baits that give the bass different looks helping to trigger more bites.

One of the biggest problems that face drop shot fishermen is line twists. You can fix this problem by adding a swivel to join your main line and your leader line, but please be careful to not reel the swivel up into the rod eye.

Bass fishing

Another way to tame line twist is to use a Gamakatsu Swivel Shot hook. With the Swivel Shot, your hook rotates on a wire shaft and won't twist your line when being fished or reeled in.

These simple adjustments will help eliminate line twists and keep your bait presentation looking natural and trigging more bites.

Texas Rig

In the beginning, a Texas-rigged worm was the bait behind the whole bass craze and has held a top spot even today. The Texas rig makes this list because you can fish a variety of baits with it. Where in other presentations, you're limited to one or two baits, you don't have limitations with a Texas rig. Worms, craws, creatures, sticks, tubes, and swimbaits are just a few that come to mind.

Keep your bait choices open for fishing a Texas rig, and use this to your advantage this coming Summer.

Deepwater Cranking

If I had just one tactic to pick that is a favorite of mine, I would say a deep-water crankbait would be my choice. Making a long cast, reeling the crankbait down, and feeling my way across the rocks is a tactic and bite I look forward to all year long.

Set up is critical when it comes to this tactic. Pay attention to your equipment when you're getting set up. Longer cranking rods will allow you to make longer casts and take the shock of the strike.

10-pound fluorocarbon test line is king when it comes to deep-water cranking. You can get longer casts with the lighter line, and the crankbait can reach its maximum depth. Many of the depths that companies say their bait can reach are conducted with 10-pound fluorocarbon line.

In this case, a couple of rules of thumb, every line size you go up, you'll lose 10- to 12-inches in diving depth, and every inch that you hold your rod tip up off the water surface, you'll lose an inch in diving depth. So a prime example is if you make your cast and lower your rod tip a foot above the water surface, you lost a foot in diving depth on your bait.

To trigger the most bites using a crankbait when reeling your bait back to the boat, you'll want your bait contacting the bottom. If that is not happening, you have to pick a different bait that runs deeper or adjust your line size or rod height above the water to accommodate.

Sharpen hooks

I carry both silent and rattle crankbaits in my mix when it comes to crankbaits. Rapala DT series is my silent bait choice and the Strike King XD series of baits are my choice for crankbait with rattles.

As with topwater baits, make sure that your crankbait hooks are sharp. When contacting the rocks, it will take no time to dull a set of hooks. Make it a ritual to check the condition of your hook through your day of fishing and sharpen it when needed.

Ned Rig

As the Summer bite drags on, bass get in a rut from time to time. Weather will also play a big piece of the puzzle in your day-to-day fishing. When the bite gets extra tough, you'll have to adjust; slow down, and downsize what you're offering the bass to bite. Fast forward, what are your go-to baits in this case? For many, a Ned Rig fills this need. Ned has fast become the go-to bait when faced with tough bite conditions today.


Living in the upper Midwest, I have fished a mushroom jig head teamed with a 4" ringworm for years, so making a minor bait adjustment is not that big of a deal.

The slang name for a Ned rig is the do-nothing rig. That is the truth behind this tactic. You should not put any action into this bait. Instead, make your cast, let the bait settle to the bottom, and drag or slightly move the Ned rig along the bottom. The bass will do the rest.

One of the biggest mistakes that fishermen make when fishing the Ned rig is using too big of a jig head. The lighter the jig head that you can use when fishing a Ned, the more bites you'll generate in your day of fishing.

When it comes to baits, make sure that you open your plastics box and fish different possibilities. Try not to fall in line with the other fishermen and fish a 2.75" worm. Instead, use craws, flukes, and other shapes to give the bass unusual looks, as this will be the key to triggering more bites from neutral bass.

I hope these Top 5 Summer tactics help you put more bass in your boat this season. Keep an open mind, and expand your presentations and how you fish them. Just being different may be the key to getting more and bigger bites from your waters this Summer.

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