Survival Kit For Summer LargemouthsSurvival Kit For Summer Largemouths Picking the 5 best lures for summer largemouths is a daunting task, so we did the work for you. See them inside.
By Mike Gnatkowski/gnatoutdoors.com
Picking the 10 best lures for summer largemouths would be a daunting task. Limiting the list to just the five best, must-have baits for summer bass would be darn near impossible. But I had confidence that pro angler Joe Balog of Millennium Promotions would have an answer. You see, Balog fishes all over the country and has a pretty good idea of what works and where. Still limiting the choices to just five lures was not easy.
“When I considered this question, I thought it would be impossible to choose five baits that are at the top of the list all across the country,” said Balog. “The diversity in fishery types limits this. For example, the five best lures would be different in a northern, grass-filled fishery than a stumpy southern backwater. So I chose baits that I thought would get me by regardless of the fishery - lures that would work well everywhere.”
Most bass aficionados will admit that they have way more lures than they’ll ever use. Having a big boat with lots of storage facilitates this. But suppose you were fishing out of a kayak or from a two-man bass tub. This selection is what you need to have in your must-have, minimalist summer tackle box.
1) Hollow Body Topwater Frog ex: Spro Bronzeye.
“Great for any thick summer vegetation as well as thick backwater areas,” said Balog. “Hollow-bodied frogs are perfect for casting around shallow docks and they’re ideal around areas with lots of chopped up weeds from summer boat traffic.”
SPRO® Bronzeye Frogs are sleek, mean, and perfectly balanced. They exhibit a wild leg kicking action bass can't ignore. Specially weighted to cast long and always land on its belly, the SPRO Bronzeye Frog is as weedless as a lure can get. You can throw it into the nastiest stuff you can find where lunker summer bucketmouths hide and not worry about getting snagged. The lure comes with premium Gamakatsu® hooks.
If you’re not versed at fishing frogs there can be some inherit problems. Frogs produce a ton of blow-ups, but the hook-up percentage is often low, especially with the SPRO Bronzeye. The Bronzeye’s hard, hollow body makes it difficult to stick fish. You need to restrain yourself at the strike, wait until you feel the fish and then plant you feet and set the hook. Don’t spare the rod or line when fishing frogs. Have another rod rigged and ready. When a bass blows up on a frog and you don’t hook ‘em quickly toss a jig or worm where he showed. Quite often he’ll be waiting for a second chance.
Other top brands of frogs include LiveTarget's Hollow Frog, Booyah's Pad Crasher and Jackall's Iobee Frog.
2) Plastic Worm ex: Berkley Power Worm
The classic, venerable rubber worm should not only be in your summer bass survival kit, but if you only had to pick ONE lure for bass a rubber worm might be it. One reason is its versatility.
“A rubber worm is great on any structure - weeds or wood - deep ledges, rock piles, etc.,” advised Balog. “Rubber worms are especially good at mid-depth (7-10 ft) and deep (20 ft+) structure. Worms produce lots of bites because they look so natural and feel like something good to eat.”
Of course, a rubber worm is very different now than what it was 20 years ago. From a time when you could only get a Mann’s Jelly Worm in a 7-inch purple model, to the explosion in plastics we have today is surreal. You can get worms in every conceivable size, shape and flavor from shaky worms and drop shot finesse worms all the way up to 12-inch anacondas. Truth is though, you can still catch a ton of bass on a 7-inch purple worm.
3) Chatterbait ex: original Chatterbait
“A chatterbait is great around wood and weeds for cast and retrieving and covering water,” offered Balog. “It best in depths of a foot to 6 or 8 feet.”
Exactly what is a chatterbait? “Essentially, it’s a swim jig fitted with a vibration-producing blade that does a fine job of plowing through the water and letting anything with a lateral line know it’s a comin’,” wrote David A. Brown when describing a chatterbait. “And, although bass are mostly sight feeders, when they can hear and feel approaching prey they’re more apt to look for it.”
Chatterbait is a generic term among bass anglers for a particular type of lure. They are anything but subtle. Chatterbaits are a searching gizmo intended for target-rich environments like stump fields, submergent and emergent vegetation, docks and laydowns, offering the action of a crankbait, the profile of a jig and the flash of a spinner bait that’s especially good in murky water. The standard for the industry is Z-Man’s Original Chatterbait.
4) Small, compact flipping bait ex: Sweet Beaver
“Rigged with a substantial weight, this lure can be flipped and pitched into the thickest cover, or fished around docks, or pitched into deeper weed beds and fished on weed edges,” offered Joe Balog. “I would choose it for waters from a foot to 12 feet fairly regularly.”
According to Reaction Innovations Andre Moore who designed the bait, “The body of the Sweet Beaver features forward facing ribs that create lots of pressure waves that let bass know something is moving and offers bass a texture that they seem to like when they inhale the lure. The centerline is recessed for better hook penetration but the 'nose' of the lure is thick to hold your hook without tearing on every fish. The long, flat, beaver tail is textured on the flat surfaces and along the edge, and it's splitable so you can have a twin tail look, an attention to detail not seen in most soft plastic lures. The Sweet Beaver also has additional tails set at 90 degrees to the beaver tail for fish attracting movement no matter which way the lure is moved.”
Rigged with a 5/16-ounce or heavier tungsten worm weight and a 4/0 hook, the Sweet Beaver can be used to punch and flip heavy cover where summer bass often take up residence.
5) Deep running crankbait ex: Rapala DT 16
Summer bass seem to be in two places – shallow or deep. “A crankbait is essential when bass are deep. For covering water out on points, river ledges or deep grass flats, it’s tough to beat a crankbait,” Balog said.
According to Rapala, “DT Series lures, designed by crankbait authority David Fritts, dive fast and stay in the strike zone longer than any other crankbait on the market. The Rapala DT Series lures are made from the top seven percent of select balsa wood. Perfectly consistent wood combined with carefully placed internal weights, a tapered fuselage and a thin tail creates an incredible crankbait action found only in the DT Series.” The ability of the lures to dive quickly to a certain level and stay there is a big plus.
The DT 16 reaches a maximum depth of 16 feet on the retrieve to place it exactly where summer bass can often be found chillin’. The DT 16 is a must-have addition to your summer bass survival kit.
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