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From crankbaits and spinnerbaits to the simple yet effective soft plastic worm, there are countless different lures available for the discerning bass fisherman. Choosing the best one for you is a subjective task that depends on a number of different factors. These include the clarity of the water you’re fishing in, the season and the amount of cover (not to mention what gets the bass excited). In this article, we take a look at different types of lure and then select our personal favorites for each category. Each one is backed by positive reviews and the approval of bass angling experts. So be sure to read on and pick up one of the best bass lures before you head out on your next fishing expedition.
Our Top Picks
Best Lipless Crankbait: Spro Aruku Shad 75 Bait
Lipless crankbaits use a thin cross-section and an angled head to carve rapidly through the water. This results in a violent side-to-side action that sends out vibrations to attract bass through their lateral line. The Spro Aruku Shad 75 Bait also comes with loud rattles that make it impossible for bass to ignore. It is uniquely designed to run nose down through the water. This allows it to be reeled through thick cover without hooking up — a bonus considering that it’s an expensive lure to cut loose. In fact, it’s lauded as the most weedless lipless crankbait on the market.
The lure’s clever design also means that it stands nose down on the bottom, thereby resembling a feeding bait-fish and making it ideal for targeting bedding bass. Once a fish bites, two exceptionally sharp Gamakatsu treble hooks ensure that it has little chance of shaking itself loose. The lure weighs 5/8 ounces, measures 75 millimeters in length and comes in a variety of bright colors, including blue shiner, chartreuse black and rainbow-hued magic shad.
Best Jig: BiCO Original Lead Free Bass Jig
For impressive versatility, choose the BiCO Original Bass Jig. The brand’s flagship lure features a stand-up design perfect for skipping, flipping or fishing as a swim jig. It weighs 3/8 ounces and has an environmentally safe lead-free head. The head’s flattened shape allows the jig to skip well on the surface, and to stand upright on the lake floor for more lifelike jig-and-trailer presentations. It’s also slightly tapered so that it can glide easily through vegetation when used as a swim jig.
The jig’s quality design includes a high-gloss paint on the head and durable silicone skirts secured with a thick rubber band. The premium OWNER hook promises unparalleled strength and sharpness. It also features an elongated weedguard that prevents the hook from fouling, reducing the likelihood of having to cut your lure loose in heavy cover. Likewise, the claw-shaped bend prevents plastic trailers from slipping down the hook’s shank and getting torn. The lure comes in 12 colors including copper craw, shad and watermelon red.
Best Plastic Stick: Yamamoto Senko Bait
Considered by many to be the best bass lure of all, soft plastic stick baits are an essential addition to every angler’s tackle box. They’re inexpensive, incredibly versatile and irresistible to bass. Designed by Gary Yamamoto in the early '90s, the Yamamoto Senko Bait is a classic, tried-and-tested option that’s effective for both small and largemouth bass in an astounding array of different fishing conditions. Whether you’re fishing clear, stained, shallow, deep or open water, the lure’s simple design and subtle natural action delivers amazing results.
Reviewers report a notable increase in catch rates when using these lures versus other soft plastic stick baits in the same conditions. You can use a wacky or Texas rig to suit your specific situation. When rigged weightless, the lure falls horizontally with a seductive side-to-side tail action. The soft body is impregnated with salt to achieve the perfect fall rate and comes in many different colors from electric shad to rainbow trout laminate. The only drawback is that these soft lures do not have a particularly long lifespan.
Best Finesse Worm: Strike King KVD Finesse Worm Bait
The Strike King KVD Finesse Worm Bait is a worthy soft plastic alternative designed to be especially effective on a shaky head, drop shot or Carolina rig. In particular, it's been recommended to pair the lure with a shaky head jig for hooking finicky bass or when angling in areas affected by fishing pressure. Available in 5-inch or 6.5-inch lengths, this lure was designed with the help of four-time Bassmaster Classic champion Kevin VanDam.
Its super soft Perfect Plastic construction and beveled tail shape ensure incredible action. Like the Senko bait, this lure is also impregnated with salt to achieve the most attractive fall rate for hungry bass. It comes in 13 colors, including blue fleck, oxblood and candy craw, each one suited to different conditions and seasons. Strike King’s exclusive Coffee Scent technology helps to attract bites by masking human scent.
Best Spinnerbait: BOOYAH Pond Magic Spinnerbait
Another popular option for bass fishermen, spinnerbaits resemble a conventional jig attached via a bent wire to a free-spinning blade. The blade flashes in the water to attract bass and also creates vibrations that can be picked up by the fish’s lateral line. Spinnerbaits can be used in a variety of conditions, including areas with heavy cover. One of the most popular options is the inexpensive but effective BOOYAH Pond Magic Spinnerbait. As the name suggests, this 3/16-ounce lure is intended for smaller bodies of water.
Its color and blade combinations are hand-selected to match the forage base of ponds, creeks and small lakes. Despite the lure’s small size, its construction matches the high quality of the brand’s larger spinnerbaits. It boasts a premium 2/0 Mustad hook, durable components and a 60-strand ultra-fine silicone skirt. Tandem blades allow for optimal water displacement, making the lure irresistible to predatory bass. The spinnerbait comes in 12 color variations, each one named for the insect or fish it resembles (e.g. grasshopper, red ant or firebug).
Best Deep-Diving Crankbait: Strike King Pro-Model 5XD Series Crankbait
If you’re planning on fishing deep drop-offs, points or ledges, you’ll need a crankbait that’s specially designed to reach greater depths. The Strike King Pro-Model 5XD Series Crankbait is just such a lure, with a medium body and a unique curved bill that allows for a steep dive angle. Because of this, the lure dives deeper and faster than most other hard baits up to a depth of approximately 15 feet. The curved bill shape also ensures that the lure tracks well when in contact with the bottom.
The crankbait measures 4 inches in length and comes in a full range of colors, including citrus shad, chartreuse perch, orange bream and barfish. You can choose whether you want it with a rattle (great for attracting bass in stained water) or without. The latter is a better option in pressured or extremely clear waters, where a silent, stealthy approach is often more effective. Whichever configuration you go for, the crankbait boasts two sharp #4 treble hooks mounted at either end.
Best Topwater Lure: Rapala Skitter Walk Fishing Lure
For the excitement of watching a bass power through the surface to strike your bait, you’ll need to rig your line with a topwater lure. These lures are traditionally considered most effective in spring and early summer when water temperatures are conducive to energetic, aggressive bass behavior. The Rapala Skitter Walk Fishing Lure has a weighted tail that helps it to maintain a natural position in the water whether you’re reeling it in, trolling it behind a boat or letting it rest.
Large internal rattles create the brand’s signature “Walk-the-Dog” action. This rhythmic side-to-side motion looks and sounds like a wounded bait-fish, while realistic 3D holographic eyes help to complete the illusion. Choose from a selection of painted or chrome-finish color patterns, ranging from true-to-life options like gold mullet and speckled trout to eye-catching shades like hot pink or red head. The lure is fitted with two VMC black nickel treble hooks, weighs 7/16 ounces and measures 3-1/8 inches in length.
Best Jerkbait: Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait XR10 Fishing Lure
Jerkbaits are made to mimic the death throes of an injured bait-fish by the angler, who jerks the tip of the rod while reeling in. The Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait XR10 Fishing Lure is praised for its durability; and for its ability to catch fish in a variety of different conditions. It is a suspending jerkbait, using neutral buoyancy to hang in the water column at mid-depth. This gives it a natural appearance while also allowing interested bass enough time to strike.
The lure comes in a wide range of colors, including glass ghost, rainbow trout and olive green. An iridescent finish reflects the light in much the same way as the scales of most baitfish do. The streamlined shape helps to improve your casting distance so that you can cover as much water as possible while reeling in. Measuring four inches in length and weighing 7/16 ounces, the XR10 model hovers between four and six feet deep. You can control the precise depth by raising or lowering the tip of your rod as you jerk it.