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- Best Softbait: Zoom Bait Brush Hog Lure at Amazon "When you can’t decide between a plastic worm, a craw or a lizard imitator."
- Best Finesse Worm: Zoom Bait Finesse Worm 20-Pack at Amazon "Specifically designed to yield results when fishing in a pressured area."
- Best Spinnerbait: Strike King KVD Finesse Spinnerbait at Amazon "Particularly excels in shallow vegetation."
- Best Jig: Rapala Terminator Pro Jig at Amazon "A universal jig that can be used in a variety of different ways to fish almost any situation successfully."
- Best Topwater Lure: LIVE TARGET Hollow Body Frog at Amazon "Its incredibly accurate anatomy and detailed color patterns serve to fool even the canniest fish"
- Best Buzzbait: Pradco BOOYAH Counter Strike Buzz at Amazon "The perfect surface lure for shallow flats."
- Best Deep-Diving Crankbait: Strike King Pro-Model 8XD Crankbait at Amazon "The secret to its ability to carve swiftly through the water is its unique curved bill."
- Best Lipless Crankbait: Rapala Rattlin’ Fishing Lure at Amazon "Hand-tuned and tank-tested for flawless out-of-the-box functionality."
Our Top Picks
Best Softbait: Zoom Bait Brush Hog Lure
When you can’t decide between a plastic worm, a craw or a lizard imitator, choose the Zoom Bait Brush Hog Lure instead. This creature bait borrows elements from all three lure shapes to tempt hungry bass and deliver results in almost any situation. It’s perfect for pitching and flipping and can be rigged any number of different ways depending on whether you want to keep the bait suspended in the strike zone or send it diving for big bass.
Multiple appendages give it a realistic swimming action and help to displace water, creating vibrations that can be picked up by the bass’ lateral line. Glitter flecks trigger bites by replicating the sheen of baitfish scales; while salt impregnated in the plastic encourages fish to hold on longer and ensures the perfect fall rate. The lure measures six inches in length — long enough to carry a large hook on its own or to act as an irresistible jig trailer. There are eight lures in a package, and you can choose from a rainbow of colors including Summer Craw and Green Pumpkin.
Best Finesse Worm: Zoom Bait Finesse Worm 20-Pack
Specifically designed to yield results when fishing in a pressured area or at a time of year when bass are reluctant to bite, Zoom Bait Finesse Worms are praised for their quality construction and affordable price-tag. The lure’s gradually tapering profile allows for an undulating action that perfectly mimics live worms for an irresistibly natural presentation. Good water displacement and light-catching glitter flecks alert sluggish bass to its presence. The plastic is impregnated with salt to increase the fish’s hold time, giving you a few extra moments to set the hook.
The finesse worm can be rigged countless different ways to suit the specific conditions on any given day. Wacky rig it when fishing just after the spawn, or attach it to a shaky jig head for deadly results in clear water. Each lure is 4.5 inches long. Choose natural shades like bullfrog and green pumpkin; or opt for attention-grabbing hues such as red bug shad, cotton candy and chartreuse pepper to ramp up the action when targeting bass in stained water.
Best Spinnerbait: Strike King KVD Finesse Spinnerbait
The result of a collaboration between respected lure manufacturer Strike King and seven-time Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam, the KVD Finesse Spinnerbait is intended to be your go-to all-rounder. Like all spinnerbaits, it particularly excels in shallow vegetation, as the pin that connects the hook to the blades deflects weeds and sticks to prevent potential foul-ups. The larger willow-shaped blade is designed to spin rapidly through thick cover, while the smaller Colorado blade is shaped for maximum bass-catching vibration. Both are made of reflective polished metal.
From the premium hook to the solid ball bearing swivel, the lure boasts top-quality components. The Perfect Skirt and Magic Tail come in natural color patterns, with a smaller profile that realistically mimics bait to trigger more strikes. The fluttering of the KVD-insignia-stamped blades also gives the silicone skirt a pulsing action that proves fatal for predatory bass. Opt for a 1/2-ounce or 3/8-ounce weight lure, then choose from several colors including blue gizzard, chartreuse sexy shad and super white.
Best Jig: Rapala Terminator Pro Jig
The Rapala Teminator Pro is a universal jig that can be used in a variety of different ways to fish almost any situation successfully. Although the lure works perfectly in open water, it’s particularly suited to flipping, pitching or casting in and around dense cover thanks to its unique head design and integrated nylon brush guard. Together, these elements prevent snags and reduce the likelihood of having to cut your tackle loose. The silicone half-skirt gives the lure a tantalizing bug-like appearance and comes in custom color patterns that perfectly match the head and brush guard.
These include June bug, peanut butter jelly and electric blue. Whichever shade you go for, a single rattle generates sonic vibrations that complete the lure’s appeal. If you choose to add a soft plastic trailer, a stainless steel wire keeps it from slipping down the hook shank and getting shredded on the premium VMC black nickel hook. The latter is extra sharp for quick, solid hook sets. There are five lure weights to choose from, from 1/4 ounces to 1 ounces.
Best Topwater Lure: LIVE TARGET Hollow Body Frog
For the high-octane thrill of watching bass strike aggressively through the surface, choose a topwater, award-winning lure like the LIVE TARGET Hollow Body Frog. Its incredibly accurate anatomy and detailed color patterns (in shades like emerald brown and yellow black) serve to fool even the canniest fish, while silicone streamers generate vibrations by displacing water on the retrieve.
The lure’s main appeal, however, is its ingenious hollow body design. When a bass strikes, the soft body collapses to reveal custom double hooks tucked in on either side, which sink instantly to give you a higher hook-up ratio. This design serves a double purpose, in that it is also naturally weedless. You can cast into thick brush or around the grass and lily pads that constitute a live frog’s natural habitat without fear of fouling. The body’s boat-like shape is also ideal for walking it back and forth across pockets of open water to lure out bass hiding in the shadows.
Best Buzzbait: Pradco BOOYAH Counter Strike Buzz
The Pradco BOOYAH Counter Strike Buzz is the perfect surface lure for shallow flats. Designed along similar lines to a traditional spinnerbait, it features counter-rotated blades that deliver exceptional stability and make a sound that’s unique enough to grab the attention of even the most pressured bass. The blades are also nickel or gold-plated to maximize flash and trigger enthusiastic bites. The body’s triangle-shaped head is custom painted with ultra-realistic scales and eyes. Its streamlined profile cuts quickly through thick cover to the surface.
The lure’s combination of sound, vibration, shimmer and bubble trail adds up to create a package that few bass can resist. It’s designed to last, too, with a premium Tx3 hook and components in addition to a durable silicone skirt. Choose from two sizes — 1/2 ounces or 1/4 ounces — and four colors, including luna (black), alpine (white), cortez shad (gold) and limesicle (neon green).
Best Deep-Diving Crankbait: Strike King Pro-Model 8XD Crankbait
Deep-diving crankbaits are made for targeting the big bass traditionally found in deep water. The far-casting Strike King Pro-Model 8XD Crankbait dives deeper and faster than most other deep-diving hardbaits and reaches depths of up to 20 feet. The secret to its ability to carve swiftly through the water is its unique curved bill. A quick descent is key when it comes to increasing your catch rate because it maximizes the time your lure spends at target depth on the retrieve. At 5.5” and 1.3 ounces, this is a medium-sized lure with the signature wobble exhibited by all crankbaits in Strike King’s popular XD range.
Free-floating rattles create sonic vibrations that add to the lure’s appeal, while the chip-proof, high-gloss paint comes in a range of proven color patterns including incredibly realistic options such as natural shad, barfish and clearwater minnow. For stained water, consider choosing high-visibility patterns like citrus shad or powder blue black chartreuse instead. Either way, the lure is completed by an oversized 3D eye and two sharp treble hooks.
Best Lipless Crankbait: Rapala Rattlin’ Fishing Lure
Best suited to fishing over or through shallow vegetation, lipless crankbaits are particularly useful in spring and fall. The Rapala Rattlin’ Fishing Lure is a category winner, having been hand-tuned and tank-tested for flawless out-of-the-box functionality. It offers great castability and is negatively buoyant. Control the speed at which it sinks by ripping it fast or running it slow — either way, fish will be tempted by Rapala’s famous wobbling action.
In addition, the lure features a unique rattle chamber that produces sound frequencies that have been specially tuned for the most believable baitfish presentation. The highly detailed paint job completes the illusion with ultra-realistic patterns such as baby bass, bluegill, shad and red crawdad. Two premium VMC black nickel treble hooks convert strikes into confirmed catches. The RNR05 model linked here measures two inches in length and weighs 3/8 ounces.