Bass season is finally here and I’m glad. Bass are found just about everywhere in New York state including rivers, lakes and even farm ponds. They are game fighters and the smaller ones make a tasty addition to any frying pan.
As a youngster, Susquehanna river smallmouths were our favorite bass species and our fishing equipment was minimal. The only bait we used were stone cats and hellgrammites, both of which we caught by feeling under rocks. We carried them in a metal wading bucket we hung around our neck. A rod, reel, bathing suit and an old pair of sneakers rounded out the rest of our equipment, but things today are different. Black bass, both smallmouth and largemouth are targeted more than any other fish species in the United States, and they rank as number one in terms of how much money is spent on equipment for pursuing them
Bass fishermen today can choose a myriad of bass enticers that include buzz baits, soft plastics, crankbaits, swimbaits, jerk baits, rubber worms, top water lures and jigs. Each of these bait categories come in a dozen or more models and configurations that can make a person’s head swim. Make no mistake, all these baits can be effective under certain conditions, but in my opinion, and for most practical purposes, a bass fisherman needs only three types of lures in order to consistently catch bass.
The first is a rubber worm. There are few other lures that can be rigged as weedless and snag free as a rubber worm. Bury the hook point into the body of the worm and you can snake it through thick vegetation or bounce it over submerged rock piles without it hanging up. Several ways to rig a rubber worm include the Texas rig, the Wacky rig, the Ned rig, the Carolina rig, and the Drop Shot rig, but the Texas rig is most commonly used.
In any type of fishing, and particularly in bass fishing, little can compare to the enjoyment of seeing and hearing a bass come out of the water in an attempt to inhale a top water Hula Popper or other popping plug. When the vegetation on the lake becomes too thick to throw a Hula Popper or similar lure, a weedless frog will often work well. These lures are designed to disturb the water’s surface and to create the appearance of prey in distress. They not only attracted bass, but other fish species as well. When my neighbor and I fished Black Lake, we lost many top water lures when a northern pike would cut the line or an occasional ling would destroy the hooks. Because of their effectiveness when fishing thick weeds and Lilly pads, top water lures are my personal second choice as an effective bass getter.
My final “best” bass lure selection is a jig. Jigs rank number one with many bass anglers because they are so versatile. Jigs can be used on just about any body of water, during any season. Their advantage over many other lures is that they can be fished in so many different ways. You can flip and pitch them, skip them, work deep structure with them, and swim them. To make them even more attractive to bass, be sure to pair them with some kind of a trailer. An imitation craw trailer or a paddle tail swimbait trailer is a great option.
There’s little doubt bass fishermen have a wide variety of lures available to them, but it also creates confusion when trying to decide which to use. Stick to these three and you can’t go wrong. Most of the time.