Best Bait for Largemouth Bass 

John Malcolm
John MalcolmPublished: September 11, 2023
Best Bait for Largemouth Bass 

When it comes to fishing tackle, there are simply too many options for bass fishermen. Even as experts and pros, we sometimes find it difficult to wade through all the options of artificial and natural baits. So it begs the question — what's the best bait for largemouth bass?

Like most responses in the angling community, it depends. Several factors come into play, such as weather, water temperature, fishing pressure, and time of year. We can narrow the options to a few key baits that have helped anglers catch big bass in ponds and lakes.

To help you out, we've broken down the largemouth bass baits into two main categories: artificial lures and natural bait. This way, you can get the best of both worlds when it comes to targeting these fish.

Artificial lures for bass fishing.

We'll get into the natural baits for bass shortly, but we're kicking this off with the best artificial lures for catching largemouth bass. Artificial lures are great because of their versatility; you can cast them far and wide, they make less mess than live bait, and they come in a range of shapes and sizes to help you catch bass. 

Spinnerbait.

Spinnerbaits for Bass

Spinnerbaits are one of our favorite bass lures. These lures flash and vibrate in the water, mimicking the movement of small fish. These artificial lures are consistently a top choice for largemouth bass fishing, especially in murky waters.

Like most baits, spinnerbaits come in various colors and style. For example, if you want a classic bait, try using a white or chartreuse skirt. If you'd like to go for something more natural in color, use a shad pattern with gray and black colors. You can even change out the spinner style for a more aggressive approach.

Plug.

Bass Plugs

Plugs are fantastic at catching bass! They come in all shapes and sizes, making them versatile and effective. Their lifelike swimming action attracts bass, which makes them a great choice for shallow waters. Plus, they are designed to imitate natural baitfish species, making them even more attractive to bass.

One thing we love about plugs is their durability. They are made of heavy-duty plastic that can withstand multiple strikes and are easy to cast. Plug sizes vary from small to large, so trying out different sizes is a great idea for the best results. Don't think that only large lures bring in the big largemouth bass. Smaller ones can do just as well in certain conditions. 

Swimbait.

Bass Fishing Swimbaits

Swimbaits are phenomenal; they mimic the swimming action of real baitfish. They can fool even the most cautious largemouth bass with their realistic appearance. These lures are available in many shapes, sizes, and colors. You can find them rigged with tails, fins, rattles, or even scented for an extra level of attraction. 

We suggest using swimbaits if the conditions allow you to fish deep water areas. They work best when retrieved slowly and at a consistent speed. Try experimenting with different speeds and directions. 

Crankbaits.

Crankbaits

Crankbaits are simply outstanding. They dive underwater when retrieved, attracting bass that are hanging out in deeper waters. It's a definite must-have in your tackle box any time of the year. These largemouth bass lures are easily identifiable by their large bill, which gives them their distinct diving action. 

They work great when retrieved quickly and erratically. Reel in this bass lure quickly. The faster it'll dive deeper in the water. The speed variation will often trigger an aggressive strike – making your fishing trips more exciting. We also suggest matching the color of the crankbait to the natural baitfish in the water. That way, you can make sure your presentation is as realistic as possible. 

Jerkbaits.

Jerkbaits

Jerkbaits are terrific, especially in cooler water. Their erratic motion, when jerked or twitched, can provoke strikes from lethargic bass. When we use jerkbaits, we usually go for the suspending style. This type of lure will stop in mid-water when you pause your retrieve – mimicking a wounded baitfish. 

The action of a suspending jerkbait display is truly remarkable. Some models even come with rattles to add noise to the presentation, further intensifying its appeal to big bass. Although they're one of the best bass lures, jerkbaits require some practice to master. 

Lipless crankbaits.

Lipless Crankbaits

Lipless crankbaits are exactly what they sound like – crankbaits without a lip. These lures are one of our go-to's for fishing in shallow areas, as they give off an irresistible vibration that attracts bass quickly. Their unique design allows them to be fished at any depth, giving you more chances to catch that trophy bass.

The best lipless crankbaits have two things in common: weight and size. The weight should be enough to cause the lure to vibrate when retrieved but light enough to be cast far. As for size depends on the water you're fishing in; smaller lures work better in shallow water, while larger ones are perfect for deep waters. 

Buzzbaits.

Pair of Buzzbaits

If you're a fan of spinnerbaits, then you'll love buzzbaits. Buzzbaits are basically the same, except they have a blade attached to the head of the lure instead of a skirt. As you retrieve the line, this blade produces a loud buzzing sound, attracting giant bass from far and wide. This works just like a spinnerbait. When it comes to the best bait for largemouth bass, buzzbaits are one of the best.

We usually come out the gates with a buzzbait when we want to catch largemouth bass. They're that effective. Of course, like any other bass fishing lures, there are days when the bass will ignore them. To increase the chances of success, try changing up your retrieves and experimenting with different blade colors. If that doesn't work, switch to a different lure.

Plastic worms.

Plastic Worms for Bass Fishing

There's nothing like throwing together a Texas rig and hoping for the best. Plastic worms are a good all-around largemouth bass bait that can be used in a variety of ways, from topwater to deep-water fishing. You can rig them on their own with a jighead or Texas style; both setups work wonders when it comes to catching largemouth bass. 

Experiment with different colors and sizes — you'll find that certain colors and sizes work better than others, depending on the conditions. To kick up your plastic worm game, spray some scent onto the lure to make it even more appealing. It may seem like a small detail, but it could be all you need to land that trophy bass. 

Frog lures.

Topwater Frog Lures

The first thing that comes to mind when talking about topwater lures is frogs. Soft plastic frogs and toad lures are some of the most effective bass baits, especially in shallow waters. These lures create a great disturbance on top and resemble small prey species – something that big bass can't resist. Plus, they look realistic, which means more bites for you.

Frogs and toads are perfect for early morning bass fishing or even in the late evening. Make sure you don't reel too quickly, let the lure sit for a few seconds before retrieving it again. This will give the bass more time to strike.

Natural lures for bass fishing.

Sometimes, you don't want to mess around with artificial lures. This is when natural baits come into play. Natural baits are effective bass lures because it's what the bass is used to eating. We often use live bait such as nightcrawlers, worms, minnows, or even crayfish.

Worms.

The classic worm bait is great for any fish, not just bass. But since we're discussing bass lures, we'll be focusing on worms. If you're just starting out, fishing with a worm as bait is probably the easiest way to go. It's a versatile bait that can be used in a variety of fishing situations. Largemouth bass find it hard to resist.

To increase your chances of success, tie a bobber onto your line so you can easily see when a bass takes the bait. You can also add scent attractants to your bait for an extra level of attraction, but generally, worms give off a strong smell that bass can't resist. 

Minnows.

Minnows are a natural food source for largemouth bass (largemouth bass eat minnows in shallow waters), making them an excellent choice for bait. This makes them a great alternative to artificial lures when you don't want to use a fly or crankbait. Natural shad minnows are usually the best bet.

The best way to rig a minnow for bass fishing is with a single hook and split shot weights. This effective rig will present your bait nicely in the water column, often triggering strikes from lurking largemouths.

When bait fishing with a live minnow, make sure to keep it alive by aerating the water in your bucket. That way, it'll continue moving around when you're fishing and increase your chance of catching bass.

Crayfish

Crayfish are a prime largemouth bass bait. They live in the shallow parts of rivers and lakes, making them an easy target for hungry bass — especially during the largemouth bass spawn. To fish with a crayfish, rig it on a single hook and let the current carry it downstream. This will create an impression of a live crawdad walking across the bottom, something that big bass won't be able to resist.

What we love the most about crayfish is that they come in a variety of sizes, which gives you the freedom to choose one that matches the size of the bass in your area. Make sure to pick one that's alive and healthy — if it's old or tired, it won't be as effective. The only downside is that many bait shops don't keep them in stock all year.

6 tips for catching largemouth bass

Now that you know what lures to use, it is time to put your new knowledge to the test. We get it; you want to get out there and start fishing; however, before you do, here are some tips for catching more bass—

  • Go shallow. Start by fishing shallow areas first, where most of the bass will be hiding. Sure, on hotter days, they may venture to the deeper parts of the lake, but it's always best to start shallow.
  • Use slow retrieves. Bass don't like fast-moving lures; they prefer them to move slowly and naturally. Always remember that when fishing with artificial baits. You're trying to imitate live bait, and the slower your lure moves, the more realistic it looks.
  • Monitor weather patterns. Bass feed in response to weather patterns, so keep an eye on the forecast — this will give you an idea of where they'll be hanging out each day. Pay especially close attention to the barometer.
  • Find structure. Bass like to hide behind rocks, logs, weed beds, and other structures, so try fishing near them. It is also a good idea to cast your lures around these structures.
  • Watch the surface. Surface-feeding bass can be an easy target for anglers, so keep an eye out for them. Watching the surface for any commotion can be a great way to find where the fish are.
  • Use various lures. Variety is key here; don't just stick to one bait. Try different types of lures — you never know which one might produce the most bites. We like to cast 5-10 times, then switch it out.

These tips should help you land more bass on your next fishing trip. With a bit of patience and experimenting with different lures, you should have no problem catching largemouth bass. 

What are the best largemouth bass lures you use?

Choosing the right lure can significantly enhance your bass fishing experience. Each has unique appeal and technique, from artificial lures like plastic worms and frog baits to natural choices like worms, minnows, and crayfish. 

The choice largely depends on your personal preferences, knowledge, and the specific conditions of the fishing environment. 

The key to successful bass fishing lies in the lure selection, understanding the behavior of the bass, the fishing area, and refining your techniques. 

So, what is your favorite bass bait? Do you prefer deep-diving crankbaits or more versatile lures such as jigs? 

John Malcolm

John Malcolm

Expert Angler

John is a highly skilled angler with over two decades of experience and a passion that has led him to participate in numerous tournaments, including reeling in a remarkable 9lb bass on Lake Okeechobee. His dedication to fishing and willingness to share his expertise make him a respected ambassador for the angling community, inspiring others to appreciate the sport.