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tacklebox lure basics

6295 Views 18 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  toothdoc
My friend Jake, a taxi driver, has a problem. Every time he drops off a fare within a five-mile radius of a tackle shop, he ends up inside the store, and seldom walks out without buying a couple of bass lures. As a result, his tackleboxes -- all 10 of them -- are filled to overflowing. But rather than kick his bait-buying habit by entering our local Lure Junkie Anonymous chapter's 12-step recovery program, Jake continues to succumb to temptation and buy more lures -- and more tackleboxes.

Being addicted to bass lures might seem like a relatively benign vice, but owning too many lures can have a negative effect on your fishing success -- especially if you're just getting into bass fishing and haven't yet developed confidence in a few good baits. The more lures in your tacklebox, the more choices you have to make: Which lure should I use? Which color? Should I keep fishing this one or change to another? With trays full of baits staring back at you with their beady little eyes, it's easy to fall into the trap of changing lures constantly, and catching few fish in the process.

Spinnerbaits are among the most versatile of all bass lures.

For newcomers to bass fishing, here are some tips for filling your first tacklebox with the deadliest assortment of lures available. No hype here -- every one of the baits we've selected is a bona fide bass-catcher. We've also provided some basic tips on when and where to fish each; our favorite colors for every lure listed are indicated in parentheses.

Spinnerbait -- Arguably the most versatile of all bass lures -- can be fished from top to bottom by varying weight and retrieve speed. Not totally weedless, but capable of bumping off objects like stumps and rocks to trigger strikes. Use rounded Colorado blades in murky water or at night, slender willowleaf blades in clearer water and when fishing around thin submerged grass. (White, chartreuse)

In-line spinner -- Often overlooked by bass anglers, these lures produce strikes in clear streams and rivers as well as rocky reservoirs. Count the bait down to the desired depth, then retrieve at an angle across current, keeping it close to large rocks or submerged logs. Great on bass, but will catch virtually anything that swims. (Silver, gold, black)

Tackleboxes quickly become jammed as a lure collection grows. Clear-plastic utility boxes are a cheap and efficient alternative to a standard tacklebox.

Buzzbait -- An exciting lure to fish in warm, shallow water. Best in reservoir creek arms and flats, but also deadly around shoreline wood cover in rivers. Triggers aggressive strikes by making a racket when reeled slowly across the surface. Run it over laydown logs, bump it off stumps and work it through thin emergent grass using a long baitcasting rod. (White, black)

Floater/diver minnow -- Most realistic of all "hard baits." Excellent in clear lakes, rivers and farm ponds. Twitch it around shoreline cover and grasslines with erratic jerks in spring and fall. (Silver, gold, white)

Long-billed crankbait -- Favorite lure of many top bass pros because it probes a wide area quickly and draws plenty of strikes. Great in reservoirs lacking thick weed growth; especially productive in summer and fall. Fish it across deep points, humps and other structures in the 8- to 20-foot zone. Resembles a crawfish or baitfish as it darts and roots across the bottom. Try small crankbaits in cold water/early spring; increase lure size as water warms. (Shad, fire-tiger, crawfish)

Lipless crankbait -- Useful for combing large expanses of shallow water for active bass -- can be fished faster than any other lure. Pros use it to snare a quick limit of keeper fish in a tournament. Interior rattles call in bass from long distances. Best in coves and flats in spring and fall. Try it over subsurface hydrilla or milfoil in warm weather, too. (Shad, gold, red)

Topwater popper -- Ideal in shallow water when bass are feeding on the surface. Can be popped repeatedly in the same spot to draw a big bass out of hiding. One of the best baits to try over subsurface weedbeds. ("Baby bass," shad)

Prop bait -- Your best topwater lure choice in murky or choppy water and on overcast/rainy days. Work it with erratic jerks around visible cover in shallow water. (Frog, black, chartreuse)

Stickbait -- Most versatile of all surface lures, but requires considerable skill to fish in the preferred "walk-the-dog" manner. Best in clear lakes. Works over both shallow and deep water; try it on long reservoir points. (Shad, black)

Topwater wobbler -- Proven night lure for lunker bass in farm ponds, strip pits and grassy natural lakes. Reel it slowly and steadily around shorelines or grass edges on heavy tackle. Plip-plop-plip-KABOOSH! (Black, frog)

Plastic worm -- Super-deadly on Southern bass. Six- or 7-inch worms will catch bass anywhere in Dixie; try 8- to 11-inchers in known lunker lakes. Rig worms Texas-style with slip sinker, Carolina-style with heavy sinker, bead, swivel and leader, or weightless around shallow stickups. (Purple, blue, black, red)

Topwater plugs in various styles will provide plenty of bass fishing excitement.

Plastic lizard -- Especially productive in spring when fished across bass beds on a Texas rig. When water warms, move out to long points and fish it on a Carolina rig. (Watermelon, black)

Soft jerkbait -- Extremely realistic soft-plastic or pork lure that resembles a dying baitfish. Cast around boat docks or shoreline cover. Twitch slowly while keeping the lure within sight, then watch bass come out and grab it. (Clear/stained water: white; murky water: chartreuse or bubble gum)

Plastic grub -- A small lure for clear, rocky lakes. Works best in cold water. Deadliest of all smallmouth lures. Rig on 1/4-ounce leadhead and drop it down 45-degree banks in cold weather, or swim it slowly across gravel spawning flats in spring. (Chartreuse, smoke, pumpkin)

Jig 'n pig -- Arguably the deadliest of all big-bass lures. Works in all seasons, deep or shallow. Great for bumping around thick wood and weed cover where lunkers lurk. (Black, blue, pumpkin, chartreuse)

Hair jig -- Deadly in water as cold as 39 degrees in clear lakes, especially for smallmouths. Also effective on rocky banks at night in hot weather, and in river current. Can be fished with a small pork trailer or by itself. Fish 1/4- or 3/8-ounce jigs on light line with a stiff spinning rod. (Brown, black, white)

Weedless rat, frog or spoon -- Metal, hard-plastic or soft-plastic lures with a weedless design. Ideal in lakes where thick milfoil, hydrilla, lily pads or pond scum make fishing other lure styles difficult. Use a long baitcasting rod and heavy line. (White, black, bubble gum)
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I didnt read that whole thing Aris, lol... but I got bored (its 3am on a thursday night in my college dorm room and I just finished a research paper due at 10am) so I took some pictures of my pride and joy... aka my fishin gear

One box for crankbaits (top left), then the one next to that is all topwaters and jerkbaits, got a box full of jig and pigs (tryna fill it up), one with senkos after this summer, one with spinnerbaits and buzzbaits, and then one full of some powerworms and slug-os and fin-s shad (confidence baits).

Well over a 100 bucks in softplastics, theres a few layers of packages underneath what's visible... lol. New favorite softplastic = Zoom baby brushhog and Reaction Innovations "Sweet Beaver" check that stuff out!

My swords for when I go to battle...

Here's a 2.5+ lber we got at a local lake through a fish-survey that some fish and wildlife management grad students conducted that I helped out at. They went around shocking the waters with this boat and would net the shocked fish, it was intense there would be tons by laydown trees and logs, and none by the plain shoreline.
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Did you write that, Aris?
I think that Aris "borrowed" that from another site. Nice tackle there Tim. I'm impressed! :D
Dude you're a pro. I wish my school had a fishing club...
Well written Aris that's some great info
Great info, and I subsribe to the notion of that article. Pick a few basic baits, gain confidence with them, then start expanding.
I copied and pasted it from a bass pro shops article.
Thought I`d share it with u all,found it interesting.
Tim,r u going to school or collecting tackle ? lol.
Culprit said:
Tim,r u going to school or collecting tackle ? lol.
I was wondering the same thing. :shock:
lol Aris, I'm sure you got quite a collection as well!
parent's college investment paying it's dividends! :mrgreen:
Augy, how are you doing??? How's it goin being a dad, it must be awesome. :D
Augy said:
parent's college investment paying it's dividends! :mrgreen:
Make sure you set it up as a "Gift" from you and your wife "TO" your son
for colledge only...Don't ask me how I know this ... :cry:
Nice article. I made the mistake of overloading my tacklebox without really learning how to work the baits. I used to just burn crankbaits along the bottom for a long time before learning to vary speed and depth. I've learned to fight the temptation of buying half the store up at Bass Pro and Gander.
Great article, I can never go into a store that has fishing equipment w/o buying something, even if there is nothing I like, I still have to buy something. :oops:
krnfishboy7786 said:
Augy, how are you doing??? How's it goin being a dad, it must be awesome. :D
awesome it is. we just celebrated her "baek il". for all you non koreans, it's a traditional ceremony for the 100th day from birth.
Tim That's a kick but collection glad you found somewhere to fish down there
MrB said:
Great article, I can never go into a store that has fishing equipment w/o buying something, even if there is nothing I like, I still have to buy something. :oops:
It's called the bait monkey! :shock:
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