Soft plastics are hard to beat when you need to trick bass on the beds.
The problem is a plethora of soft plastics will work during this time so how do you decide which to use most often? The touring pros usually let water conditions dictate which lures and colors to try. When sight fishing in clear water, most of the pros rely on some type of finesse lure in a bright color they can see or a natural hue. For fishing in dirty water, a bulky bait for power fishing is usually the choice.
Here’s a look at the four best lures for spawning bass and how to present the baits to trick bedding fish.
In clear-water situations try a stickworm like the Savage Gear Armor Tube Worm in green pumpkin or watermelon hues rigged Texas-style without any weight. If you are fishing in the wind or deeper beds, add a 1/16- or 1/8-ounce weight to the lure.
After spotting a fish on the bed, you should mark the spot and back off to where the fish is out of sight. Then cast to the spot you marked and let the lure fall without imparting any action. Count the lure down to the depth of the bed, raise it and let if fall for about a second. If the fish ignores your offering, reel in the lure and make another cast to the nest.
A Texas-rigged stickworm with a 1/8-ounce weight is also effective for bass spawning in grass. After pitching to a hole in the grass, let the worm fall to the bottom, shake it a little bit, slowly pull it and shake it again to trigger a strike.
Rigging the stickworm wacky style is best for catching bedding bass along open water flats.
In dirty-water situations, you should switch to a Texas-rigged beaver-style bait like the Buddha Bait Co Baby Momma with a 4/0 flipping hook and a 1/8- to 1 1/2-ounce weight depending on the thickness of the cover you are flipping.
Pitch the bait to the target, let it sit for a second, hop it once or twice and then go on to the next target. If a bass swims off with the bait, but you miss it on the hookset, pitch back to the spot and let the lure sit for 15 to 20 seconds since you know a fish is on the bed there.
If sight fishing with a stickworm fails to trigger a strike, you should switch to a tube bait like the Big Bite Baits Salt Tube in minnow or bluegill colors either Texas-rigged with a 1/4-ounce weight or attached to a 1/16- or 1/8-ounce jighead. The Texas-rigged tube is ideal for pitching to nesting bass in weeds or laydowns, while the tube and jighead can be skipped under docks or overhanging tree limbs.
A Texas-rigged flipping tube in black neon or black-and-blue hues works best for flipping to bass spawning around flooded bushes in dirty water. Match the tube with a 4/0 or 5/0 extra wide gap hook and a 1/4-ounce worm weight.
When agitating a fish on a bed with a stickworm but the fish still turns away from the bait, you should change up on the fish with a white creature bait like the Gambler Flappy Daddy. Rig the bait Texas style with a 5/16- or 1/4-ounce weight and a 4/0 hook. However, if you want to skip the lure under a dock or overhanging limbs attach the bait to a jighead.
Cast the creature bait past the nesting fish and bring the bait into the bed. The presentation of the bait into the bed depends on how active the fish is. Try swimming the lure to the far side of the bed and stop it. Then creep it into the bed and look for the hot spot of the nest. If you see a 24-inch diameter shiny spot, a lot of times there is a very small part of it fanned out that agitates the fish when the lure enters that spot.
Once the creature bait enters the nest, impart some movement to the bait. Twitch it or hop it to see what kind of reaction you get out of the fish. Make sure you stir up the bottom while hopping the lure.
If the fish keeps moving around or the wind makes it difficult to keep the lure in the bed, attach the creature bait to a drop shot rig. This setup will allow you to keep snapping the lure in front of the fish without lifting it from the bed.
When fishing dirty water, flip a black or green pumpkin creature bait to shallow cover and mix up your retrieves. Snap it in the cover and let it ball down, but if a spawning fish ignores your bait, try slowing down your retrieve and let the lure soak in the cover for a while. You can even try the swing head rig!