Bass fishermen have a luxury other anglers lack: They can opt for a number of lures to catch their prey. When one type does not attract action, an angler has other options to turn to. Among the best bass lures are topwater lures such as crankbaits, stickbaits and crawlers. Crankbaits allow an angler to fish them at various depths, while the plastic worm is a tried-and-true performer that always seems to get hits from hungry bass.
A topwater lure has a self-explanatory name, as the angler fishes these lures on the water's surface. A bass angler chooses the appropriate topwater lure depending on weather conditions. Near dusk or right before sunrise, a crawler works well, as a bass looking up at it can mistake it for a frog or injured baitfish species. Stickbaits work in calm or choppy water. They attract bass as the angler retrieves them with a series of side-to-side herky-jerky motions. A buzzbait does not float on its own like the previously mentioned lures. It has small "props" that churn and keep the lure moving atop the water as the angler reels it in. Buzzbaits typically have a large hook camouflaged by feathers, vinyl or hair and stir up such a commotion on the water that bass come to investigate. Bass fishing expert and television personality Jimmy Houston states that a topwater lure called the Zara Spook is the best lure when no other lures get the attention of bass.
The crankbait is the most versatile lure a bass angler can use. She can fish it at different speeds and in different depths under all weather conditions. Some crankbaits have an angled plastic "lip" that helps to determine how deep the lure will dive when a person reels it in. Those crankbaits with steeper angled lips will dive deeper. Crankbaits normally look like a baitfish, and anglers consider them as search baits. An angler can cast them to different parts of a lake or pond as he seeks out bass. Some crankbaits will only dive a few feet when the impetus provided by the angler's retrieve pulls them along. Others can stay down at depths of 20 feet. Lipless crankbaits sink right to the bottom before the angler brings them in; many have rattles in them to provide the bass with audio incentive to strike. John Merwin, Field and Stream Magazine fishing editor, says that crankbaits are the best lure for largemouth in the fall.
The plastic worm should be in every bass angler's tackle box. Writing for Bass-Fishing-gear.com, fishing author Frank Faldo says the plastic worm is a favorite of the majority of professionals in an informal poll. The plastic worm is one of the premiere lures for heavy cover. When weeds are so thick that the normal lure will continually snag, the plastic worm comes to the rescue. Anglers should learn how to Texas rig a plastic worm so it will not catch in the water lilies, water hyacinth or other aquatic cover that bass hide in to ambush prey. The Texas rig, in which a worm hook winds up with its point buried into the soft plastic of the fake worm, lets an individual fish these spots from a boat without worrying about constant snags in the vegetation. In addition to worms, these plastic "creature baits" also come in forms resembling frogs, lizards and crayfish--and all are top-flight bass lures. Former professional bass angler Carlton "Doc" Holliday, writing for the Bass Resource website, considers the Texas-rigged plastic worm among the best lures.