As I was sorting through some bass fishing lures in my shop a few weeks ago, something caught my attention. It’s my job to stay on top of the latest tackle trends but man, a lot of the stuff I throw isn’t the most popular. I think a lot of us can get a little distracted by the new shiny toys on the market but it’s important to pay attention to the other stuff as well. As I was loading some stuff into my boat, I started making a list of the baits that, in my opinion, don’t get near enough love from anglers.
These baits catch a bunch of fish for me and I believe if you throw ’em too, you’ll notice an increase in both the quality and quantity of your catch. Hang with me and I’ll explain why I like these baits so much.
Savage Gear 3D Snake Wakebait
Before you raise your eyebrows at me, give me a chance to explain myself on this one.
I’ve never been one to buy into the crazy-looking bass fishing lures that have become so widespread in recent years but I’m telling you… the Savage Gear 3D Snake Wakebait looks absolutely incredible in the water. I had one for a few years and never even took it out of the package until my buddy Shaye Baker decided to test it out. He called me afterwards and told me that I had to give it an honest shot. He knows his tackle, so I listened to him and rigged one up.
I gave it a shot and sure enough, this thing is a really nice bait. Will you go win a tournament on it one weekend? I’m not sure about that. I do, however, think it’s an outstanding bait for smaller waters such as ponds and rivers. The multi-jointed body and unique cable system of this bait gives it a creepy-but-cool S-wake as it crawls across the surface of the water. When you get a bite, you’ll be thankful for the swiveling hook hangers which prove to be a tremendous help when fighting big fish.
Starting at $20.99, it’s a bit on the pricier side but once you see this thing in the water, you’ll have a hard time putting it down. I plan to throw this wicked-looking bait a lot more this summer and I have hundreds of little spots I want to fish with it on my home lake.
Yo-Zuri 3DB Series SP 110 Jerkbait
I never hear anyone talking about the Yo-Zuri 3DB Series SP 110 Jerkbait and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why. This is one of my favorite jerkbaits I’ve ever used for a myriad of reasons. First of all, it casts like an absolute rocket. Even when you’re making a cast into strong headwind, this bait won’t twirl or helicopter in the air which allows for incredible distance. I also love the color patterns and terminal tackle that’s on this lure.
I’m not a huge tinkerer when it comes to bass fishing lures and I really appreciate the fact that I can take this jerkbait straight from the package and fish it with the utmost confidence. It comes with premium split rings and razor-sharp treble hooks which make it a go-to in my boat. Without looking at the price, I’d guess this lure to be in the $20 range all day long but somehow, Yo-Zuri is able to offer it for $9.49.
If you’re a jerkbait fan, I strongly recommend getting your hands on a few of these. There’s a big chance it might end up being your new favorite.
War Eagle Jiggin’ Spoon
You will never find me on the water without a War Eagle Jiggin’ Spoon tied onto one of my rods. I don’t always use it on every trip but it’s an excellent tool to use whenever you run across a big wad of deep-water fish on your electronics. A lot of folks ask us how to tell what species of fish they’re seeing on their graphs and in my opinion, the best way to learn is to drop this spoon on top of their heads because nearly every type of fish in the lake will bite this thing.
I use a 7/8-ounce Jiggin’ Spoon because I like to be able to get down to the fish as quickly as possible. Unlike a lot of other spoons out there, this one comes with a built-in swivel that drastically reduces the annoying line twist for which many jigging spoons are known. To make it even better, it also comes with an EWG Gamakatsu treble hook. I’ve caught some gigantic striped bass using this spoon and haven’t had any issues with durability. They’re not always easy to find but if you can run across ’em, I’d stock up.
About eight or nine years ago, I was at a work event eating a steak with Larry Nixon. I have always had tremendous respect for him as an angler and as I’ve gotten to know him as a man, I respect him even more. He doesn’t pull punches and if a bait stinks, he’ll flat-out tell you. So when he pulled me aside that evening and gave me a pack of Yamamoto Kreatures, he told me how he thinks it’s one of the best pitching and flipping baits ever made. I was pretty shocked he’d tell a young kid something like that. But sure enough, I put ’em in my back pocket and flew home with ’em the next morning.
After I got caught up on emails that day, I hooked my boat up and went straight to the lake to try these things. Fast-forward almost a decade and I’m still using them nearly every week. This bait offers a bulky profile in a compact package, if that makes any sense. It’s the right size to where it’ll catch both keepers and kicker fish throughout a tournament which is what I really like about it.
They’re a little fragile at times and I’m lucky to get two or three fish catches from each bait but this is one of those things I never go fishing without. I have no idea why nobody talks about this bait but heck, I guess that just leaves more of ’em for me.
4-inch Biwaa Armored Craw
This is one of the best jig trailers I’ve ever used, without a doubt. I like to skip a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce jig underneath overhanging cover such as boat docks and I have never used a trailer that skips better than this one. It’s a very compact and sleek bait without many appendages, which allow it to slide across the water’s surface just like a river rock. Also worth mentioning is how unbelievably sexy it looks on the back of a jig. That’s actually a big confidence thing for me and it has caught some giants for me over the years. I actually won my biggest tournament ever fishing with the 4-inch Biwaa Armored Craw behind a 3/8-ounce jig.
It adds a little extra bulk to your jig but not too much, which I really like. So whether you’re fishing for largemouth, spotted bass, shoal bass or smallmouth, you can expect plenty of bites and a heck of a day on the water.
Norman Fat Boy
I kind of waffled back and forth about including the Norman Fat Boy on this list. While it certainly doesn’t get enough love out there, it’s also one of my favorite shallow-water plugs and I wasn’t really willing to let the cat out of the bag. But I realized that I had already written a review on it back in 2019 so I guess I already gave up the goods.
This is a small squarebill, measuring only 2 inches long and it dives from 0 to 4 feet. This is perfect for a myriad of situations and if you high-stick your rod throughout the retrieve, it’s a killer wakebait. If you put your rod tip closer to the water, it’ll sometimes hit 5 feet on a long cast. Either way, this little plug is a bulldog and comes through thick cover without any issues whatsoever. Its wide body and blunt nose also displace a lot of water which makes it one of my favorite muddy-water crankbaits. Even if the bass can’t see it, they’ll be able to feel it with their lateral line and track it down.
I think this crankbait is eerily similar to the hugely popular Zoom WEC crankbaits. After the passing of Ed Chambers, the creator of the WEC, his plugs go for at least $50 if you’re lucky to find ’em that cheap. When it comes to mass-produced crankbaits, I think you’d have a mighty hard time finding another plug that mirrors a WEC so closely.
NetBait Paca Slim Craw
The NetBait Paca Slim Craw is one of the most versatile baits I own. Whether you use it as a jig trailer, a ChatterBait trailer, a Texas rig soft plastic, a Carolina rig or a punching bait… you can’t really go wrong. The solid body is quite durable which is a huge deal to me. I can pitch and flip this bait for hours without having to re-rig it or dig out a new one from the package. Its claws flail like crazy on the fall and because of that, you’ll notice that a lot of your bites are going to come just seconds after the bait hits the water.
I don’t know exactly what type of scent they use on these baits but over the years, I have become a big believer in it. Even on those nasty post-frontal days when the bass tend to short strike everything you throw, they don’t really seem to do that with this bait. You’ll feel a big thump and your line will be swimming for several feet before they drop it.
Lastly, the color options of the Paca Slim Craw are absolutely beautiful. Grab you a few packs and try them on your next trip. I bet you’ll fall in love.
Zoom Magnum Ultra Vibe Speed Worm
I grew up fishing the original Zoom Ultra Vibe Speed Worm and man, have I caught some fish on it. When the bass are shallow, I’ll buzz it across the surface and when they get into brush piles, you’d be hard pressed to find a better shaky head worm on the market, believe it or not. But a friend told me a few years ago that I absolutely had to try the Magnum Ultra Vibe Speed Worm. I figured it wouldn’t be much different than the original but it sure does catch some big fish. I actually use it with a heavy-action casting rod because it’s a pretty bulky and heavy worm, which is a good thing because I can cover large expanses of vegetation with just a few casts.
This is a tough bait, it’s 7 inches long, the body is bulky and durable and that little tail just kicks like a fool as you swim it through the water. If you fish around a lot of grass or laydowns, I think you’d do yourself a favor by giving this one a shot.