Our Next Bass Bait

All of us own enough baits we don’t even use anymore that we could stock a small tackle shop with them and still have plenty to fish with. Yet every year tackle companies bring out their “new” offerings and we add to our arsenal with the hopes the next bait will become a new confidence bait that will add to our fishing success. Some bait designs or innovations are worthy of our attention and some are not. Let’s look at the elements that make a potential purchase a “perfect fit” on an individual level.

Each year I decide to roll out a new bait design to feed a market hungry for new solutions that show the bass something they haven’t seen before or imitate a forage element in the food chain. Some designs flow from my ability to design from scratch something that hasn’t previously been available and others fall into that oh so obvious category of forage species imitators that haven’t been done before in a tube design. The new Mayfly tube falls into the latter category.

The laminated tubes: St. Clair Goby, Erie Goby and St. Clair Crayfish are very successful predecessors which fall into this category too. All three are forage species imitators and all three bottom dwellers so where is the missing piece? How about a bottom emerging, floating and hatching insect species to play the bass against the bottom hugging baitfish or crustacean? If that doesn’t give the bass a different look, then I don’t know what will.

In the “High Percentage Baits” seminar I talk about that missing piece in our soft plastics. Smallmouth bass are extremely flake color sensitive. So when the question is asked what is the one most important bait to buy often the answer is, “Whatever flake color you don’t have.” When it comes to satisfying our bronze backed friends during the summer bite switching to a different flake color is a technique that can elevate a tough day into a memorable fishing experience.

Any bait which can fill a gap in our presentation skills is also worth a serious look. If we don’t have any fast moving baits then fast moving it is. Do we mostly fish the bottom, then maybe it’s time to look at a drop-shot bait that fishes off of the bottom. If we don’t have a topwater bait worked into our skill sets yet then that becomes a “must have” item. Within the different categories look for variations in color, speed of retrieve, size, profile and such to apply the missing pieces concept effectively.

Personally, I’m slow to change. It took what seemed like a lifetime to put the wacky rig to the test. Now I don’t leave shore without it. The same goes for the drop-shot rig. Both of these were new presentations which added versatility to my game.

You can find even more about bait selection in my latest book, Smallmouth Confidential in the chapter on High Percentage Baits.

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

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