Our Next Bass Bait – Building Confidence In It

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.

DOES THIS BAIT WORK?

If you have been to any of my High Percentage Bait seminars the first thing you heard from me was, “Everything works!” Back in the day they would weld a hook to a real spoon and throw it out there and catch fish. One of my favorite activities in the first bass club I belonged to was to drag out every odd looking bait I could and use them during a tournament, and catch fish. Little Sunny, a rubber sunfish with an in-line spinner and treble hook was one of my favorites but you will see me use the Flying Lure, the Banjo Minnow, bobbers and more. Fishing can be fun and even more fun while your friends are shaking their heads in disbelief as you land one more bass for the livewell. The real question is what is the best way to present a bait and when does it perform at its best.

THE ART OF THE BITE

After over a decade of researching baits in the field I can tell you with confidence in my position that no two baits fish exactly alike. This might seem like an obvious statement but few have the time to track the results and access to finely tuned matched design features to test like I’ve been fortunate to work with. Within certain categories like: big fish baits, baits for consistency or baits for special applications there are similarities in the bite for sure that appear identical. Once you work with baits within a tightly defined category (most bass anglers have done this through natural and logical bait selection), differences will become clearer and ultimately confidence will rise with each piece of information gathered about the specific tendencies. One natural tube bait might be strong in the lake and a different natural tube bait might be strong in the river. One perch pattern jerkbait might draw more northern pike than bass while a jerkbait made by the same company but in a clown pattern draws more smallmouth.

THE NEW BAIT OR BAIT THAT NEVER GETS USED

The way I work with these baits is to trot them out during the pre-spawn period when bass will hit just about anything. It doesn’t tell me much about how the bait will fish after the spawn but it does give me a bucket full of confidence that the bass will hit it with frequency when I get it out there. Even in that target rich environment there will be some tendencies that will show up and there will be some adjustments to be made. The specifics don’t often translate directly to the post-spawn environment but they start the gears turning upstairs so when I’m faced with bait selective fish, there’s a starting point coupled with the belief the bait will work when I find the right conditions for it.


This early season largemouth was caught on a spinnerbait that wouldn’t have been my first choice to target a nice fish like this

(c) 2010 Wayne Carpenter

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4 Responses to “Our Next Bass Bait – Building Confidence In It”

  1. Terry Bone Says:

    My buddy was fishing a crank in a very ugly clown pattern in the fall. I made a wager that he wouldn’t catch a smallie with it. I enjoyed watching him throw that bait all day and even more fun of having him finally catch one with it. If I’m not in the boat, challenge yourself to throw it until you catch em.

    I had little confidence in the Sebile Magic Swimmer, would pick it up occasionally and never had a bite. One day I challenged myself to use it for the whole day – started getting into them and boy what a difference in confidence now.

    • Wayne Carpenter Says:

      The Magic Swimmer, eh? I missed that one but it sounds like you’ve got a handle on it. Do they still make them? One of the little used but effective baits I’ve used was the Pork-‘O. It was chartreuse on top and white on the bottom and I did OK one day on largemouth. As long as that thing was, they always hit the front.

      • Terry Bone Says:

        Magic Swimmer is the relatively recent Sebile bait. Long and Multiple joints. Looks like a snake going through the water. Hard bait but they came out with a soft version last year.

  2. Wayne Carpenter Says:

    Thank you for saying so Joel. My client base is both serious, and competitive bass anglers so it opens up the conversation to include some pretty cool stuff. I appreciate your encouraging words.

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