Largemouth bass are a little like light switches. Either they are on, or they are off.
You want to know how to ‘switch them on’, right?
Thankfully, due to their brutal nature, all it takes is a little tweak here and there, and you’ll be catching in no time. Part of that ‘fine tuning’ is choosing your lure. I’m here to help.
Today I’m going to show you the best largemouth bass lures for 2023, go through when and why you’ll use them, and help you catch more fish.
The best largemouth bass lures will be designed to invoke an instinctive and violent reaction in the fish. Anything that buzzes, swims, rattles, pops, or jumps is a great place to start. Bass fishing can be hard work, but with the right gear, you’ll be all set.
Here’s what you need to know…
Table of Contents
- Best Largemouth Bass Baits | At a Glance Quick Guide
- The Best Largemouth Bass Fishing Lures
- Lures for Largemouth Bass | FAQ’s
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Best Largemouth Bass Baits | At a Glance Quick Guide
- Jigs – A weighted lure, normally with a fluttery ‘skirt’ the action (and name) comes from the fact that you ‘jig’ it up and down.
- Soft Plastics and Jellies – A solid choice, soft plastics normally look like a worm with a fluttery tail, a proven bass magnet! They are certainly the best smallmouth bass lures.
- Spinner Baits – One of the simpler lures, a metal blade is mounted on a bead or barrel. It spins as it is retrieved, making a lot of commotion, which bass love!
- Buzz Baits – Combining the best of jigs and Normally, this lure comprises two arms, a fluttery skirt, and a spinning blade.
- Crank Baits – These are solid plastic fish, often weighted with beads. They dive, dip and weave through the water, emulating an injured baitfish.
- Surface Poppers – These are similar to crankbaits, but instead of a diving vane, they have a concave face that ‘spits’ water as it is pulled across the surface.
- Spoons – One of the oldest lures known to man. As the name would suggest, a spoon is a piece of curved metal. When retrieved and ‘dropped,’ it flutters through the water, instigating a strike.
- Live Bait – This isn’t for everyone, but if you can get hold of shads or live minnows, this is as good as it gets! The downside is that live bait is hard to keep alive.
- Swimbaits – Consider these a larger, more substantial version of soft plastic worms. These are normally fully articulated fish imitations. They are perfect for bigger bass!
- Frogs – No, not live frogs (what do you think I am, a monster?). These lures are a hybrid between swim baits and poppers. They normally have swimming ‘legs’ representing a bass’s favorite food.
Now you have seen a quick rundown, let’s take a deep dive into all of the lures above. I’ll show you what they are about and even give you some great ideas as to those which would be just perfect for the up-and-coming bass season!
The Best Largemouth Bass Fishing Lures
Jigs aren’t just your ‘chuck it out and hope’ kind of deal. They require serious work, and fishing them correctly is a fine art. You aren’t getting the most out of your lure if you just cast them and pull them in.
You need to make these things dance.
A jig is normally made up of several parts. You will normally fish them on a jig head (which looks something like this). The head forms the weight for casting and to help the lure sink. After the head, you’ll find a long and highly mobile skirt. This can be made of materials, such as the following:
- Pearlescent material
- A mix of all of the above
Jigs are best fished by varying your retrieve rate and/or twitching the rod. This causes the skirt to flutter and ‘swim’. While it might not look like much to you, largemouth bass love it! Jigs come in all shapes and sizes and are often designed to imitate things that largemouth bass eat, such as crawfish, small fish, frogs, worms, or something in between.
Something like this jig here is a typically effective largemouth bass lure.
Things that would make this a worthy choice will be the highly mobile hackles, included jighead, and an all-important feature, the weed guard, allowing you to fish it without fear of it snagging on underwater plants.
Here’s what it looks like when they are being fished properly.
Why Jigs are Great for Largemouth Bass
- With weed guards, they can be used anywhere.
- Both small and big bass love jigs.
- The ability to fish at a variety of depths.
- Plenty of choice regarding color and size.
Downsides of Largemouth Bass Jigs
- They get badly chewed up after several bites (but hey, that means they work, right?).
- Tiring to fish constantly.
- You might have the right lure but are fishing it wrong, and vice versa. Takes some trial and error to get right.
Soft Plastics and Jellies
Jelly worms are proven largemouth bass catchers. And the good news is that they are really easy to fish. You cast them out, and the lure does all the work for you.
It goes something like this.
Jelly worms and soft plastics start off with the body of a worm, but their tail is normally made of a thin rubber strip. This wriggles and swims along as you pull the lure. This swimming action, combined with worms being a particular favorite of largemouth bass.
You normally get several bodies in one pack, which normally looks something like this (top tip, that color is deadly). Because you get a few, this makes them great value, and you can reuse them too!
Why Soft Plastics are Great for Largemouth Bass
- Pretty cheap.
- Highly mobile (and effective).
- Plenty of scope to mix and match with different colour jigheads.
Downsides of soft Plastics when Bass Fishing
- Their construction means they need to be kept moving to work, which is not ideal for winter.
- They also get damaged easily with constant casting.
Spinners, also known as ‘Mepps spinners’ have been around for hundreds of years.
Spinners are made up of a hook, a weighted barrel, and a spinning blade located towards the eye of the hook. As they are pulled through the water, the blade pivots around the hook, creating a silvery flash and lots of vibration.
Guess which fish gets ‘switched on’ by both of those things?
Spinners are pretty bulletproof construction-wise, and while they cost a little more than soft plastics and jogs, they will last a lot longer.
You can fish at a variety of depths and speeds.
Here’s what spinners look like. This one would be great as you get the added advantage of a tail, and the dots on the barrel really seem to get the bass going.
Why Spinners are Great for Largemouth Bass
- A tried and tested bass catcher.
- Extremely long-lasting.
- Easy to fish.
- Relatively cheap.
Downsides of Spinners when Bass Fishing
- Almost impossible to fish around weed beds.
- They have a limited casting range.
- They aren’t interchangeable.
What do you get if you cross a spinner and a jig?
Man, these are great for catching largemouth bass. The lure is made up of two’ arms’. You’ve got a rubber skirt on one arm, and on the other side, you have a spinning blade. These combined seem to be lethal for largemouth bass. I think the lure is designed to simulate a smaller fish chasing a jig. Bass are quite happy to annihilate them both.
Buzz baits are great fished at depth or towards the surface but, be warned, this isn’t one that you will want to use around weed and underwater features, snag city, er… Dude.
Take a look at this buzz bait, for instance.
There is just no way that a bass will be able to resist. If they are in the mood to chase something with a spinning blade and loads of movement, this will work a treat!
Why Buzz baits are Great for Largemouth Bass
- Really mobile.
- Combine the best of two other lures in one package.
- Easy to fish.
Downsides of Buzz Baits
- Get caught up and snagged easily.
- They don’t cast well.
- They are no good for cold weather fishing.
If you want to look like a professional largemouth bass fisherman, then you need to use what they use.
Crankbaits are where it is at!
They look like a live fish, act like a live fish, and get eaten like a live fish.
Crankbaits are normally solid cigar-shaped tubes of hard plastic painted on the outside to look like a fish. They tend to feature lifelike eyes too.
But it isn’t all about looks, but it is about lips.
Crankbaits feature a large plastic lip that protrudes out of the front. This lip or ‘diving vane’ determines how the lure acts in the water, whether deep diving or shallow swimming.
As the lure is pulled and jerked, it darts erratically, just like a baitfish in distress.
Largemouth bass love nothing more than to put them out of their misery.
My favorite brand? You’ll nearly always find a Yo-Zuri or two in my tackle box.
Why Crank Baits are Great for Largemouth Bass
- Great for trolling behind a kayak or boat.
- Easy to fish.
- Good casting distance.
- One of the most effective largemouth bass baits around.
Downsides of Crankbaits
- Horrendous around weed and underwater flora.
- Difficult to store (and unhook) trebles can be a nightmare.
- Normally a little pricey.
On the face of it, poppers are actually a form of crankbait.
There is a big difference.
These little beauties aren’t designed to sink or swim… They are meant to float. The body is full of air, allowing them to rest on the surface of the water. As they are pulled and twitched, the concave face makes little spits and ‘pops’ of water, just like a fish gasping its last.
This has to be one of the most action-packed ways to catch largemouth bass. Want to get in on the action? Check this out.
Size and color will vary on the day; above all else, the important thing is to make your lure work for you. The more action, the better.
I prefer to go slightly larger with my poppers, that way, I’m not getting plagued by nuisance species. Something like this, at around 3 – 4 inches, is ideal. And the best bit? It does the same job as the ‘premium’ brands but works just as well.
Why Surface Poppers are Great for Largemouth Bass
- Great for casting at a distance.
- Possibly the most entertaining form of fishing there is.
- Great for fishing over weed and structure.
Downsides of Surface Poppers
- If the fish aren’t up on top, you are going to struggle.
- They aren’t always cheap.
- They require constant work to fish properly and are quite tiring.
Spoons are probably the outlier for the best largemouth bass lures. They are super old technology. A spoon is simply a curved piece of metal, with an eye at one end and a hook at the other.
The shape means that the lure bobs, weaves and flashes through the water as you retrieve. This erratic motion stimulates the bass to strike.
The good news is that they are super cheap and easy to fish with. They are also impossible to break, so they pretty much last forever if you don’t lose them.
Take a look at something like this spoon here.
They are cheap and indestructible. One nice thing is the casting weight. As lures go, you’ll probably get the best distance with a spoon.
Yeah. They aren’t too dynamic. You can’t fish on top with them, and if the bass aren’t interested, you are out of luck. They are also a real pain to fish near the lake bed, as they get snagged constantly.
I’ll normally give it about 10 minutes with this type of lure, and if nothing bites, I’ll switch to something much more imaginative.
Why Spoons are Great for Largemouth Bass
- Simple and rugged construction.
- Huge casting distance.
Downsides of Spoons for Largemouth Bass Fishing
- Not very diverse in the way in which you can fish them.
- Prone to catching on underwater obstructions.
- I’ll be honest, they are a bit boring.
I won’t go on too much about live bait. While it is a super successful way to bag a largemouth bass, I tend to find that the effort in procuring and keeping it in good condition far outweighs any benefit you’ll gain in catching.
If you are committed, go for it!
You could try nightcrawlers, minnows, or shads for sure.
Unlike with lures, where you can adopt a targeted approach, live bait attracts all manner of underwater creatures.
Live bait vs lures, which is best? Well, why not head here, where I’ve tried to settle the debate.
Why Live Bait is Great for Largemouth Bass
- It’s natural.
- It does catch fish.
- It can work out relatively cheap (especially if you source your own).
Downsides of Live Bait
- It is difficult to keep it, well, alive.
- It isn’t always readily available.
- You can’t reuse live bait.
I consider swim bait a sort of cross between crankbaits and soft plastics. They are like crankbaits because, generally, they are designed to look and act like fish. The soft plastic part? Because often, they are made of soft plastic.
They work utilizing a body with several hinges. These hinges allow the lure to ‘swim’ in a lifelike fashion, and if it looks real, largemouth bass will treat it as real… I.e., murder it.
Unlike with crankbaits, you can fish with swimbaits in a few ways. Either conventionally retrieving them or alternatively leaving them to lie flat on the bottom, giving them the occasional twitch like a dying minnow.
I love this swimbait, the action is about as realistic as it gets, and it can be fished in a variety of styles too.
Why Swimbaits are Great for Largemouth Bass
- They are super cheap.
- They are about the closest thing you’ll get to live bait.
- You can fish them in many different ways.
Downsides of Swimbaits when Bass Fishing
- They get damaged easily.
- They are another that requires almost constant work to fish well.
Frogs would feature highly if you asked a bass what its favorite dinner was.
If you can’t beat them, join them. Frogs are like the amphibious version of topwater poppers with a good bit of swimming action thrown in for good measure.
You’ll normally fish them on top. Features to look out for are upward-facing hooks as a matter of priority.
The best way to fish them is to throw them on top of lilypads and then swim from leaf to leaf, just like a real-life frog! Most frog lures will also feature a pair of wiggly legs. The best frog lures for largemouth bass are practically indistinguishable from the real thing when viewed from below.
There is actually a fair bit of science that has gone into designing these lures. You can see what happens in this video in slow motion!
Yep, you’ve got to be quick.
Want to have a go? I’ve got a bag full of these frog lures. I prefer soft rubber legs to the more realistic-looking plastic ones. You’ll get fewer tangles and can still get a little motion even with super slow retrieves.
Why Frog Lures are Great for Largemouth Bass
- One of the best largemouth bass lures for spring and summer.
- Easy to fish.
- Visually exciting to use.
- Good for hunting larger bass.
Downsides of Frogs for Largemouth Bass Fishing
- They aren’t the cheapest lure.
- They only tend to work in certain seasons (like spring and summer).
- Smaller bass tend to avoid them.
Lures for Largemouth Bass | FAQ’s
When it comes to bass fishing, nothing is a ‘given’. But there are one or two things that everyone wants to know, and I do have the answer.
Here are the most common questions I get asked about largemouth bass fishing.
What lure catches the most bass?
The lure that tends to catch the most largemouth bass are soft plastics, closely followed by either topwater poppers or crankbaits. The main diet of bass is smaller fish and worms, both of which are accurately represented above.
The lure you choose can depend very much on the season. If you want to know when that is, be sure to check out my expert guide to the best seasons for bass fishing here.
What color lures do largemouth bass like?
I’d tend to say the brighter, the better for my money. Bass are visual hunters, and there is nothing wrong with giving them a helping hand to locate your lure.
Suppose I had to pick one color alone. In that case, I’d go for silver or metallic finishes, as these most accurately represent the main diet of what bass eat.
That said, why not take a selection? As you have seen, jelly worms aren’t expensive.
Here are the top bass colors you’ll find in my bag:
- White (which is particularly good for night bass fishing)
- Black (it makes a great silhouette)
What attracts largemouth bass?
Listen up. You are about to learn something. Want to attract more bass to your lure. Hit as many of the following as you can when choosing. I guarantee you will see success.
The best largemouth bass baits will have:
- Excellent and bright visual appeal.
- Rattling beads.
- Plenty of movement either through blades or mobile tails.
- A semi-realistic appearance.
Go back through my list of lures above, and you’ll see that with each one, most of the above criteria are satisfied.
What baits do Pros use?
The short answer? All of them. Pros don’t rely on one bait or lure only, and if they did, they wouldn’t be pros. The key to their success is constantly changing up their technique if something isn’t working.
So, what I will say is this.
Be sure to take a selection of lures down to the lake. That way, if something isn’t working out, you can easily switch it up until you find something that does.
The best largemouth bass lures of 2023 aren’t a secret. You’ve just got to look for the right qualities.
Anything that bass would naturally find swimming around, with plenty of movement, will get you close enough, and from there, just refine until you figure out what works. It can change based on the season and time.
If you want to know what works in winter, check this article out. Oh, and here is another one for good lures in the fall too! Want to get kitted out for that big bass? Be sure to swing by my article on the best bass fishing rod and reel combos, sweet!