The Top 5 Must Have Bass Baits & Lures

The official start to Spring is just a few days away which means it’s time to start thinking about open water fishing. Man Lake is known for it’s phenomenal Bass fishing (check out the latest lake survey ) and with the opener just around the corner I wanted to take a minute to take about my favorite bass baits and lures.

One common question I get from people coming to the resort is “what baits should I bring when we come up?” Like a lot of serious fisherman, I have thousands of dollar’s worth of fishing tackle but only use about 3% of what I have (Shhh, don’t tell my wife!). If you look at the dash of my boat, all my secrets are laying there in an organized mess.

So, what are my not so secret secrets? If I had to pick 5 baits/lures to fish with the rest of my life these would be my top picks:

  1. Without question, my top pick is a jig. Yep, the simple lead headed jig. This is the most versatile bait that can be used for every species that swims in any lake.  It can be tipped with plastics or live bait.  My preferred weight would be 1/32-1/8 oz.  One of the deadliest thing on Man Lake is a light jig tipped with a leech.  Smallmouth have a really hard time resisting such a small little snack.  Now it gets a little tougher for the next four choices.
  2. My second pick is a live bait rig. Like the jig, the lindy rig is also pretty versatile. It can be used with a variety of live bait and can be controlled at various depths. One thing that works well on Man lake is red tailed chubs. Yes, they are pretty spendy little minnows, but can you really put a price on reeling in a monster smallmouth?!
  3. Third, the Rippin’ Rap. I love these things, and so do the fish.  I bet I lose $50 dollars’ worth of Rippin’ Raps a summer; mostly to northerns, but I have caught plenty of bass, walleye, and even muskie using this lure. I grew up chucking baits and covering water and this lure is great for that- it can be jigged, ripped, burned, and trolled.
  4. Fourth is the Zara Spook (actually like Cabela’s cheap knock off). Why? Because there is nothing more fun than a 21” smallmouth crushing a top water bait!  Yes, this limits you to a specific way of fishing, but again, there’s nothing more excited than a hog of a smallmouth hitting a top water bait.
  5. My fifth, without a doubt would be a Megabass Vision 110 jerk bait. Look them up and make sure you fill your tackle box full of them. I won’t tell your wife! Next time you see me, ask me about my experience with this bait.

There are a number of other lures dancing around in my head, but the above are definitely my top 5 for Man Lake smallmouth bass fishing. Every fisherman has different techniques and style, so your top 5 might look a little different than mine. If you see me around, I’d love to discuss your favorite baits over a silver bullet.