FOR 10s

Field and Stream - - ON THE COVER -

Bass this big don’t like to chase a meal and are not easy to fool. So when they do make a move, they want a lot of calo­ries and pro­tein for the ef­fort. If you were to de­vote a tackle bag to lures for dou­ble dig­its only, it would have to in­clude these 10 baits


• These sin­gle-jointed hard lures are noted for their dis­tinct S-mo­tion swim­ming ac­tion, and in the hands of a big-bait artiste they can be made to turn 180 de­grees to chal­lenge a non­com­mit­tal fol­lower. Ja­panese im­ports can fetch up to $400, but baits like the Duo Realis On­i­masu work just as well for about $50. In clear wa­ter, glide baits are the ul­ti­mate fish find­ers, and just when you think a bass is only a fol­lower, it will get that bait cross­wise in its maw.


• A Carolina rig lets you cover wa­ter with a bulky plas­tic that repli­cates a craw­dad, lizard, or shad fairly quickly but with a sub­tle pre­sen­ta­tion. It is equally deadly on out­side grasslines in spring, and on off­shore struc­ture dur­ing the heat of sum­mer. You can fish them shal­low or deep, and in heavy cur­rent, sim­ply by ad­just­ing the weight. Lots of plas­tics score, but the orig­i­nal Zoom Brush Hog has al­ways been a top big-bass pro­ducer.


• With so many new lures avail­able, you wouldn’t think a skirted hunk of lead would be so deadly. But sim­plic­ity still works just as it did decades ago—and jigs like Strike King’s Tour­na­ment Grade now come with bet­ter com­po­nents than ever be­fore. The color, weight, and fall rate can be ad­justed with a change of trailer, but more im­por­tant, a jig is al­ways fish­ing. Even at rest, the skirt flares with the cur­rent, con­tin­u­ing to taunt big mama.


• The Strike King 10XD gets the most credit for bring­ing the mega-crank trend to the pub­lic, but it’s not the only lure of its kind. Many com­pa­nies pro­duce mod­els that pass the 20-foot div­ing mark, a depth that was not within the range of a nor­mal cast with nor­mal tackle just a few years ago. These cranks will get in front of the deep­est bass, and with the introduction of big shal­low-run­ning square­bill mod­els, they can also bust gi­ants in skin­nier wa­ter.


• When it comes to flip­ping in tight cover, some­times it pays to pair a big tung­sten weight with a bite-size lure. In Florida, an­glers uti­lize stubby lit­tle craws like the Ya­mamoto Psy­choDad, and through­out the coun­try, 3to 4-inch glid­ing soft plas­tics like the Sweet Beaver work year-round. It’s not that the fish don’t want a big­ger meal, but rather that these com­pact lures can pen­e­trate thick grass or lay­downs bet­ter than a gan­gly lizard or a rib­bon-tailed worm.


• Gi­ant Spook-style baits like Black Dog’s Lunker Punker call up mon­sters, but the lat­est phe­nom­e­non to hit the bass scene is Riv­er2Sea’s Whop­per Plop­per. Bor­rowed from the muskie world, it mar­ries a sta­tion­ary front sec­tion to a ro­tat­ing, sin­glefinned tail that kicks up a fuss. Re­trieve it steadily or rip it; spring through fall you’ll be in po­si­tion to tempt a re­ac­tion strike from the mean­est big bass on any lake. If you’ve neglected to take your heart med­i­ca­tion, go sub­sur­face.


• Um­brella rigs—a.k.a. Alabama rigs—like those from Hog Farmer Baits may look like chan­de­liers out of the wa­ter, but re­trieved sub­sur­face they per­fectly match a school of shad. Most of the lures on this list are best in spring and sum­mer; this is one of the few that tempts sus­pended lethar­gic bass dur­ing the worst cold­wa­ter pe­ri­ods. And if you think one 10-pounder on the line will be a strug­gle, wait un­til you have two pulling against you (check lo­cal regs).


• Plas­tic worms may be the most ba­sic and uni­ver­sal of all bass lures, and there’s a rea­son for that. Worms can be fished at any depth, in any wa­ter color, and with ad­vances in hook, line, and sinker tech­nol­ogy, they’re dead­lier than ever. Cal­i­for­nia an­glers lean on triple­lam­i­nate straight tails, of­ten mea­sur­ing up to 18 inches. In Mex­ico, 10-inch Power Worms are the gold stan­dard. On the TVA lakes, don’t be caught with­out a plum­col­ored Zoom Ol’ Mon­ster.


• This over­size replica of a Bic pen might be the most un­likely suc­cess story in the his­tory of bass fish­ing, but de­spite its do-noth­ing look, it has likely caught more bass than the next two most pro­duc­tive baits on this ros­ter com­bined. Fished Texas style or wacky style, it has a slow, se­duc­tive shimmy on the fall that dozens have tried to copy (un­suc­cess­fully for the most part). When hunt­ing lunkers, step up to the 7-inch model, which has a lot more girth than the 6-inch Senko.

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