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.
JIG AND TRAILER
• 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.
CRAWS AND CREATURE BAITS
• 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.