If you’re a newcomer to bass fishing, or perhaps just looking to take someone fishing for the first time, there are a handful of lures that make great baits for beginners. The goal today is to give you a group of five of these baits and the basic knowledge of how to use them. Let’s dive in.
A Rooster Tail is one of the easiest baits ever to fish. And while it’s a great bait for bass fishing, it will also draw a strike from a wide variety other fish. Bonus bites like this can often help a novice angler stay interested as he or she first starts to participate in the activity. The design of this bait is simple. There’s a heavy cylindrical body, typically made of lead, with a blade that spins around it and a feathered treble attached to the back.
This lure is designed to mimic small baitfish and can be fished with great ease, by simply throwing it out and reeling it in. One thing to keep in mind though, this isn’t a great bait to fish around cover, because the exposed treble hook has a tendency to snag anything it touches. But that sharp and sticky treble also requires very little effort to set the hook, which is a good thing for beginners. Learning how and when to set the hook with most baits takes a little practice. With a Rooster Tail, you can just keep reeling and the hook will basically set itself.
One of the most popular baits out there for beginners and seasoned anglers alike, the Ned rig is an easy to fish bait that simply gets bit. Comprised of a small jighead and downsized soft plastic bait, a Ned rig is a non-threatening little morsel that most bass just can’t let pass by. This is a bait that’s perfect for fishing on shining gear and closed face reels like a Zebco, which again make it a fantastic bait for beginners who are often more comfortable with those two types of reels.
The Ned rig can be fished with an exposed hook or on a jighead with a weedguard. Though the exposed hook version is surprisingly snag resistant, the weedless version is much better at coming through thick cover. Simply toss this bait out, let it sink to the bottom and then slowly drag it back. The bites should start rolling in pretty quick if you’re around any fish at all.
A lipless crankbait is another awesome bait for beginners, because it again requires very little skill to fish. But despite its simplicity, it’s an awesome fish catcher and a staple in the tackle box of even the most advanced anglers. This is another bait that requires a basic retrieve. You can throw a lipless crankbait out and just reel it back in.
If you’re fishing in water more than five feet deep, you’ll want to let the bait sink a second or two before starting your retrieve. And though 1/2- and 3/4- ounce baits catch lots of fish too, a 1/4- ounce lipless is likely the best for a beginner, because it will get a few more bites which again helps retain the attention of anglers who are early in their development.
A small boot tail or paddle tail swimbait makes for another great addition to the tackle box of any angler. Rigged on a small jighead, this bait gives the angler a lure that can be fished just below the surface or several feet deep, all while offering a much more subtle approach compared to the lipless crankbait that can be fished throughout a comparable depth range.
A 1/4 ounce or even as light as 3/16 ounce jighead is a great place to start, and stay. Those two sizes allow any angler to fish the bait a little quicker or a little slower and cover a lot of the water column. When the bite comes, you’ll need to set the hook a little harder with this lure compared to the treble hook baits which will basically set themselves.
Small prop bait
Something like a small Whopper Plopper or Berkley Choppo caps off a starter tackle box nicely. Topwater bites create magnificent memories. And it often only takes one of these bites to hook an angler for life. These small prop baits are meant to be reeled continuously, which makes them easy to fish and effective at covering lots of water.
Just throw the bait out, reel it in as slow as you can while maintaining a constant spin of the prop and be patient. The bite will come soon, and if the fish gets the bait, it will basically hook itself. So just keep reeling and lean into the fish when you feel it pull. Waiting for this tension will also help keep you from snatching the bait away from a bass if it doesn’t connect with the lure on the first or second swipe.
There are another dozen or more additional baits that could have made this list, but these five will give any angler the ability to cover the majority of the water column, mimic several different types of prey and catch fish in almost all conditions. Just put these baits in the water and get ready.