Neko Rig/Wacky Rig
We don’t talk about this bait much, but it probably caught the greatest number of fish in 2020! The Neko Rig, or any type of wacky-rigged stick worm, flat out catches fish. The Neko Rig is effective beginning with the spawn and going all the way through fall. You can fish it shallow or deep, depending on how much weight you add to the head of the worm. Fishing it weightless is also an option, especially during the postspawn.
2020 was a good reminder the tried-and-true lures that caught fish a decade ago are still working today. If you like to power fish and cover lots of water, then you probably spent a lot of time throwing a bladed jig this year. A standard trailer for the bladed jig is a soft, jointed swimbait. The movement of the tail, along with the vibration of the head, is a fish magnet. Depending on your color choice, this bait can mimic shad, bluegill or crawfish. With this bait’s versatility, it can be used throughout most of the fishing season.
Texas-Rigged Stick Worm
It doesn’t get much simpler than fishing a Texas-rigged stick worm. This bait has little to no action. However, it has been a staple for years as a bass-catching machine. This year was no different. Anglers from coast to coast brought in big bass by dragging this bait through grass beds and brush piles. With this rig being one of the most weedless and snag-free techniques available, it can be fished freely in any type of cover.
The swim jig is very similar to the bladed jig, but without the blade. They both made this list because of their effectiveness in 2020. The swim jig has a subtle action when brought in with a straight retrieve. By shaking your rod during the retrieve, you can add as much or little action to the bait as you want. The versatility of this lure comes from its sleek design and endless options of trailers. From swimbaits to twin-tailed grubs, there are thousands of combinations to create your perfect swim jig and match the hatch at your favorite fishing hole.
In the past, jerkbaits were thought of as very seasonal baits. Early spring and late fall were the optimal times for this shad-imitating lure to attract bass. In 2020, the jerkbait was used throughout the year with the introduction to new technology like forward-facing sonar. Using this new technology, anglers can target fish that are in the middle of the water column more easily. A jerkbait is one of the few baits that can suspend in place when you stop your retrieve. This allows you to work the bait with the necessary twitches and pauses based on what you see using your forward-facing sonar. This technology has brought new life and purpose to the jerkbait.