Let’s face it – between work and family obligations, very few anglers actually spend as much time as they would like to on the water. That said, those few hours that you do spend fishing each week are precious, and you need to be able to maximize your time on the water with the right baits for every fishing situation!
Luckily, we have Travis Moran on board to teach us all about his three favorite versatile baits that he uses to quickly and efficiently locate & catch active bass.
Let’s break them down:
1) Lipless Crankbait
- 17 # fluorocarbon line
- 7’6” med, mod/fast action rod
- Best for long casts & varied retrieves in different water depths
The lipless crankbait is one of Travis’ all-time favorites! Lipless crankbaits can be used in different water depths, and depending on the speed of your retrieve, you can make the bait run shallow or deep to target different water columns. You can also work a lipless crankbait like a jig, letting it sink all the way to the bottom of the lake, then hopping it a few times to catch the attention of bass. Lipless crankbaits are also great for making long casts along the edge of the bank where active bass love to feed. See Travis snag a fish with this bait at 2:05!
2) 9/16 oz. V&M Pacemaker Jig + Gary Yamamoto Cowboy
- 50 # braid line
- 7’4” med/heavy fast action rod
- Best along the shoreline with heavy cover and fallen trees
The V&M jig has a solid weed guard and a heavy head, which makes it ideal for flipping and skipping under heavy cover and fallen tree limbs where fish might be hiding. When combined with a strong 50 # braid line, the weedless V&M jig can set the hook hard and pull that fish out from under cover better than any other bait. If you’re not fishing along the shoreline, the jig can also be cast out in open water, where it quickly sinks to the bottom of the lake and looks like a dying bait fish – an easy meal for hungry bass. Watch Travis hook a fish with this bait at 4:40!
3) 1/8 oz. Mustad Wacky Jig Head + Gary Yamamoto Senko
- 30 # braid line + 12 # fluorocarbon leader
- 7’2” med, mod/fast action rod
- Best for slow, sluggish fish who aren’t actively feeding
Fish usually hit finesse rigs on the fall, so it’s important to let this bait sink all the way down to the bottom of the lake. Once it hits the bottom, let it sit for a second or two before you give it a little “tap, tap, tap” to pull it off the bottom, then sink it back down. As it sinks, the finesse bait’s legs will twitch and wiggle – a movement that hungry bass just can’t resist. The wacky jig is a great choice for anglers who like to slow down and fish a bit more thoroughly. Like the V&M jig, the wacky jig looks like a dying bait fish, which will entice even the laziest bass to bite. Watch Travis try – and fail – to catch a fish at 5:20. Hey, it happens to the best of us! J
Having the right tool for the right situation is what bass fishing is all about, and we hope you learned a thing or two from Travis. If you liked this video, give it a thumbs up and let us know what else you want to see!
Watch the full “Versatile Baits” video or read the transcription below:
Versatile Baits: The Right Baits For All Fishing Situations – Video Transcription
So, the simple reality is, we don't get to spend as much time out on the water as we would like. So, when we are fishing, we don't want to spend all our time trying to figure out where they are or what they're biting on; we want to spend our time catching fish.
So today, I'm going to break down three different baits to help you get on the water and maximize your time so that you can cover a lot of water, but also you can efficiently cover the different situations you come across so you can figure out where the fish are and what they're biting on, as quickly as possible. So, sit back and relax. I'm Travis Moran, and we're going to be breaking down some fishing basics.
Let's get right into it. First up is a lipless crankbait, one of my all-time favorites, rigged up on 17-pound fluorocarbon, and a moderate fast action rod. I've got a lot of taper in that rod to really be able to cast this long distances and be able to fight the fish the way I need to with a lipless crankbait.
Next up is a 9/16 ounce Jig by V&M Baits called the Pacemaker. Then I've got a Gary Yamamoto Cowboy in a green pumpkin color as a trailer. 50-pound braid and a nice stout rod. A lot of good things I can do with this very versatile setup.
Lastly, you've got to have a finesse set up, so I've got the Mustad 1/8 ounce wacky jig head paired up on the original baby, the OG, Gary Yamamoto five-inch Senko in the green pumpkin color. 30-pound braid with a 12-pound fluorocarbon leader paired up with the hybrid stick. This is a great all-around rod, 7'2", moderate fast action.
What makes a lipless crankbait so versatile is the different water depths, the different action you can give it. Just a cast out and steady retrieve, you're going to catch fish. But if you speed up the retrieve or you slow it down, you can make that bait run shallower or deeper to target different water columns to get down to where those fish are. But then on top of that, you can give that bait different action, like I'm doing right now. You can work it almost like a jig, where you let it go all the way to the bottom and you give it ... Oh, and I'm hooked up already. There we go.
You guys see? I wasn't even moving it. I hopped it a couple times, and then that fish actually grabbed it right off the bottom. So, it looked like some kind of dying bait fish. Here we go. Oh, and look at this thing. There we go, come on buddy. You coming in here? Guys that's a great example of what this lipless is capable of.
All right, so this jig has a nice weed guard, so I'm really able to flip this and skip it under tree limbs and things into that heavy stuff where these fish may be hiding. And that 9/16 ounce head is heavy enough that, if I'm flipping over limbs and stuff, it's heavy enough that it's going to pull that bait down there and get to where those fish are underneath there. But now, talking about open water, I can also just cat this jig out in the open. That head brings it all the way down there, and I can really work this bait along the bottom in open water, feeling out for any hard bottom down there, or some tree limbs and things like that.
All right, for the finesse rig, the fish usually hit it on the fall, so you cast over to where your target is. Then you let that bait sink all the way down to the bottom. Once it hits the bottom, you can let it sit for a second or two to see if you get bit, and then what I do is I just give it a little tap, tap, tap, get it back up off the bottom and then let it sink all the way back down, and get those little legs twitching. So, when I lift it up, I'm twitch, twitch, twitch, twitch, twitch. It's basically to get the fish's attention. Then when I let it sink, as it sinks, those little legs slowly wobble back and forth, and that's usually what gets that fish to eat.
Okay, now that we've discussed the different baits, let me show you why we selected these. First, if you look down in front of me along the bank, there's so much cover. And with this lipless crankbait, I can make long casts along the edge of it, and I can work it a lot of different ways. I can hop it, I can burn it, and I can look for active bass that are out feeding in front of this stuff.
It's a great bait that I can fish a lot of different ways, as I'm making my way down the lake. But the lipless crankbait's only good for fishing the edge quickly. As I look in here, there's some fantastic targets for bass to be up under and in this thick stuff, waiting to ambush things. And I can't throw that lipless crankbait in there. With all those treble hooks, you're going to snag up. That's where this jig is the perfect tool, because it's weedless, it's got a nice heavy head on it. I can really flip into these great targets. And if I get bit, I've got that 50-pound braid, which I can really set the hook hard and pull that fish out and not worry about it snapping off.
Yes, yes. Holy cow. That's a good jig fish, right there. Look at that.
Alright, lastly is this wacky rig Senko. This is great for those areas when you realize there is some fish in a specific spot, and you want to slow down, fish a little bit more thoroughly. Or, if you just see a great target that you know there's got to be a fish on there, and you want to throw your best high percentage bait. That's going to be this wacky rig Senko. It's got that real natural looking fall. You can keep it in that strike zone for a lot longer. Usually you're going to be able to get active fish to hit it, but this is the bait you're going to get those fish that are sluggish, not really feeding to actually react to this too, because it's just an easy, easy meal.
Guys, having the right tool for the right situations is what bass fishing is all about. And if you're trying to figure out a lake, whether it's for the first time or figure out what's going on that season, having some versatile lures so you can cover water fast, but also thoroughly, being able to have the right baits to make the right cast is so important. With that lipless you’re able to make long casts and vary the retrieves, and that jig, you're able to go up real shallow or even fish deep structure. And then lastly, you're able to clean house with that finesse wacky rig Senko. You can't go wrong with a versatile setup like that.
Anyway guys, I'm Travis Moran with Lucky Tackle Box, and we're back to doing videos, so hopefully you're happy. If you are excited about that, throw the thumbs up below, show your support. Also, leave a comment. Let me know what kind of videos you want to see. Anyway, guys, I'm excited to be back. You guys wanted me to do more short videos, more pond boat videos, more kayak videos. So, this is video numero uno. There's going to be plenty more. I will catch you out on the water. – Travis Moran, Chief Fishing Officer at Lucky Tackle Box