13 Essential Largemouth Bass Fishing Lures for Small Lakes
This post will list the 13 essential largemouth bass fishing lures for small lakes. Choosing the best bass fishing lures can be very confusing. There are so many available on the market and most are hyped as the latest and greatest. It can be particularly daunting for novice bass anglers. In this article, Capt Jim‘s favorite artificial lures for largemouth bass fishing in small lakes will be listed, along with tips on how to fish them!
In order to make it as simple as possible, colors and sizes will be included where practical. However, there is no one size or color to fit every bass fishing situation. Lure size should be matched to the available forage, where possible. If bass are feeding on 2 inch shad, a six-inch jerk bait may not be as effective. And of course, the opposite is true as well.
13 essential largemouth bass fishing lures for small lakes;
5” green pumpkin Senko
¼ ounce black Beetlespin
#10 white Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait
½ ounce gold Johnson Silver Minnow
3/8 ounce Z-man Chatterbait
3/8 ounce Boohay blue/black jig
½ ounce chrome/blue back Rat-L-trap
3/8 ounce Strike King KVD chartreuse spinnerbait
Bass Assassin Die Dapper swimbait
Rapala frog pattern Skitter Pop
Booyah 3/8 ounce chartreuse buzzbait
Live Target Hollow Body frog
Strike King KVD Sexy Shad 1.5 squarebill crankbait
There is an old rule of thumb when it comes to color that works pretty well. Light colors such as white, silver, and pearl work well in clear water. Darker colors such as black, purple, and dark green work best in dark water. Bright colors such as hot pink show up best in dirty or stained water. Chartreuse is a great all round color and just about every condition.
Anglers can read more about largemouth bass fishing tackle and lures here.
Small lakes offer particular challenges to anglers. This article on the 13 essential largemouth bass fishing lures for small lakes will help anglers choose the best baits. Shad are usually present in small lakes and are often the prime forage. Many small lakes are still large enough to pattern fish. The best lures are a bit larger than those used in ponds, but are still fished at a slow or moderate pace. Small lakes in populated areas get a lot of fishing pressure!
1) Green Pumpkin 5″ Senko
Number one on the list of the best 13 largemouth bass fishing lures for small lakes is the 5 inch Senko worm. Green pumpkin is Capt Jim’s favorite color. If most bass anglers had to choose one lure to fish with the rest of their lives, many would choose a plastic worm. And for good reason. They can be worked in a variety of presentations throughout the water column.
The 5 inch green pumpkin Senko is a terrific bait! It is very supple and lifelike in the water. These baits are not quite as durable as some others, as they are a tad softer. However, this really is one of the keys to their effectiveness. Like most baits, they come in a myriad of colors and several sizes. However, novice anglers will do well with the green pumpkin color.
These baits can be rigged just as any other plastic worm can be. One very popular method these days is to rigged it wacky worm style. With this rig the hook is placed right through the center of the bait. Most hits occur on the fall as it undulate seductively through the water column. These baits are also extremely effective when fished on a Carolina rig in deeper water. In heavy cover, a Texas rig is the best choice.
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2) 1/4 ounce black Johnson Beetlespin
The Johnson Beetle spin has been around a long time and is number two on the list of best 13 largemouth bass fishing lures for small lakes . It is a very basic spinnerbait with a single Colorado blade and a small grub body. Anglers often overlook Beetle spins, and that is a mistake. The smaller version is Capt Jim’s “go to” lure for bluegill and other panfish. Since largemouth bass are really just a large sunfish, the larger Beetle spins work well on them,too.
While these lures come in many different sizes and colors, the quarter ounce version in black is the best all round size and color for largemouth bass anglers. This bait is a tad smaller than many other largemouth bass lures. It is an excellent choice when the fish are a bit finicky. It is also a productive bait in smaller ponds, creeks, and rivers.
Beetle spins are very easy to use. That is one of the things that makes it a great choice for beginners. In most cases, the best presentation is a slow steady retrieve. Anglers should cast the lure out, allow it to sink and just simply reel it back in moving it just fast enough to spin the blades. The lure will do the work itself. Spinner baits are practically weedless as well.
3) #10 Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait
The Rapala X-Rap is third on the list of the best 13 largemouth bass fishing lures for small lakes. It is in the family of lures known as “jerk baits”. These are hard body plugs that float at rest and then dive down below the surface when retrieved. They have a very erratic side-to-side motion that puts out a lot of flash and vibration. Capt Jim loves using the X-Rap as a search bait to cover a lot of water and trigger strikes.
There are many different jerk baits on the market to choose from. Rapala lures have been around for a very long time and are proven baits for a wide variety of species. While it is difficult to pick one color to cover every fishing application, white is a great all round choice. This lure realistically mimics the bait fish that bass feed on.
Click to read more about jerkbait fishing!
These baits are excellent for covering a lot of water and targeting aggressive largemouth bass. The lure is cast out towards shoreline structure or over submerged structure such as humps or channel edges. The lure is reeled quickly to get it down to the depth and then twitched sharply. The angler then points the rod tip right at the lure. This is very important! The slack line causes the bait to hang there motionless, seemingly helpless. This is often what triggers the strike.
4) 1/2 ounce gold Johnson Silver Minnow spoon
The Johnson Silver minnow is another proven bass fishing lure that is been around a long time. It is number four on the list of top largemouth bass fishing lures. This bait is a weedless spoon. Spoons are basically curved pieces of metal with a hook in the. With the Silver Minnow, the hook rides up and has a weed guard, making the lure fairly weedless.
This lure is mostly used when targeting bass in shallow weed beds. The spoon will slither between blades of grass. It can also be fished on top of lily pads and then allowed to flutter down in the open holes. While the lure is termed “Silver Minnow”, most anglers opt for the gold finish. It works very well and a variety of water conditions, but particularly in stained or tannin colored water. The 1/2 ounce size is the best all round choice. Anglers can add a soft plastic trailer for more bulk and action.
5) 3/8 ounce original Z Man chartreuse Chatterbait
The original Chatterbait is a relative newcomer to the bass fishing scene. It is number five on the list of the best 13 largemouth bass fishing lures for small lakes. There are couple attributes of this lure that make it especially desirable for novice anglers. It has great built in action and is very easy to use. Also, it is quite weedless and is very effective when used around submerged vegetation.
Chatter baits are a bit of a combination between a spinner bait and a jig. It has a jig style hook and trailer with a blade in the front. The blade puts off vibration which is earn this style of bait its nickname, a vibrating jig. This lure is extremely effective when fished over and through submerged grass. It has a single hook which makes for a good hookup ratio and also for easy release. A 1/4 ounce chartreuse Chatterbait in the chartreuse color is a good choice for many waters.
6) 1/2 ounce Booyah blue/black jig
Bass style jigs are extremely effective lures for small lakes. As with most lures, they come in a myriad of sizes, shapes, and colors. 3/8 and 1/2 ounce jigs in dark colors such as brown and black are the most versatile. Most of these jigs have built-in weed guards as a are primarily fished in heavy cover. The Booyah jig has all of these attributes.
Unlike the previously listed lures, jigs really have very little built in action. The action must be provided by the angler. This does make it a bit more difficult for anglers. However, anyone serious about bass fishing will want to master fishing with a jig. They are a versatile bait which can be fished around shallow water cover as well as over points and ledges in deeper water.
Many anglers associate jigs with flipping. This is a technique where the angler sits fairly close to shoreline cover and flips the jig either through surface weeds or in openings of the weeds. The lure is then jigged subtly in hopes of a strike. This is a technique that produces large fish. Heavy tackle is required in this application. Jigs are also effective when bounced on the bottom over drop-offs, points, and channel edges with cover.
7) 1/2 ounce Rattle trap
The Bill Lewis Rattletrap is a terrific largemouth bass fishing lure for small lakes and is an excellent choice for anglers as it has a ton of built in action. It is one of Capt Jim’s all-time favorite lures! The bait puts out vibration, flash, and rattle as it moves through the water. The 1/2 ounce size in the chrome body with a blue back is a proven lure. It closely mimics a shad, which is primary prey of a largemouth bass.
One of the best attributes of this lure is how easy it is to use. It is simply cast out, allowed to sink to the desired depth then reeled back in using a fairly brisk retrieve. Anglers will feel the vibration and actually hear the lure rattling in the water. Strikes are unmistakable as bass usually hit it aggressively. Other species such as pike and walleye will take one as well.
8) 3/8 ounce Strike King KVD spinnerbait
The Strike King KVD spinnerbait is number eight on the list of top largemouth bass fishing lures for small lakes. Like many other baits on this list, this lure has a lot of built in action, making it an excellent choice for bass anglers of all skill levels. It has tandem blades and a rubber skirt body. Spinner baits cast a long way, put out flash and vibration, and are relatively weedless.
Most anglers associate spinnerbait fishing with shallow water cover. For the most part, this is a fair assessment. Spinnerbaits work very well when worked around and through shoreline cover. The bait can be worked just over the top of submerged weeds and is extremely effective when it is allowed to bump into submerged trees and other cover. Most strikes are fairly aggressive and easy for the angler to detect. The single wide gap hook results in an excellent hookup ratio and easy release.
9) Bass Assassin Die Dapper swimbait
The Bass Assassin Die Dapper swimbait is an excellent lure for small lakes. It is a soft plastic bait that has excellent action due to the large paddle tail. It can be fished on a special swim bait hook as well as on a jig head. The swim bait hook works best when hooking the bait weedless around cover while the jig head is a better choice in open water.
This bait is fairly easy to fish as well. The angler simply casts the lure out toward shoreline cover, allows it to sink, and then slowly and steadily reels it back in towards the boat. Many anglers call this “slow rolling” a bait. Strikes are not always easy to detect and when a bite does occur anglers must set the hook firmly. Unlike some of the other lures on this list, the bass will not hook itself.
10) Rapala Frog pattern Skitter Pop
The Rapala Skitter Pop is a top water plug. That means that it floats and spends all of its time on the surface of the water. The lure has a concave face and it and this provides the action. When the rod tip is twitched sharply, the lure digs in and produces a loud popping sound. This simulates both feeding and wounded bait fish and will attract a hungry largemouth bass. The frog pattern is an excellent all round choice for bass.
Top water plugs are a lot of fun and fairly easy to fish since the strike is visual. One mistake some novice anglers make is working the lure too quickly. It should be allowed to sit for several seconds or longer in between pops. It is amazing how often the bass will hit it as it sits motionless. Also, anglers need to wait until they feel the weight of the fish before setting the hook. Anglers who set the hook when they see the strike as opposed to feeling it will usually end out with the lure flying back towards them.
11) Booyah 1/2 ounce chartreuse/white buzzbait
Buzzbaits are odd looking lures that are also worked on the surface. As with many others on this list, it is extremely easy to use. The bait is simply cast out and reel back in on the surface. When properly done, the lure parts out a rhythmic gurgling sound that will draw fish up from the bottom. It is usually used around shallow water cover.
12) Zoom Trick Worm
Plastic worms are among the most popular and effective of all largemouth bass fishing lures, and they certainly work in small lakes as well. There are many varieties for anglers to choose from. The Zoom Trick worm is an economical lure that is available in a wide variety of colors. Most anglers rig them Texas style, but they also produce when fished in a Carolina rig or wacky rigged. Green pumpkin is a great all-round color.
13) Kevin Van Dam 1.5 Sexy Shad Squarebill crankbait
The Kevin Van Dam Square Bill crankbait is last, but certainly not least, on the list of the essential largemouth bass fishing lures. It is a must-have bait in any situation where largemouth bass are feeding on shad. The wide profile and wobble realistically mimic a wounded bait fish. It is fairly easy for novice anglers to use as the strikes are easy to detect.
Like most lures, the Square Bill is most often work around shallow cover. It dives down around 4 feet deep. Anglers will work it parallel to weed edges, over submerge beds, and around submerge cover. Bouncing it off of the submerged trees is an extremely effective technique. Anglers do need to be careful of the razor-sharp treble hooks.
In conclusion, this article by Capt Jim Klopfer on the 13 essential largemouth bass fishing lures for small lakes will help anglers new to the sport choose the best baits and achieve more success!