BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS: Top bass fishing baits

Published 8:48 pm Saturday, April 7, 2018

I feel a bit guilty as I write this article offering up fishing tips for those wanting to wet a hook and catch a few bass.

The truth is that I haven’t fished near as much this year as I would have liked. Between training dogs, working on our house, the unusually high winds when I’m off, and no longer having a fishing camp, my trips have been few and far between this season.  However, that doesn’t mean that I am not geared up and ready to go as soon as I have an opportunity!

In fact my Gambler Bass boat is cleaned up, gassed up, charged up, and ready to launch. There are six poles that are rigged up on the front deck of the boat, and each one has a lure tied on and is ready to fish.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

I have chosen these lures because they are very versatile and seem to produce quite well in the areas that I fish.  Below is the breakdown and a few tips for fishing each bait:

We will start with my hands down favorite, which I’m sure you get tired of hearing about.

This pole has 65-pound braided line and is rigged with a white Stanley Top Toad. I love this bait because it is very weedless, produces heart stopping blowups, and catches big bass. This time of year you should feel free to throw this bait as deep into the cover as possible. Throw it like you don’t care if you get it back!  You will soon find that there are a lot of bass hanging out where others don’t even cast.

Pole number two is rigged with a ½-ounce chatter bait with a speed craw trailer. If the water is muddy, I use a darker color and if it is clear I use a lighter color. I throw this bait over the top of grass, at the edge of the hay grass, around stumps, and near bushes. I have had success in the local bayous as well as on Sam Rayburn and Lake Fork using this bait.

Simply cast it out and reel it in.  The faster you reel, the shallower it will run. When trying to locate fish, vary your speed until you find what they like.

Rod and reel combo three is rigged with a bass fishing standard — a Texas-rigged brush hog in watermelon red. The weigh size varies depending on the wind and grass, but I usually prefer ¼ ounce or less. I throw this on points, in hydrilla, near stumps, around drop offs, or pretty much anywhere I think a bass might be hanging out.

This type of fishing is a slower pace, but it has produced some of my bigger bass, including one over the coveted 10-pound mark. I encourage you to make random casts with this bait even when you are on a different pattern.

I can’t tell you how many times I have picked up bass that didn’t want my faster moving baits but loved the brush hog.

Number four is spooled with 15-pound monofilament and has a watermelon red weightless Senko. This bait will catch fish when nothing else seems to do the trick. I like to throw it toward the bank and in the grass.

This is my favorite for private lakes and ponds. I also like to throw this bait after a fish strikes but misses another bait. It is a great follow-up lure that will help put extra fish in the live well.

My fifth combo is rigged with a rattle-trap. I use the traditional “Rayburn Red” or a silver with a blue back. January through April, I’ll throw red and the rest of the year silver.

This bait is very versatile and can be ripped through grass in a few feet of water or slow-rolled along the bottom in 20 feet or more. I like to throw this over and outside of grass as well as around main lake and secondary points. This is also a good choice when the bass start to school.

Last but not least is my whopper plopper.  I am not 100 percent certain why I keep this tied on, but I usually do.

I have caught numerous bass on these baits but I can’t say any more than I have on a Rebel Pop-R.  I think maybe I keep it tied on because it was so expensive that I want to get my money’s worth out of it!

I usually fish this early and late or on overcast days. Most of the time I fish it in 5 feet of water or less.  Sometimes I work it slow and chug it; other times I just reel it in.  By varying the way I work this bait, I let the fish tell me what they want on that particular day.

As far as the size goes, I catch more fish on the smaller one but usually noticeably bigger fish on the larger version.

There you have it … my favorite go to baits!  I hope this motivates you to take some time to enjoy God’s creation and spend a day fishing.  Remember to take a kid or friend along and make some memories that will last a lifetime!  If you catch a big one, take a picture and email it to me.

May the fish never quit biting!

Brian Johnson, originally of Port Neches, is pastor of the Outdoorsman’s Church in Winnie, owner of and outdoors writer for The News.



About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.