Big Vs. Small: Which Baits For Summer Bass?

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Summer Bass

Summer is in full swing in Texas and sometimes the bass simply won’t cooperate.  Most bass fisherman will fall into one of two categories- Big Baits or Little Baits for these picky summer bass.

I will usually opt for the BIG bait theory, especially if I am hunting eight pounds or bigger fish.  However, I have seen times when a smaller bait gets more bites and bigger bites by summer bass.

By mid to late summer shad, bream and baby bass are bigger in size and will appeal to larger bass.  That is why you see so many bass fisherman reaching for magnum swimbaits, huge jigs and spoons.

BUT, these are baits that will typically get you less bites than a smaller bait.  I am talking about smaller swimbaits, small worms and finesse jigs.

I mean, how many crappie fisherman do you know that have a caught some monster bass on a 1/16 oz jig?  The Texas state record an 18.18 pounder was caught on a 2-inch minnow, so don’t always discount smaller offerings.

My favorite BIG baits are a 6thsense FloGlider, ¾ oz in gizzard shad, Santone Football Jig in Mexican Heather and a V&M J Mag worm in Black/Blue.  All of these baits have a large profile and displace lots of water.  Each one of these baits has a completely different action and application.  The one thing they have in common is that I have a huge amount of confidence in them and know they will flat out catch monsters.  I usually throw all of these baits on 17-20lb floro.  These BIG baits are usually fished from 12-24 foot and extremely slow.

My favorite smaller baits are a Carolina rigged French fry, Santone Finesse jig and a 1/4oz spinnerbait.  These baits all have much smaller profiles and will appeal to more bass. But don’t be fooled into thinking that they will only catch small bass, because that is certainly not the case. I will typically fish these baits at a medium retrieve with a few twitches and pauses in between.  I will lighten my line on these smaller baits as I feel as though it gives my baits more action and harder for bass to see. These smaller baits can be fished in any depth in the water column.  I will down size my line to 12-15lb floro when I am using these baits.

It is very common now to see a bass fisherman reaching for a spinning rod when the fishing is tough and he is trying to fill his limit or put fish on the deck for a client.  You would rarely see this 25 years ago.  Fishing pressure can drastically affect the way fish bite and what baits they bite.

If you are on a new body of water, I would opt for the smaller baits first and see how it goes.  If you are catching some fish, then try the bigger baits to see if you might can catch some larger bass.

I also know guys that come out of the box throwing huge8-12” swimbaits to go big or go home.  This is a big risk for big reward theory and can make you a hero or zero.

Either way you see it, bass are not predictable and may change from day to day or hour to hour.  Fish your strengths and if they are not working, try either a larger than average bait, or a smaller than average bait and see what you have been missing.

G’Luck and Tight Lines

Shane Smith

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