Building a bass finesse kit takes a little planning. You need to know what presentations to use. The lures come in many types. Do you need a finesse lure for a place or time? Fishing is the process of choosing the right lure for the time and place.
Online people ask for choices in a lure. The people answer with what is popular where they fish. It is likely different in your region. Plus, many of these people lack experience and repeat what they hear in other forums. As a beginner, you need to understand how and why to use each lure. Then build your starter bass kit on what is best for you.
Estimated reading time; 13 minutes
Starting with lures is not hard. The first mistake is buying too many types of lures. Buy 2 types and learn how to use each type. The same applies to colors also. All the color choices are to catch people, not fish. In general, an angler needs a bright, dark, and possibly a baitfish pattern in terms of color. Some lures have gold or silver blades. The difference in the colors works for different levels of staining or color in the waters.
The first step is determining the lures best for you. Fishing for smallmouth versus largemouth has an impact. The type of waterways influence lure choice. The temperature, amount of light, and water condition come into play also. In 50 years of fishing, I have not found a one does it all lure.
Bass Kit Finesse Lures
Bass finesse lure kits are for the times when the bite is tough, fish see a lot of pressure, or in colder water conditions. They work in situations when fish are active also. Use the lures in heavier cover where other lures snag. A few of the lures of this type will work most of the time.
The following are the most popular and productive finesse lures. Learning one of these types to start will allow you to learn others fast. Start with one and learn the lure. Then add a secondary option. It takes time to learn the lures. Learning one of each type at a time is best.
Jigs are simple yet productive lures. Every person that fishes need a jig in the tackle box. A jig gets into places other lures cannot go or work. A heavy jig can punch down through heavy cover, tube jigs excel in rivers and streams. The Ned Rig is an exceptional lightweight finesse lure for finicky fish.
Jigs for a Bass Finesse Kit
A jig comes in a large selection of weights and head shapes. The weight controls the fall rate and control while working. The shape affects how the jig stands at rest and moves through the cover. Gaining experience is the best way to choose the best for your fishing style and locations. That said, many jigs are for specific uses. The average angler likely has 3-5 types of jigs.
The bass jig is the standard for largemouth anglers. There are at least 6 basic variations on the jig. The differences allow you to fine-tune the jig for a presentation technique, bottom structure, and cover. These little things make the difference in success on the water. A largemouth bass angler will focus on this jig for their finesse kit
As the name implies, the jig swims through the water. This lure is an option for areas of moderate to heavy vegetation. You work it in the same technique as a lipless crankbait. In other words, cast it out and retrieve the lure. It should be tapping or touching the cover a little. If it grabs too much speed up the retrieve or slows down if it does not touch the cover.
The ideal time for this lure is post-spawn, instead of a crankbait due to cover limitations, or when it is too thick for a spinnerbait. This jig is a search lure with the finesse aspect to its performance. Toss the lure into the log jams, brush piles, and weed beds where the big bass hide.
The lure does require a little touch. You need to learn to feel the lure ticking or tapping the cover. Plus, find the productive retrieve rate. Then know the difference between the cover and a fish grabbing the lure. Mastering this lure will have you catch fish where others say there are not any fish.
Time for old-school fishing tactics with this lure. The casting jig is the original all other bass jigs came from in the basic design and use. You do nothing fancy with the lure. It is actually a boring retrieve for many people. You cast the lure and retrieve it slowly by dragging it across the bottom, adding a few hops or twitches along the way.
You can pitch or flip the jig into a heavy cover when fish are holding tight. It also works on the flats, deep water, and clear water for fish hesitant to strike. You can back off from where the fish are schooling. This helps with spotted or smallmouth bass that will spook if you work them too close at certain times. Use the lure instead of a Carolina rig if the fish are striking the sinker.
Looking at the lure it appears to be a flipping jig. The lures do look alike yet there is a difference. The casting jig uses a lighter thinner wire for the hook. This allows easier and better hook penetration. When working drop-offs and ledges the slackline makes hooks set tougher. This jig helps reduce the problems of getting the hook in deep.
A flipping jig is all about accuracy in the presentation. The lure is for heavy cover shallow water bass. It comes with a stouter hook for pulling the bass out of the cover. This is pinpoint targeting of cover for bass. You toss the lure into the thick cover and work it a few feet. Then lift the rod and pendulum the lure back. Repeat the toss it into another spot.
If you watch bass shows you have seen the technique. The angler position the boat close to cover and moves along slowly. Making short tosses every few feet into pockets or opening in the cover. This technique is productive early season when fish are in shallows pre and post-spawn.
Add a chunk, craw, or creature bait trailer for maximum appeal to the fish. Big bass loves a jig in heavy cover with the added trailer. Also, the jig has a stronger weed guard to prevent hanging up in the cover. You need a rod with more power for the hook set.
The techniques need the proper gear. A rod 7 1/2 feet with heavy power and fast action is the best option. When you hook a fish you need to pull or drag it out of the cover fast. A less powerful rod does not work in the situation. The fish will win wrapping your line up in the cover.
A seldom thought about variation to a bass jig is the grass jig. Grass loves to grab and wrap around lures. The grass jig reduces this problem. The head is a cone shape allowing the jig to slide through the grass. Also, the line tie is at the tip of the cone shape. The lure needs a stout hook also.
These range in weight from 1/4 to 1 1/2 ounces. Use heavy tackle with the jigs, pulling through grass adds pressure. The jig is compact, take this into account with trailers. A streamlined trailer without appendages is best.
Use the jig in the thicker weeds. A few of the other jigs are good for weeds, but this one is for the thickest vegetation. An angler fishing waters with dense weed growth will benefit.
If you fish in the rocky and gravel parts of the lake this is your jig. It does have a football shape to the head. This shape reduces getting hung up in the rocks and gravel. If you do get a snag, a little popping of the line or pulling back releases the jig most of the time. These do not work in weeds or other vegetation. The shape will collect the weeds.
The jig works well on points, rocky outcrops, ledges, and areas outside the weed line. Fishing the lure, you can drag, hop, or stroke the lure. A hop is a short twitch and with a stroke, you lift the rod around 18 inches. The trailers add a lot of action to the jig. It flutters on the fall or sways when on the bottom. Plus the trailer and hook are standing up while at rest. The fish will grab the hook with their strike.
This is an easy-to-use jig for a beginner in bass fishing. The less hanging up and open water use allows less experienced anglers to get a feel between bites and snags. Afterward going to a jig for use in the heavier cover is the next step.
The rig is for when the bite is extremely tough. This lure has a slow subtle glide on the fall. The heads come in 1/16 to 1/4 ounce weight. Add a small worm, creature, or other soft plastic for a different approach to wary fish. The rigging is simple as shown below.
Using the rig takes a little experience to get the feel. The lure uses a slackline on the drop, you watch the line for a tic to indicate a bite, and often it is not noticed. The hook set is reel up and a gentle sweep. A hard hook set pulls the hook out of the fish’s mouth. The rig is easy to use, yet a little experience makes you an expert with the lure.
Use the lure anywhere the bass you find bass. The lure works in rip-rap, along bluffs, drop-offs, and points. It is a lure for any structure or covers except thick weeds.
The tube is an alternative to a standard jig. These jigs imitate a crayfish once on the bottom. This makes them productive for primary smallmouth, yet they work for largemouth also. The bait is a soft body encasing a jighead. Bass often do not feel the weight or hook due to plastics cover most of the head and hook.
Using a tube jig it is better to use braid as your line. The line does not stretch giving better hook sets. The hook exposure is less than other jigs. You need the braid for better penetration with the smaller gap between hook and body.
Tube jigs work better with a little more weight. Start with a 1/4 ounce jig. Go up to as high as 1/2 ounce for deeper waters. The added weight gives the angler more feel with the lure. This keeps more tension on the drop also.
The standard rigging needs you to slide the head into the tube. Rigging in other ways you need to use different hooks. It works with Texas rigging using an EWG hook, you can add a bullet weight. The tube works with drop-shot rigging also. This keeps the tube off the bottom mimicking a small fish.
Grub tails work well in several styles of rigging. People overlook the classic grub tail. You can put the soft plastic on a jig head, Texas rig, or go weightless. The tails make a lot of movement drawing in fish to see what is going on.
Fishing the grub tail is possible from 4 -30 feet by changing the weight. Use the heavier jigs for deeper water. The Texas rig is for hopping in brush and cover. The weightless rig gives a slower fluttering presentation. All options work with standard jigging techniques.
The lure works with the drag, hop, or stroke methods. You can receive the lure steady or with a pause. The lure is versatile making it an option for many situations. Adding few grubs tails to your bass finesse kit is a wise move for when you need something different.
A Texas rig is the must-have lure for anyone going for largemouth. Largemouth easily sucks in the larger plastics making the lure highly effective. The bait works weedless or without weight for different situations. The one mistake many people make with the lures the wrong hook with worms. Use an offset hook instead of an EWG hook. This will increase the hookup percentages for you.
The general rule for hooks with soft plastics is as follows. Skinny plastics including worm uses an offset hook. The thicker baits such as craws, lizards, and other thick baits use an EWG hook. The offset hook does not have the hook point in line with the upper shank. An EWG has a wider hook gap. These differences affect the hook-up rate with the different bodies. Take the time to look at your hook. Do you need the point to have more exposure?
Rigging is easy but a few rules do apply. The hook must go through the center. Start in the center of the tip and continue through on center to where it comes out. A soft plastic off-center will spin and twist your line. Keep the plastics straight and on the center with the hook. I cannot stress this enough.
Using a Texas Rig
The Texas rig works in weeds, brush piles, and rocky areas. All you do is adjust the rigging to prevent a snag. Use the rig like a jig or pitch and flip in pockets. In pockets of brush or weeds try dead sticking the bait. You leave the bait sit and twitch the rod tip a few times with pauses.
In heavy cover or weeds, you may have to peg the weight. There are bobber stops that work for this purpose. You slide the stop into or up to the weight along the line to stop the line from sliding. This keeps the bait and weight together. The heavy cover may keep the worm high up in the cover weeds, while the weight falls.
This is a must-have bait for a largemouth bass finesse kit.
The wacky rig is a slackline presentation. You use a braid with a leader for the better hooksets. Use of the lure is for pre-spawn, post-spawn, or fish seeing a lot of pressure in cover. The lure takes time and patience to get a bite. Fish will hit the lure, it is a matter of when.
Setting up the wacky needs the hook in the center of a Senko or other small worms. It is better to use o-rings or small zip ties to attach the hook. You can run through the bait, but these limits hook exposure. Improve your chances with proper rigging.
You want the lure to be in the cover. In some cases, you need to skip the bait into the cover, under docks, or low-hanging trees on the shoreline. This lure is light and will skip easily.
After casting in the target area allow the bait to fall. It will flutter attracting curious bass. The lure is an effective method with wary bass with it having a slower subtle fall rate. Repeat the process in spots with good bass structure and cover. It does take some time, yet once learned is a great tactic.
The variations to the wacky rig make it a good option for a bass finesse kit. Adding a nail weight to one end off the bait makes the lure a Neko rig. The lure falls nose first with the rig. You use the same hooks and plastics with the technique. Rig the worm wacky style and put a nail weight in the end. A note, the point needs to point away from the weight.
The drop shote uses the same hooks and plastics also. This rig has the hook tied onto the line with a long tag left. The tag has weights placed on the end. This creates a rig keeping the bait off the bottom. Split shots may be used instead of the drop weights. It is your choice.
The drop-shot rig is good for working slightly deeper water. The bait is cast to the target area and allowed to fall. Once on the bottom deadstick the lure to create action. A few twitches and wait, repeat the tactic a few times before recasting.
A bass finesse kit needs to contain a few of these options. The variety will allow an angler to effectively target bass in any situation. Take the time to learn 2-3 of the lures and techniques. It is better to master or become very good at the 2-3 lures instead of trying them all.
Adding a few reaction lures completes a bass kit.