Category Archives: Bass Articles

Five Great Bass Lures for Fall

As the Waters Start to Cool, the Fishing Starts to Heat-up.

Great Bass Lures By Ben Team

After months spent trying to tempt stubborn summer bass into biting, the arrival of fall is well-received by most southern anglers. Whereas summer bass are content to keep a low profile and snatch up just enough food to remain healthy, autumn bass chase baitfish like it’s their last day on Earth.

Abandoning their finicky ways, fall bass begin feeding heavily in order to put on extra reserves to sustain them through the long, cold winter, when food is scarce and difficult to catch. Fish represent the most attractive food source for bass at this time, and a variety of minnow- or panfish-imitating lures work well for slaying salmoides.

Five Great Bass Lures

1.    Spinnerbaits

Spinnerbaits work in most water conditions and through most seasons, but they are especially effective in the autumn, when bass are actively chasing fish. The flash and vibration created by the spinning blades is simply irresistible for many bass and strikes often come in bunches.

Because you can fish them just under the surface or roll them along the bottom at a variety of speeds, spinnerbaits are great bass lures to use when trying to discern the best pattern for the day. Try a variety of speeds, cadences, depths and color combinations until you hit on the flavor of the day.

2.    Swimbaits

Few lures can match the lifelike movement of a quality paddle-tail swimbait, and few times of the year are better suited to their use than fall. “Match the hatch” when selecting a color and size, but don’t be afraid to add a little more color to the lure when working in low-visibility ponds and lakes.

A straight retrieve is often the most effective approach, but you can also use a vertical presentation to target isolated cover. If you rig the bait with a jig-head, it will drop in a nose-down manner; if you rig it with a weighted swimbait hook, it will tend to fall while sitting horizontally.

If you are looking to land a leviathan-sized fish, larger, joint-bodied swimbaits can also be effective during this time of year.

3.    Crankbaits

A variety of crankbait styles, sizes and colors work in the fall, but the wide, erratic wobble of a square billed crankbait is often the best bet. Rattling, lipless styles are also effective, particularly if the water is muddy, and you need some help attracting bass through the soup.

If you’ve been using deep-diving models to target bass in the Summer, consider switching to shallower-diving models as the weather cools. Because shad tend to move out of the main lake or channel and back into the feeder creeks and rivers, you should concentrate working such areas.

4.    Buzz Baits

The dropping water temperatures and shifting feeding habits of fall largemouth often combine to improve the surface bite, which is often tentative at best during the summer heat. Bluegill and shad color schemes work most effectively in clear or stained waters, whereas the superior silhouette provided by dark blue or black models provides the bass with a good target in muddy water.

Experiment with the speed of your retrieve when trying to pattern the fish. If you are having trouble keeping the lure at the surface while retrieving it slowly, experiment with different trailers. Bulky trailers create more resistance (drag) and the added plastic helps to increase the lures buoyancy.

5.    Swim Jigs

Most jig designs – casting, flipping, football and finesse – work for catching fall bass (when don’t jigs work?), but given their tendency to feast upon fish at this time, swim jigs are definitely worthy of special consideration. Swim jigs feature slightly “pinched” or cone-shaped noses, they have thinner weed guards and they are often constructed to produce a slightly subtler profile than other jigs do – all of which help to better mimic a baitfish or bluegill.

Standard jig colors – black, blue and combinations thereof – work, but try to mimic whatever species the bass are chasing if these old standbys don’t elicit strikes. Pumpkinseed, watermelon and bluegill patterns are great if the bass are chasing panfish, while whites, grays, silvers and blues help to mimic shad.

Try out some of these great bass lures over the next few weeks and let us know how they work for you. Did we leave anything off the list? Let us know in the comments below. We’d also love to see what you’ve landed lately, so tweet us (or me) your best catch photos!



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Antique Lures: Hidden Fortune in Grandpa’s Tackle Box?

Antique Lures by Debbie Kay

If you are a pack rat like I am, you probably have a number of vintage items from family members long departed in your attic.  Old pictures and letters, furniture and other keepsakes are common, and help us hold on to memories of the past.  If you have an old tackle box in your attic, you may have more than a treasure trove of memories, however, as there are a number of hand-crafted vintage lures that collectors will pay a pretty penny for.  If you are in possession of an 1853 Giant Copper Haskill Giant Minnow, for example, it can be worth over $100,000 at auction.  There are plenty more that value in the thousands, according to this 2008 Bassmaster article, and the prices years later have surely increased.

A List of Valuable Lures

In addition to the famous giant minnow, here is a look at some of the other high-end lures

  • $30,000 and up: The Heddon frog is probably the second most valuable antique lure.  It was created by a honey manufacturer as an incentive to get customers to buy his honey.
  • $15,000: There are a few different lures that were valued at this price in 2008, including the first wooden plug bait from 1897, the Shakespeare Revolution Wood Bait.  Also in this category is the Haskell Fish Hook from 1859.
  • $10,000-$12,000: There are a number of lures within this range.  Two flying Helgrammites from the 1800’s one by Pflueger and one by Comstock.  Also, the Krantz and Smith Chatauqua Minnow from 1908, the Friend-Pardee Hook Minnow, the Heddon Night Radiant, Moonlight 1913 Special, Pflueger Trory Minnow, Pfleuger Decoy, Heddon Dowagiac Minnow and Shakespeare New Albany Bait.

How Do I Know What I Have?

It can be hard to know what you have.  Your first clue that an old lure has value is in the care of its crafting.  Is it handmade, hand painted, and either wood (which often did not last) or hand-crafted metal?  Does it come from the 1800’s or early 1900’s?  These are signs that your lure probably has some value. There are a number of online sites that can help to match your lure, or you can send photos to forums to get an ID.

How to List and Sell Your Antique Lures

You won’t get the best value for your lure unless you have the attention of collectors willing to pay top prices.  Auctions work for this, or you can sell to someone who deals in antique lures.  The best way to sell to a dealer is to show the lure to several different ones, and see what each of them is willing to offer them.  Make sure you have a concrete ID on your lure so that you can also do your research on how much they have sold for.  Dealers will want to re-sell, so you will get less than full price, often, but you will also get money faster than if you wait for it to sell at auction or on consignment.

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