Stickbaits catch largemouth bass.
Stickbaits work… but… WHY?
Why do bass attack a piece of cylindrical plastic that resembles a cigar? (Or if you’re 6, that “look like a doo-doo“.) Why do bass hang on? Carry them off? To put it simply, bass slurp them up because they resemble food. All of the sudden that line starts to move sideways; it grabs your attention and the only indication that someone is on the other end is the calm, steady pulse of that big ‘ol tail swishing back and forth.
Like a timer, counting down… she’s swimming off with her prize, and it’s about to get rowdy…
My biggest bass ever came on one of these stickbaits. Give me any of these 4, and I have enough confidence to go to any lake in the country. They will catch largemouth bass. Guaranteed.
You need some in your tacklebox!
Here are the top 4 stickbaits, and my favorite ways to rig ’em!
1. Z-Man Bang StickZ
We’re not listing these baits from best to worst, we’re listing them from lightest to heaviest. Slowest to fastest sink rate, which is one of the most important aspects of fishing a stickbait properly! The Z-Man Bang StickZ actually float – and they also contain salt, which is very important for slower finesse presentations. Some Z-Man plastics, like the TRD CrawZ don’t contain salt, making them less useful in many situations. Pair the Bang StickZ with an Eagle Claw Pro-V Finesse Jig, and you’ve got a slow-sinking, salty beast of a stickbait that will stand straight up at rest – a great option around sparse cover.
2. YUM Dingers
A staple in many a tackle-bag. YUM Dingers don’t stand up at rest like the Bang StickZ on a jighead, but they are durable, inexpensive, and they sink. Very… very… very… slowly… keeping them in the strike zone for a long time. For me, this is usually a bit too long, so I’ll add a little weight for faster fishing. A few VMC Drop Dead Hooks live in my bag for this reason – but don’t be afraid to try these stickbaits on a Texas rig, an F4 Rig – even below a Pop ‘n Drop!
3. The Strike King Ocho
If you’ve read any of the articles on this site, you know the Ocho is a bait that I really believe in. There are many Ocho catches on my YouTubes if you’d like to see some in action. The Strike King Ocho is an eight-sided stickbait that contains salt AND scent. It sinks faster than the Bang StickZ and the YUM Dingers, which makes it the perfect stickbait to rig up weightless Texas style. The sink rate is usually enough that I don’t add weight, and paired with a 3/0 Lazer Trokar EWG Hook, you’ve got a ditch pickle destroyer! Just make sure to tie up a fluorocarbon leader if there is any sort of visibility (see below).
4. The Zoom Zlinky
Super soft. Super scented. Super SALTY. If I want to fish a little faster but avoid adding weight to stay as natural as possible, I’ll reach for my Zoom Zlinkys. This is the fastest sinker in my top 4, containing so much salt that you can actually do a salt rub to change the texture and feel of the bait. (We talk about this more in Ned Rig Secrets.) These pair well with Berkley Fusion19 Weedless Wacky Hooks, which feature an easy-to-move fluorocarbon weed guard. I find myself using these more than the VMC wacky hooks I used to use. Those have a rigid wire weedguard, and are reserved for the heaviest of cover.
O-rings can keep you from tearing through these soft stickbaits, but if the bite is tough – skip ’em. Stick your hook straight into the plastic, and hang on. You may lose a few extra baits, but if it means more bites – it’s money well spent!
A quick note on rigging your stickbaits
If you’re fishing a soft plastic, it’s likely the water has some level of visibility. Make sure to tie on a fluorocarbon leader so that you can present your bait in a natural manner, without throwing off negative cues that might spook the fish. I’m currently spooling up with Berkley X5 Braid for both spinning and casting reels, and I’m very impressed with Seaguar Inxizx Fluorocarbon for leaders. I even have a few spinning reels completely spooled with this fluoro. It’s strong, and it doesn’t take on the color of the water – which is extremely important here in muck-ville.
So those are The Top 4 Stickbaits for Largemouth Bass. Grab a few and get out there! You can take these 4 anywhere and catch a bucketmouth… or twenty. I’m hitting the local lakes tomorrow with one too, using these 4 Simple Steps to Break a Fishing Slump.
If I missed your favorite stickbait, make sure to let me know below!
Tight Lines & Godspeed, Patriots.