Successful new baits can be difficult to find. Do the words umbrella rig, square bill or sexy shad have any meaning to you? How about Neko rig, LiveTarget Sunfish or Shadow Rap? Trying out the latest and greatest bait, color or technique is a big allure of bass fishing (no pun intended).
Jumping on the bandwagon and having success can sometimes be harder than all of the “hype” or “buzz” a new bait would create. Often many new baits suffer an early retirement into the dark corners of our tackle boxes never to see the light of day again! Here’s how to avoid an empty live well and to have success with a new bait, color or technique.
Successful New Baits Familiarity Breads Comfort!
When selecting a new lure, make selections based on a familiar or confidence color. Conversely, when trying out a new color, select confidence lures to experiment with. Choosing a new lure in a new color is often the kiss of death with certain failure. Remember confidence is key. As an example, several years ago beaver style baits were extremely popular, and I wanted to learn how to use them. With hundreds of brands, styles, and colors to choose from, I didn’t know where to start. I picked the Bitter’s Muskrat model since I already had experience and confidence in their brand of baits. I next selected one of my favorite soft plastic colors, Junebug. I immediately had success with my new bait, and since then have expanded to other colors, brands and models of beaver baits!
Successful New Baits Location is Everything!
When determining where to test out a new bait, make careful consideration of location. Pick confidence bodies of water and locations at those waterways. These places can be based on previous success or seasonal patterns. Never experiment with a new lure when the fish aren’t biting. This often results in frustration and the bandwagon early retirement. One of my favorite testing grounds for new lures is a retention pond in my neighborhood. Fish congregate year round in front of a double culvert pipe. It is the perfect place to test out new lures as I am extremely confident there are fish present.
As an example, when the drop shot technique became popular, I was fortunate enough to win some drop shot worms in the monthly Ultimatebass.com contest. I headed right over to my favorite retention pond and quickly picked up two small bass on my new technique. Afterward, I struggled, not having any more strikes. I would have normally switched over to one of my old favorite lures but decided to vary my retrieve as I had extreme confidence there were better quality fish at the pipe. Boy was I surprised when I immediately started catching quality fish by drastically slowing my retrieve. The highlight of my day, a 9 lb. bass engulfed my drop shot worm as I barely moved the bait inches in front of the pipe! Testing out my new technique turned into the fish of a lifetime!
Successful New Baits Match the Hatch!
When trying out a new lure or technique, match the bait or color to the forage bass have available in the body of water being fished. A new shad pattern may not yield any results in waterways with bluegill as a primary forage. It is important to learn what types of food are available to bass in the waterway being fished. This will remove the guessing when deciding which new bait to try.
When hollowed body frogs became popular, I just had to jump on this bandwagon. Before making a purchase based on emotion or impulse, I went to one of my favorite bodies of water to check out the forage. I remember seeing frogs jumping around as I fished the pond, but never really paid any attention as to what species and color they were. I determined they were the common bullfrog and bingo; bullfrog is my test color. I purchased a Spro Bonzeye Frog in a natural bullfrog color. I quickly had success with my new bait and as a result gained the confidence needed to purchase other brands, styles and colors.
In summary, try having confidence in as many variables as possible when picking out a new bait, lure or technique. Familiarities such as brand of bait, color, forage base and location can all lead to success. Taking control of experimentation is better than a “roll of the dice” and leaving success to chance. Try the above tips when testing out a new lure. You’ll be glad you did!