Load the boat with tons of tackle trays if you like, but the YUM Wooly Bug simplifies most of my on-the-water decision-making.

Day in and day out, I flip and pitch and punch with only two baits: a jig and the Yum Wooly Bug. I use the Wooly Bug in other ways, too, as I will explain, but the simple truth is that after the spawn, I probably rely upon the Wooly Bug more than I do any other lure.

The Wooly Bug isn’t the latest “hot” bait. It’s just one of those baits that seems to get you two or three or even five or six bass when you need them. Often, I just go down the bank, see some cover that looks right and pitch it in there. I may be culling only three or four fish per tournament with the Wooly Bug, but they are key fish. Most times, I find these bigger cull fish relating to the kind of shoreline cover other No question -- there’s something about the profile of the Wooly Bug that fish just like! It’s a crawfish. It’s a baitfish. Call it a beaver- or even a creature-style bait. You can fish it as is, split the tail, or remove one or both claws. You can fish it flat, cut it in half or fish it sideways. Depending on how you rig it or modify it, you can get it to resemble almost anything on a bass’s menu.

It punched mats well because of its compact profile. On Florida’s Lake Okeechobee, I flipped and punched matted vegetation with 1- to 1 1/2-ounce weights and the Wooly Bug and caught some pigs.

I like the fact that I have a choice of sizes, too. The smaller is 3-inches and the bigger one is 4 ¼-inches. If I’m having success on the big one and a cold front occurs or the bite slows, I can downsize but keep the same color that was catching them on before they shut down.

For flipping and punching, I use a heavy duty 5/0 or 6/0 flipping hook, and I tie it on with a snell knot. That knot seems to improve my hook-up ratio.

I select weights depending on the situation. In open water, a 3/8-ounce XCalibur tungsten bullet weight is my usual starting point. If conditions are a little windy, I use a ½-ounce weight. For flipping mats, I use a 1-ounce or 1-1/2-ounce tungsten weight, but I will go even heavier than that if I need to.

I also use the Wooly Bug as a jig trailer. If I want the appearance of a regular crawdad, I put a full Wooly Bug on as my trailer, but there are times when I trim the bait back some for a more compact or baitfish-like appearance.

Plenty of jig-and-trailer color combinations work, but I have two favorites that see the most use. I use a black and blue jig with a Black Blue Shadow Wooly Bug, or I go to a green pumpkin jig with a Green Pumpkin/Purple Flake Wooly Bug. The dark combinations see use in off-colored water, and if it’s clear I like the more natural colors. I just hook the Wooly Bug like you would a crawdad-style trailer and let those flippers go to work.

When I’m around big bass and not worried about catching 2- or 3-pounders I opt for a big jig and the large-size Wooly Bug. It shows fish a big profile, and has paid off well in the past. I was around some very big fish on Falcon Lake recently and used that combo to land some giants.

A downsized jig and 3-inch Wooly Bug works well in other situations. I use the 3-inch Wooly on a finesse jig a lot during the winter. I also use that smaller Bug on a simple round-head jig. The bait is thick and wide, so it sinks a lot slower than most other plastics. When I’m in a situation that calls for that profile but a slow descent – which is often the case in winter – that’s the rig I choose. It resembles a crawdad as much as anything when it is fished that way, but you are presenting the fish with something that looks a little different, too.

Like I said at the beginning, the Wooly Bug simplifies a lot of my decision-making when it comes to bass fishing. I also use this lure when dropshotting, but that’s a secret I think I’ll hold onto a bit longer.

The current choices of Wooly Bug colors cover just about everyone’s favorites, and certain colors do excel on different waters. But if too many colors complicate your life, I can add one more tip to simplify things.

Three colors satisfy 90 percent of my fishing needs. Those are the Black Blue Shadow, Green Pumpkin/Purple Flake and Okeechobee Craw. I talked about the first two already. The Okeechobee Craw comes out whenever I fish Florida waters or when I encounter water that is tannic or muddy.

Give me those three colors, and I’ll be fine. I can catch fish in New York, Florida or in Oklahoma – and anywhere in between!