First Tackle Box -- Lures Perfect for the Budding Bass Angler
My daughter’s boyfriend shows some interest in bass fishing, and as much as I hesitate to say this, I kinda like the kid. The problem is that the only fishing he’s ever done has been with a hook and bobber. It took a while for me to get my mind around the fact that he just didn’t believe you could catch a fish on something without a minnow or worm impaled on it.
I thought I’d put together a little tackle box for him with lures that are both effective and simple and easy to use. The obvious start is the YUM Dinger. (Right: Chris Starr with one of the first bass he ever caught on a lure.)
The YUM Dinger is the lure I tie on for my 6-year-old, and he catches fish all by himself, so it shouldn’t be too much harder for a 17-year-old. A 4- or 5-inch Dinger Texas rigged on a wide gap hook is weedless and one of the best bass lures on the market. It’s hard to beat when casting to weeds or cover because when Texas rigged it’s weedless, and that means fewer snags and broken lines.
Retrieve with a YUM Dinger can be just about any way, but the most effective for my son is a relatively slow pull and pause. Cast, let the lure sink a few seconds, then give it a twitch or two. Watch the line for a twitch indicating a bass has sucked it in.
What you need: Three packs 5-inch YUM Dingers in a green or brown color pattern and three packs of 5/0 XCalibur wide-gap offset shank hooks.
A topwater bait or two should also be included because there’s nothing like a topwater explosion to hook someone on bass fishing. I started my daughter’s BF out with a classic, the Arbogast Jitterbug. It was evening and perfect for topwater fishing, and the Jitterbug can be cast and simply reeled medium-slow to enact its built-in side-to-side wobble. It’s a good way to teach a new angler that he or she is responsible for creating the action of a lure, an essential lesson for him to take another step forward in bass fishing.
Another great and easy-to-use topwater is the Heddon Torpedo in the smaller sizes. I will never forget the day I first used one. The bass at the pond I was fishing went nuts on it. The Torpedo catches fish when reeled slowly across the surface. The propellers at the front and back spin and kick up water. It also works pulled and paused, especially if the pause is near cover.
I also added a couple spinnerbaits to the box. They’re pretty weedless and simple to use – just cast and crank. I selected several Booyah Counter Strike Spinnerbaits in 3/8-ounce size and a couple Booyah Pond Magic spinnerbaits because for a while he’ll still be doing most of his fishing in small waters from the bank.
The final lures I added to the box were classic Rebel lures – Wee and Teeny Wee Crawfish – because they catch absolutely everything in the water. He’s equipped with a spinning rod capable of throwing these small lures and they’re perfect for creek and stream fishing. The Wee Crawfish starts the lesson on crankbaits, letting the young man get a taste of working a lure and adjusting to what the fish want.
With this small tackle box, the beginning bass angler gets a taste of most lure niches covering all levels of the water column and giving him all of the tools needed to start a lifelong passion. Young love can be fleeting, but bass fishing is forever!