As fishermen, we have never had more choices. Certainly as Bass Fishermen with a 360 degree view, the team at iBass360 has enjoyed the new trends over the past decade. We have seen Gary Yamamoto take the industry by storm with Senkos. Berkeley has put a serious hurt on the live bait sellers with their Gulp. The folks at Rapala have turned hard baits soft with their Wildeye line of swimbaits. Even the tried and true frog has gotten a face lift. In more recent years we have seen the emergence of an entirely new lure type – the creature bait. These have become increasingly popular with big bass fishermen. There are literally hundreds of different models on the market today. So how does an angler staring into a catalog or at the shelves of his favorite tackle shop pick the right one? Then, after deciding, how can he know the right situations to throw it in order to score a limit of big bass? Although there are countless colors and configurations of creature baits being offered these days, the successful angler will simplify both his choice and the use of creatures. As with any bait, the right selection and use depends of knowing what works under what conditions.
Generally, being larger profile baits, creature baits work best when fish are in an aggressive mood. However, they are also available in ‘in-between’ sizes for more general condition bites. In murky or dirty water these larger profile baits will move more water making it easier for the fish to sense its presence. A bigger bait like a creature will also work well if the water’s warmer or when fish are defending the spawn. However, in addition to these defined situations, creatures can be used in other situations just by remembering basic rules of condition- vary size, color and profile to meet varying conditions. When it comes to color, as is often the case with tubes, worms or grub tails, green pumpkinseed, watermelon/red, and black/neon are good “go to” colors covering most situations. A fishermen well versed with the water being fished can fine tune with other colors, but if you’re in the ballpark with color and you have confidence in the profile of the bait, you’ll catch fish. Suppliers will likely confirm that Green pumpkinseed is the favorite color for most creature baits as it covers the widest spectrum of water and bait conditions. It works well in the range from real clear to murky water- all but the dirtiest water. If the water’s real dirty, switching to black/neon or other visible combination will trigger bites.
Having formed rules on size and color, the remaining decision revolves around the creature bait type or style. Here the decision depends on how the bait is going to be fished and the impact you want the bait to have in the water. One popular method is to fish them on a Carolina rig over deep structure. They can also be successfully flipped around shallow structure. Basically an angler gains confidence in creatures when they realize they can be fished like many other bait types- dragging on a Carolina rig using a 4/0 offset hook, where the key is controlling the speed of the retrieve, or flipping as if it were a jig. In a flipping situation, 90 percent of the time, the strike will come on the fall. When rigging to flip it is best to use a straight-shank hook which will give you a much better hook set ratio. As has been written often, it is important to develop a sense of confidence in creature baits if you intend to throw them. It is always important to have confidence in what you throw.
Creature baits are actually easy to adapt because you fish them the same as you would other baits. Anytime you have an aggressive fish situation – use a creature bait, as the fish will react better to them than they will to other baits. In deep structure, use a Carolina rig, just like you would a lizard or worm. If you have a shallow water situation, use them like you’d use a jig. Start with the Green pumpkinseed and adjust color just as you would any other bait. May your livewells be full and your season be bright!! Merry Christmas from The iBass360 Family