Great Baits For Late-Season Bass

Sure, the water's cold, but these bass pros know which lures keep the bite hot

Photo by Rick Adair

Rapala No. 5 Shad Rap


Ott Defoe:
“When bass are lethargic, just getting a few bites is tough, but this deadly little crankbait scores in the most brutal winter conditions. I fish it on a 7-foot ­medium-​action spinning outfit with 8-pound fluorocarbon, and retrieve stupid slow around submerged rocks or isolated wood cover. It’s also great in shallow creek arms where runoff has discolored ordinarily clear water.”

Livingston Lures Stick Master Jerkbait


Randy Howell:
“This lure has an internal microelectronics module that emits chirping sounds meant to mimic an injured baitfish. With a soft-tipped baitcasting rod and 10-pound fluorocarbon line, I work it along deep points and steep banks in clear lakes, using a jerk-jerk-pause-jerk retrieve. The key is to vary the duration of the pause until you determine what the fish want.”

Spro Little John Deep Diving Crankbait


Charlie Ingram:
“As the water temp dips into the mid 40s, bass in reservoir tributary arms will gang up big-time around steep rock bluffs to gorge on shad, and this plug gets down to their level. It’ll run 20 feet deep on 15-pound braided line. Using a soft-action baitcasting cranking rod, I cast it parallel to the bluff and wind it back with a medium-slow, stop-and-go retrieve.”

Strike King Tour Grade Football Jig


Jonathon VanDam:
“In winter, I target submerged brushpiles, logs, and rocks in murky lakes with a jig. I like this particular model because its squat head and line-tie placement elevate the trailer off the bottom, where it’s easier for bass to see. I thread on a Strike King Rage Craw and fish it with a stiff 7-foot baitcasting outfit and 14-pound fluorocarbon, using a hop, drag, and shake retrieve.”

Lure Photos by Cliff Gardiner & John Keller (Spro)