Fishing stick baits for bass is a strategy that’s almost as old as fishing itself. Okay, maybe not that old, but these basic bass fishing lures have their place in modern-day fishing. They offer a simple design with a presentation that keeps you on your toes at all times.
Based on hours of research, tons of discussion, and plenty of testing, we’ve put together a complete list of the best stick baits for bass.
Our Picks For The Best Stick Baits
Heddon Super Spook Topwater
If I didn’t recommend a Heddon Spook as the top pick for stick baits, what kind of angler would I be? These are the best of the best, and if you’re planning to start using stick baits as a part of your fishing strategy, these are the ones you want.
This lure is made using the best materials and the highest level of craftsmanship possible. Plus, you get their excellent reputation that stands by their products. If you have any problems, they’ll be sure to make it right.
Strike King KVD Sexy Dawg Jr.
The design of these bass lures is state of the art. They’ve made them in a way that makes it super easy to walk the dog. Apparently, it’s the structure of the lure itself that marks it simple to roll from side to side by lifting and pointing your rod tip up.
Regardless, I’m seeing anglers old and new finding this lure easier to use than any other stick bait. Plus, Strike King isn’t a newbie to the game, and we trust their lures very much.
Heddon Rattlin’ Spook
The only bad thing about Heddon Spooks is that they have a tough learning curve. Even the best stick baits for bass require a heavy presentation that relies a lot on the angler. If you’re not used to working your lure the whole time, you’ll find this style of fishing to be a little tiring.
The good news is, a lot of the newer stick baits take some of that out of your hands, like the Strike King I reviewed previously. The downside with the Heddon Spooks is they haven’t developed that technology, so you’re still fully responsible for every move the lure makes.
That said, the rattles are what makes this lure so desirable. Any time you can spice up your presentation with a little bit of noise, you want to do that.
Yo-Zuri Hydro Pencil
This stick bait for bass has one of the best presentations I’ve ever seen, and that’s from a lure I’ve never even heard of until now. It’s a regular topwater stick bait that rides right beneath the surface.
When you raise your rod tip up, it jerks the lure out of the water, and it splashes back down, which creates one part of the presentation. The other part is on your retrieval. As you bring the lure back to the boat, it rolls from side to side erratically, which draws more attention from nearby bass.
Heddon Zara Spook Topwater
I have to end on a high note with one of the best stick baits known to man(and woman) kind. This lure isn’t anything fancy, and it still requires you to have an active “walk the dog” presentation, but there’s something nostalgic about these lures.
I can remember growing up, using these all the time, and we always had a few in our tackle box. The bottom line is, they’re simple to fish, and they work.
What is a Stick Bait?
A stick bait is one of the simplest lures on the market. Sometimes we overcomplicate our fishing habits, and we end up with a ton of lures that we never use and that offer no benefit to us. This guide is helping us learn how to keep things simple.
Stick baits are basically a plastic or wooden lure shaped similar to a crankbait or floating topwater, but they don’t usually have any additional features.
They don’t have propellers, they don’t have lips, they don’t have recessed mouths, they’re just a floating lure with a couple of hooks hanging beneath, and that’s that.
So, why do people use them if they’re so basic?
They’ve been around for a long time, and it’s believed that the originator of this type of design was James Heddon in 1902.
Yes, the maker of the Heddon Spook, and that’s why we recommend that lure so much. While the lure itself is simple, there’s nothing basic about the presentation.
How to Use a Stick Bait for Bass Fishing?
The main thing that separates most stick baits from soft plastics like Senko, swimbaits, and jigs is the fact that you’re entirely responsible for creating the presentation yourself. You want to cast it out, let it sit for a little, and then start retrieving it.
On your retrieval, you’ll have to move your rod tip up, down, and side to side to create a “walk the dog” presentation. The lure scurries about the water frantically, which makes it appear like an injured shad or minnow, and that’s what gets the attention of nearby bass.
Better yet, if you can find a stick bait that comes with an internal rattle, you can make the presentation even better. Now while you’re rolling about the water, the lure is also creating a lot of noise and aggravating the ornery bass below. This factor increases the likelihood that you’ll get a bass to strike, and it won’t likely be a small nibble.
How to Choose a Stick Bait
When you’re choosing a lure of any kind, I recommend you follow my main buying factors:
To choose the best stick bait for each situation, you want to have a few colors to choose from first. If it’s a bright and sunny day, you’ll want to use a brightly colored stick bait. If it’s an overcast day with a light drizzle, you should use a darker, more neutral-colored lure.
As for size, keep the time of the year in mind. The best time of year to use stick baits for bass fishing is when there is a lot of cloud cover or even when it’s raining. When the weather is cold, size down, and when it’s warm, size up.
You also want to fish these in open water because these aren’t weedless. Think of the difference between a wacky rig and a Texas rig.
Fishing Stick Baits for Bass: FAQs
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to fishing stick baits for bass.
The best presentation is “walking the dog.” To walk the dog, you want to take control of the presentation by raising your rod tip up, down, and side to side as you’re reeling in. Some people do this more actively, while others only do it here and there. I suggest staying as active as possible with your retrieval and don’t get lazy. The more erratic you can make your presentation, the better chance you have of catching a big fish.
There are two factors that determine the ideal lure size. The first is the weather. If the weather is warm, then bass are usually more active than when it’s cold. During nice weather, you can increase the size of your lure with the hopes of catching something bigger. The other factor is where you're fishing. Try to pay attention to baitfish in the water you’re fishing and see how big they are. You don’t want to send a six-inch lure into waters full of two-inch baitfish.
I recommend a 6.5ft medium action spinning rod and a spinning reel with a lower gear ratio than you might be used to. You could use a casting rod too. You need to present stick baits pretty slowly, so the lower gear ratio will prevent you from reeling in too fast. As for line, A standard 20lb test monofilament is fine, but you may want to use a fluorocarbon leader if the water clarity is really high.
The best stick baits for bass aren’t hard to find, and most of the well-recommended options are from companies we know and love. I’d suggest sticking to Heddon and Strike King if possible because their reputation is excellent, and we know they make great stick baits.
All five of the options recommended above should do the trick. Just be sure to perfect your “walk the dog” and remember to keep that lure nice and active but also nice and slow.
Good luck out there!