A hollow-body frog is a great option where there is vegetation or other potential for snags on the surface of the water.(Photo: Drew Pierce)
“Frogging” is one of the most popular topwater strategies, as big bass love to munch on frogs. This is especially true in areas with algae, lily pads, and other things on the surface. Because the hooks are tucked into the backside of the lure body, you will not snag everything you hit on the surface.
We specifically denote the hollow-body variation because it is the most common and easy to use. There are other types of topwater frogs, but this one tends to be the most versatile.
Companies like Scum Frog and Booyah do a great job of crafting hollow-body frogs. Once you can learn to walk the frog, the bites will come in full force.
Poppers, when jerked, throw water in a forward motion, creating water disturbance that get bass’ attention. (Photo: Drew Pierce)
Especially for smallmouth, poppers are great topwater lures that provide more extreme action. Rather than being subtle with your action, poppers are made to throw water forward and cause a disturbance on the surface.
These are hard-bodied lures that feature two treble hooks on the bottom. The cupped mouth allows for the popping of water. With this build, it is perfect in open, clear water as it will not work correctly if it comes in contact with items on the surface.
The Jitterbug is a topwater classic that mimics bugs on the water’s surface. (photo: Northwoods Lures)
A lure that is somewhat similar to a popper is the Jitterbug.
The classic Jitterbug is made by Arbogast, and has a bit of a different action from it’s cousin, the popper.
The Jitterbug features a couple-cupped front lip. This gives the Jitterbug a back-and-forth motion, so it can be used with a steady cadence.
Jitterbugs are also a bit smaller and chunkier than poppers, so they are good about imitating bugs that are warbling on the surface. Black and green is a really popular color for the Jitterbug, so keep that in mind.
Believe it or not, the colors of your topwater lure do matter when it comes to fishing for bass.
It might seem useless to put thought into the color because the bass are below and you might be thinking they can’t tell the differnece. That is not the case.
You need to put some thought into the colors of your lures and mix them up if something is not working. If a certain frog has an unappealing shade when the bite is slow, mix things up and it might get the job done.
Color is an important factor in choosing the right topwater lure for the situation. Don’t be afraid to mix things (and colors) up!
The best and most popular bass fishing reel in the game is the baitcaster. In the grand scheme of fishing, baitcasters are fairly new to the game. Although there are similar designs dating back to the late 1800s, the modern baitcaster that was developed from the likes of Shimano was in the 1970s.
Over time, these reels got lighter, better, and eventually became the best reel for bass fishing for a number of reasons.
The best reel type for bass fishing is the baitcaster, which have continued to improve in design and performance. (photo credit: Drew Pierce)
Performance: The first reason baitcasters are the best reel for bass fishing is the performance. Especially with artificial lures that have some weight to them, no reel can provide the accuracy and torque that a baitcaster does. You can zip lures in smaller spaces a lot easier than with any other setup. This is because you have full control over the spool.
Drag: Baitcasters are very good at being able to lock down the drag and get really high quality hook sets. Modern drag systems are designed to give you leverage over the fish. With bass fishing specifically, you want a tight drag so you can keep the fish tight through the hookset and fight. Other reels do not have the high drag capability that baitcasters do. Having this type of strength will increase the quality of your hookups.
Feel in the hand: Over time, baitcasting reels have gotten smaller, lighter, and easier to fit in the hand. They are specifically designed to be ergonomic and not take a toll on your hands. This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s the little things that can make a difference in a long day of fishing.
Price: Generally, baitcasters are going to be more expensive than spinning reels or push button reels. If you look at the purchase as an investment and can afford it, no problem. But, for the beginning angler, these prices can sometimes be intimidating.
Harder to learn: One of the most frustrating aspects of starting with a baitcaster is mastering the cast. Unlike with two of the other options, you cannot just pick up a baitcaster and shoot the lure out there. You will be in a world of trouble. Mastering the cast with a baitcaster is something that takes a long time and has a serious learning curve. If you have someone to help you through the process, you are in good shape. But, if you are going into it cold, this will be tough.
Struggles with lighter presentations: Baitcasters are made to throw lures with weight. However, bass anglers love to implement weightless presentations into their strategy. Weightless rigs have amazing action, and baitcasting rigs struggle to provide that action as well as the other options. So, when it comes to casting lighter lures with baitcasters, they are not always the best option.
Although baitcasters have stolen the show in the modern bass fishing scene, spinning reels have been at the top for a long time. This is because of the versatility and simplicity of use that cannot be found in other fishing reel types.
Ease of use: First and foremost, spinning reels are super easy to use. When a first-timer wants to get into fishing, it is typically either with one of these or a push button reel. This is because there is little-to-no learning curve required. Once you know how to use a spinning reel, you are set for life, no matter the brand or model.
Price: Spinning reels are also very affordable. Fishing can be a pricey hobby, so having a budget option that can still perform is key.
Simplicity: This goes along with ease of use, but the simplicity of a spinning reel is a big attribute. When you buy a spinning reel, the technology is catered to common knowledge, for the most part. Without a ton of knobs and alternative aspects, you should be set to go fairly easily.
The Cons of Spinning Reels
Not great for heavy lures: Spinning reels do best with light weights. So, as the opposite of the baitcaster, this is where you want to throw the weightless and very light rigs.
Does not have the best casting performance: Generally, the accuracy and casting performance is not up to the par set by baitcasters. So, if you are flipping docks or need to get lures into tight spots, this may not be the one to go with.
The most basic bass fishing reel on the market is the push button. This section will be short as they are mainly just meant for kids and entry level anglers who have yet to work up to the other kinds.
Push button fishing reels are great for the beginner due to their ease of use. Just push and cast!(photo credit: KastKing)
The Pros of Push Button Reels
Super easy to use: These are called push button reels as they literally just have a push button and you have to do nothing else. This is why they are so easy to use. You simply hold the button and let go as you cast.
Great for kids and smaller bass: Because of the ease of use, it is really good for beginners and fishing for smaller bass. Once someone gets into fishing and learns about the other reals, these will probably be left behind.
The Cons of Push Button Reels
Do not work that well comparatively: The performance of the push button reel compared to the others on this list is at the bottom. They do not cast super well and are super bulky in the hand.
Does not handle big fish well: Push button reels do not have the best drag system. So, if you hook into a large bass, you may struggle getting it in successfully.
The fishing reel that is the most “different” on this list of reels for bass fishing is the fly fishing reel. Fly fishing is a whole different animal that requires an entirely different skill set. So, let’s jump into the pros and cons.
While fly rod reels can be used to fish for and catch bass, their operation requires a steeper learning curve.
Unique way to fish: Because fly fishing is so different, you can see this as an opportunity for a new challenge. This puts you in a unique spot when it comes to targeting bass.
Gives you different perspectives: Fly fishing can be done in just about any body of water, but flowing streams and picturesque rivers are best. Buying a fly reel can be a good way to get out there.
Requires different knowledge: Because fly fishing requires a totally different technique and knowledge set and a lot of practice, it will be harder to acclimate to bass fishing with your fly reel as fast as you could with some other reels.
Can be expensive: Fly fishing is an expensive hobby to get into. Especially because the lures are different, you have to go all in, and the reel is a part of it.
Especially in recent years, thanks to the virality of the internet, bass fishing has exploded in popularity.
With the demand rising, the market has done a great job of constantly innovating and crafting new gear to push the limits of bass fishing.
The best fishing rods for bass feature a quality design, consistent technology, great performance, and reasonable pricing for all to enjoy. In this article, we will break down a few of the top bass fishing rods and exactly why you would want to invest in them.
So, here are the best fishing rods for bass!
1. St. Croix Mojo Bass Casting Rod
For the price and performance, the St. Croix Mojo is lightweight, durable and at a reasonable price point.
St. Croix has had a stronghold on the high-end fishing market for a while. The key to their branding is being top-of-the-line-esque without breaking the bank like G. Loomis or Megabass.
The St. Croix Mojo is the best bass fishing line in the company, hands down. There are higher end options, but for the price and performance, this one takes the cake.
The Mojo Bass is lightweight while staying very durable, which is why the price point is where it is.
This model ranges from 6’8” to 7’10”, so you can have this line for just about any bass fishing endeavor. However, of those, the most useful and versatile tends to be the 7’ medium-heavy power.
So, if you had to pick one specifically, go to the middle-of-the-road variation to keep your options open.
The Ugly Stik GX2 is extremely durable at at a price that’s quite… pretty!
The Ugly Stik GX2 is highly ranked on our list because of the availability, performance, and price, all N1. This is also the perfect beginner rod, so if you are new to the sport, this is one of the best options you have.
The Ugly Stik’s biggest marketing campaign revolves around having incredible flex and strength. The ads would have the Ugly Stik script with a rod completely bent around in a big upside down U. Although marketing is marketing, these rods actually do have insane flex.
This rod makes the list as the best valued bass fishing rod out there. There are both spinning and casting rods that are incredibly durable for the price you pay. The spinning rod is what catapulted the brand, but the casting rod is another fantastic option.
The Fenwick HMG… one of the lightest, yet strongest bass fishing rods out there.
One of the lightest, yet strongest casting rods on the list is the Fenwick HMG.
Although Fenwick is not a household name for beginners, experienced anglers know that they come to play.
The key to this rod’s success is the trademarked blank Carbon Bound technology that keeps the durability high and weight low.
This is another rod to buy the 7’ or 7’2” options. This rod can easily become your go-to rod for throwing anything in the tackle box, even lighter lures. All of these features come together to give you an all-round rod that can do a ton.
Atat this affordable price point, at least for a quality being given, you will get the absolute most out of your purchase.
The spinning rod version of the Abu Garcia Vendetta provides great performance for the price.
One of the rods that’s easier to find due to mass production is the Abu Garcia Vendetta.
This is a model that can be found in just about any sporting goods store.
Although there are casting and spinning options, the spinning rod tends to outdo it’s angling cousin. The affordability is one aspect that pairs well with the performance to give you a well-rounded rod.
At the end of the day, you need a rod that fits in your budget and will last a long time. These are both going to be the case with the Vendetta. It’s one of the best bass fishing rods for the money.
The Lite Speed Stick casting rod is great for casting lighter worms and jerkbaits.
Lew’s, similarly to Abu Garcia and Quantum, is a steady bass fishing brand that offers affordable, yet durable, gear options. Speed Stick is a well-known line in the bass fishing rod game, but the Lite version is the way to go.
As the name implies, this is the classic rod but re-engineered to be lighter and more sensitive than ever.
Although rods closer to 7’ are generally best, the 6’8” rod is actually a fantastic option, especially for throwing light worms and jerkbaits, the Lite Speed Stick will become one of the favorites in your arsenal.
The Berkley Lightningcasting rod is a do-it-all rod that is very affordable.
Sometimes, the best bass fishing rod is the one that is affordable and incredibly versatile. This ensures that you get the most value out of your money. The Berkley Lightning Casting Rod caters exactly to that style of thought.
Outfitted with strong guides and a classic cork handle, this is a rod that can be used to throw just about anything.
Although some anglers put a lot of stock into specifying their setups, which is great, sometimes you just need a go-to rod that can do it all. This is it. Plus, it’s incredibly affordable.