There are some things in fishing that can leave me scratching my head, wondering how, or better yet, why? Like the time I sat on the river bank and watched someone reel in more than one migrating salmon using a marshmallow as bait. Or the time I was handed a lure made of nothing more than a folded bottle cap, a couple of split rings, and a treble hook.
But what really has me perplexed is the amount of incredible sport fish that are too often underrated and overlooked. I could easily rhyme off a handful, but one that always comes to mind is the white bass. Plentiful, hard fighting, and delicious, white bass are criminally underrated.
There's really no good reason not to chase these awesome fish, and we’re here to help you get started with the top rated lures.
Quick glance at the best white bass lures:
- Rebel Pop-R - Best Top Water
- Rapala Husky Jerk - Best Jerkbait
- Mepps Aglia Dressed Spinner - Best Spinner
- Acme Kastmaster - Best Spoon
- Zoom Super Fluke Jr. - Best Soft Plastic
- Rapala Shad Rap - Best Crankbait
- Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap Tiny Trap - Best Lipless Crankbait
Table of Contents (clickable)
- 1 Best Lures For White Bass Reviewed
- 2 Selecting The Right Lure For White Bass
- 3 Our Pick For The Best Lure For White Bass: Zoom Super Fluke Jr.
- 4 Final Thoughts
Best Lures For White Bass Reviewed
Best Top Water: Rebel Pop-R
Recommended Size(s): 2 ½ inch
Must-Have Colors: Silver/Black, Silver/Blue, Foxy Shad
It doesn’t matter what fish you’re chasing, top water is one of the most exciting ways to catch fish. The trouble with top water is that it isn’t always the most productive way to catch fish. With white bass, however, it can be very productive, especially when you see them surfacing - a good indication they’re pushing shad to the top.
The Rebel Pop-R has been catching fish for decades and set the standard for all other top-water poppers. It remains a classic go-to that white bass go crazy for. The popping and chugging action closely imitates a struggling shad and when cast into a school that is trying to escape the furious feeding of white bass, the Pop-R is a lure they have a hard time resisting.
- Durable finish holds up fish after fish
- Added flash of a dressed rear treble hook
- Proven fish catcher
- Incredible popping and chugging action
- Hooks can dull quickly
Best Jerkbait: Rapala Husky Jerk
Recommended Size(s): 2 ½ and 3 ⅛ inch
Must-Have Colors: Silver, Silver/Blue, Tennessee Shad
White bass can have a number of different food sources when young, but as they grow, they feed primarily on bait fish, shad or otherwise. They do a lot of that feeding near the surface, so it makes sense that they can go bonkers over a shallow running jerk bait.
There are plenty of jerkbaits available that are going to catch you some white bass, but none are more effective than the Husky Jerk. This lure is the perfect combination of size, sound, action and flash that triggers aggressive white bass, whether they’re actively feeding or not. When they’re not, the near perfect suspension of the Husky Jerk when paused is enough to trigger the instinct to capitalize on an easy meal.
- Perfect combination of flash, action, and sound
- The ability to suspend triggers a white bass’ instinct, even when not feeding
- Available in the smaller sizes needed for white bass
- Premium treble hooks stay sharp fish after fish
- Smaller versions are light and can be hard to cast
Best Spinner: Mepps Aglia Dressed Spinner
Recommended Size(s): ⅛ oz. (#1) and ⅙ oz. (#2)
Must-Have Colors: Silver/Black, Silver Shad, Silver Red/Black Stripe Gray
White bass are a migratory fish, traveling up rivers and streams to spawn, and when they are, tossing a spinner at them is hard to top. Even when rivers are running high and often dirtier than usual in the spring (when white bass are migrating), the flash and vibration of the Mepps Aglia Dressed Spinner are sure to get their attention.
While the Aglia does come in undressed versions, and they will catch fish, the added dressing around the treble hook is something that white bass seem to be more attracted to. There are other spinners that come with dressed hooks, but many of those use artificial hair as opposed to the natural bucktail or squirrel hair that Mepps incorporates on their lures. That natural hair does a better job of dancing and moving in the water than synthetic hair typically does.
- Strong flash and vibration attract white bass even in dirty water rivers
- Quality, natural hook dressing for added attraction
- Ultra-sharp and strong hook
- Available in a wide range of colors to cover any condition
- Small size can be tough to cast
- Wire construction can bend
Best Spoon: Acme Kastmaster
Recommended Size(s): 1 ¾, 2, and 2 ¼ inches
Must-Have Colors: Chrome, Chrome/Blue, Gold
White bass are aggressive, voracious predators, so it’s really no surprise that they’ll attack just about anything that's thrown their way. Since there are so many lures that will catch white bass, the spoon often gets overlooked. They may not be as easy to use as other lures on this list, but there's no doubt that with a little practice, they can be just as effective. Get your retrieve speed dialed in, and a spoon can be deadly.
The Acme Kastmaster is a favorite amongst many river anglers when casting for migratory fish but is overshadowed by spinners when it comes to white bass. With the wild flash and action this lure produces, and the minimal line twist that's typically seen with spoons, it’s surprising that more white bass anglers don’t cast them from the river bank.
But they're not just for river fishing. The Kastmaster can be used in lakes too, either casting into schools of baitfish or slow trolled behind the boat in search of white bass that aren’t busting the surface.
- Incredible action that does not produce line twist
- Aerodynamic design makes casting even the lighter versions easy
- Precision machined and corrosion resistant
- Highly versatile
- Not all sizes come with split rings to tie line to
Best Soft Plastic: Zoom Super Fluke Jr.
Recommended Size(s): 4 inch
Must-Have Colors: Smokin’ Shad, White Pearl, Baitfish
It was a toss up when it came to selecting the best soft plastic for white bass because there are just so many different ones that will catch fish day in and day out. That's why, if you were to ask white bass anglers which one is best, you’re probably going to get a different answer every time.
What sealed the deal for us was how versatile Zoom’s Super Fluke Jr. is. It can be tossed weightless into a school of baitfish and worked as a soft jerkbait; it can be rigged on a jig head to get down to deep holding bass; it can even be used as a trailer with your favorite spinnerbait.
There really isn’t a wrong way to rig this incredible plastic, thanks to its realistic baitfish profile and action. That action is ever present, no matter how you’re working it or how fast or slow that presentation might need to be.
- Realistic baitfish profile with incredible action
- Larger profile makes it easy to cast even when fishing weightless
- Highly versatile and can be fished many different ways
- Soft and durable construction
- Only available in one size
Best Crankbait: Rapala Shad Rap
Recommended Size(s): 1 ½, 2, 2 ¾, inches
Must-Have Colors: Silver, Blue, Shad
Even if white bass are generally predictable and relatively easy to locate (especially when feeding near the surface), no angler’s tackle box is complete without a good search bait, and no other lure can accomplish that better than a crankbait. Cast or trolled, a crankbait can cover water quickly and catch lots of fish in the process.
While there are plenty of shad style crankbaits on the market today, it’s hard to beat the original Rapala Shad Rap. There's a reason why it has stood the test of time and remains one of the most popular crankbaits to this day: it catches fish, and lots of them.
Which version of Rapala’s Shad Rap you’re going to choose is going to depend on the white bass themselves. From shallow to medium and deep diving, there is a Shad Rap available for any part of the water column, and the life-like shape and wobbling action are sure to entice white bass no matter what their mood.
- Wide variety of colors
- Proven fish catching action
- Available versions to cover all water
- Effective whether casting or trolling
- Finish can start to dull and chip after several fish
Best Lipless Crankbait: Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap Tiny Trap
Recommended Size(s): 1 ¾ inch
Must-Have Colors: Chrome/Blue Back, Chrome/Black Back, White Bleeding Shad
We’ve already established that white bass can be voracious feeders and will attack a group of shad with a ferociousness unlike many other fish. There is no better way to take advantage of that and with a lipless crankbait. Aside from soft plastics, these are the most versatile of any lure that catches white bass. Whether you’re fishing shallow or deep, fast or slow, casting or trolling - there really isn’t a situation where lipless crankbaits won’t work.
One of our favorites when it comes to white bass is the Rat-L-Trap Tiny Trap. This lure takes the proven fish catching ability of the original Rat-L-Trap and puts it into a smaller package more suitable for white bass. It does this without sacrificing any of the qualities that make the original so great and maintains the tight wobbling action, live like shad profile and a sound that is indicative of a baitfish in distress.
The tiny trap can be cast or trolled, worked high in the water column for shallower fish, or allowed to sink to get to ones that may be holding deeper. The Tiny Trap can even be used as a vertical jig, similar to a blade bait.
- Eye-catching shad-like profile
- Tight yet erratic wobbling action
- Tough durable finish
- Inexpensive compared to similar lures
- Hooks are not the best quality, and we recommend replacing them before using
Selecting The Right Lure For White Bass
When the white bass bite is on, it often seems like you can do no wrong, and the great thing about these fish is that the bite is on more often than not. But that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be at least some consideration taken when selecting the right lure.
White bass are opportunistic feeders, their primary food source being shad and other baitfish, so the key is to mimic those bait fish as close as possible. The more a lure’s profile resembles a shad the better, but any lure that looks and acts like a wounded baitfish is going to be key.
Any fish you’re after can be very particular about color, but there are always those times when it seems like color doesn’t matter. This happens more frequently than not with white bass, especially in the summer when water conditions are stable and they're gorging on pods of shad. That doesn’t mean that color should be overlooked, however. You’ll notice that the colors we recommend for any of the above lures are either going to closely resemble a shad, or they’re going to throw off the flash that these fish associate with a struggling baitfish. Colors like that are a good place to start and are more than likely going to catch you the most fish, but you should also carry bright, flashy colors, like chartreuse or orange for those days when the water may be off and the white bass need that little extra incentive.
White bass are panfish, and while they’re larger, stronger and harder fighting than what we would consider a typical panfish, the laws of lure size still apply. We’re not talking about the smallest lure possible, but smaller is better. Anything too big and white bass are going to pass it by for something they can corral more easily. Lures in the 2- to 4-inch range are ideal, whether you’re fishing for surface-busting summer bass in a lake or migrating spring bass in a river.
Our Pick For The Best Lure For White Bass: Zoom Super Fluke Jr.
When you consider just how many types of lures will effectively catch white bass, it can be seemingly impossible to try and pick just one. There are lures that will do some things better than others and will catch more fish on any given day, but for an all-around good lure in any situation, under any condition, we have to go with the Zoom Super Fluke Jr., for no other reason than its versatility.
Because this lure can be rigged and fished in so many different ways, there isn’t a scenario where it won’t catch white bass. The larger profile makes it easy to fish while closely resembling a shad. It doesn’t hurt that the soft plastic is salt impregnating, adding that little extra attraction and ensuring the fish hold on longer.
Overshadowed by other bass species like smallmouth, largemouth, and stripers, or other panfish like crappie, white bass are extremely underappreciated, and many anglers are missing out on a great thing.
If you’ve never chased white bass, take some of our recommendations and hit the water. Aggressive, hard fighting, and delicious, these fish will not disappoint.
Leave us a comment and let us know if you’re an avid white bass angler or if you plan on chasing them for the first time. Whichever the case, we hope we were able to help with these top lures!