Summer is upon us, which means if we want to stay on top of the bass, it’s time to adapt our fishing strategies. When it comes to bass fishing, no one strategy works for everything because summer is ever-changing like any other season. With each season, there is going to be a different approach which is going to require a different fishing lure, and summer is no different. Today I will cover the ten best summer bass fishing lures for 2021 and when you should use each one.
If you aren’t familiar with summer bass fishing, you first need to understand how it is bass behave during this season. The first and most important thing to realize is that bass don’t necessarily like hot temperatures, which means they will gravitate towards the cooler water – be it shaded cover in the shallows or out in the deeps. No matter what location you are targeting, the cooler spots will be where the fish are located. These ten lures are my absolute favorite bass fishing lures to throw during the summer, and they all serve their own purpose. So, I will cover each one, what it is suitable for, and what spots you should target when throwing one.
1| Best Topwater Frog | Livetarget Hollow Body Frog
A Livetarget hollow body frog is an indispensable part of my summertime tackle box, and you should always have one in yours as well. Livetarget’s frogs have a more realistic pattern than any other hollow body frog I have seen, and it comes in a wide range of colors to match the frogs in your area.
During the summer, big bass love to hide underneath thick grass and other types of vegetation, and a frog is one of the best ways to lure them out. When I find a grassy spot where I think a big bass might be, I like to pop a frog across the surface. This commotion will trigger their predatorial instinct, and before you know it, a big fish will be flying up from the bottom to nail your lure. If they aren’t hitting on the steady retrieve, then you can pause in between jerks to give the fish a moment to strike. I find that open spots in the vegetation are the best places to pause like this. This lure works great at any time of day but is especially effective early or late afternoon.
2| Best Buzzbait | Booyah Buzz
Another one of my favorite summertime tools is the buzzbait, and more specifically, the Booyah Buzz buzzbait. This bait comes in a wide range of colors, so you can match whatever it is the bass are feeding on in your water. In addition to the wide range of colors this bait comes in, it also comes with an additional “clacker,” which creates extra noise and commotion on the surface of the water during your retrieve.
The Booyah Buzz is another tool I use to draw the fish out of their shallow cover. When paired with Booyah’s signature clacker, this thing makes a surface commotion that the fish just can’t resist. This lure performs all day long and is especially good at attracting those fish that just won’t come up for anything else.
3| Best Square Bill Crankbait | Strike King KVD Square Bill
Square bill crankbaits are as versatile as it gets. These things can be finished under any condition, and they come in just about any color imaginable. This should come as no surprise considering the fact that this lure is made in conjunction with one of the best lure manufacturers and one of the world’s best anglers. Strike King and Kevin Vandam have created one of the best square bills on the market, and it works great for those summertime bass.
My favorite part of throwing a square bill crank in the summer is the fact that you can throw it more liberally than you can a traditional crankbait, making it the perfect lure to rattle through that shallow cover. A square bill is much more resistant to snags, so you can retrieve it straight through branches and woody cover without the fear of losing it. This bait’s steady thump and rattle are irresistible to the fish in this kind of cover who see it as a prime opportunity to snack on a baitfish. Match your square bill to the local baitfish for best results.
4| Best Popper | Rebel Pop-R
The Rebel Pop-R is a clear sign that Rebel knows what they are doing. With nearly 60 years in the industry, this lure is a true testament to their craftsmanship. Not only does this thing look gorgeous, but it pulls in the big ones during the summer as well. With a variety of different colors, there is a Pop-R good for any situation.
Rebel’s Pop-R is an excellent lure for any time of day and works wonders when popping above dense vegetation. I find that a pop-pause retrieve works best unless you are fishing really low-vis water, then a steady pop-pop retrieve is ideal. What this does is create the additional commotion needed to lure the fish out when they can’t actually see the lure. This lure perfectly imitates an injured baitfish which is always high on the summertime menu for those big bass.
5| Best Jig | Strike King Structure Jig
The structure jig was designed by the experts at Strike King and jig fisherman specialist Denny Brauer. This is by far my favorite jig to throw in the summertime because of its versatility in both color and use.
An ideal target for fishing the structure or any other rounded jig head is the rocky cover. Summertime bass love hiding in rocks, especially when there is overhead shade. A strike King’s Structure jig is going to allow you to bounce through the rocks while at the same time minimizing your snags – and as we all know, fewer snags equal more fishing, and more fishing equals more fish.
6| Best Deep Diving Crank Bait | Spro Little John Deep Dive
Spro’s Little John deep diving crankbait is by far my favorite deep diver on the market. This thing is determined to catch monsters which you can see in its eyes. It is available in a wide range of colors to match the baitfish in your surrounding waters.
Since bass tend to move into cooler water during the summer, it only makes sense that some of them will move out into deeper water which is precisely where this lure does some of its best work. The Little John allows you to get down there where the fish are and truly shines when you swim it along a ledge or a dropoff 15 feet or deeper. In addition, you can rely on this deep diver in the shallow water with soft muddy bottoms. Its tendency to swim down causes it to stir up the base, which signals to the bass that there is an injured baitfish around.
7| Best Spinnerbait | Strike king KVD Double Willow
Yet another collaboration between Strike King and one of the best bass anglers on the planet is the Double WIllow. The Double Willow is the result of decades of experience, and its effectiveness in the summertime waters proves it. Available in a plethora of colors and patterns, you can count on the Double Willow all summer long.
I recommend throwing a Double Willow along deep and shallow grass and rock edges. Even on the hottest days of the year, the perfect combination of vibration and flash never fails to bring the big ones out from their cover.
8| Texas-Rigged Plastics
Texas-rigged plastics are hands down the most versatile fishing lure out there. They are easy to rig up, and they work great with any of the countless plastic baits available. The adaptability of a Texas-rigged lure is unmatched and allows you to fish it in any condition. This thing is great for deep and shallow water and allows for quick changing of the plastic should a different challenge present itself.
For deepwater, I prefer putting on a swimbait that matches the baitfish in the surrounding waters. If you can target a school of baitfish with it, you are almost guaranteed to catch a bass. Another one of my favorite summertime texas rig strategies is rigging up a craw and swimming it around rocky cover, especially ledges.
9| Best Plastic Toad | Zoom Horny Toad
For nearly 40 years, Zoom has been crafting some of the best lures known to man, and their Horny Toad is a shining testament to this legacy. It comes in a wide range of colors, letting you adapt your presentation to the surrounding water no matter what the bass are feeding on.
The Zoom Horny Toad is a fantastic plastic to throw in shallow waters, and unlike a hollow body frog, the toad will start to sink if left alone. Sinking actually works to your advantage here as it adds another perspective to your presentation. The Horny Toad is excellent for grass cover and should be retrieved much like the topwater frog mentioned above.
10| Best Stick Bait | Yamamoto Senko
If you have been bass fishing for longer than a week, then there’s a good chance you have heard of the Yamamoto Senko. This is hands down the best stick bait on the market, and for good reason. It comes in more colors and patterns than I even knew existed and is available in a wide range of lengths from 3 to 7 inches.
The Senko can be used to fish shallow and deep water in the summer months and should be rigged according to your target location. You can check out some of our many bass rig guides here, all of which work great with a Senko.
The Best Summer Bass Fishing Lures
And there you have it – the definitive guide to the best summer bass fishing lures on the market. All of these lures work wonders for puling out those summertime slabs that make being outside in the sweltering heat worth it. Now get out there and try them out for yourself – make sure you come back and let us know how each one works out for you!