As summer moves forward, the hot temps are here to stay. Bass get sluggish and lazy, and it can be challenging to catch them. You need a lure that is too good to pass up. Maybe one that is so annoying, the bass has no choice but to attack. This is where you dig the prop bait out of the tackle box and get ready to bring home the bass.
What is a Prop Bait?
There are so many different types of lures for bass fishing out there; it is hard to know what each one is and when to use it. A prop bait is a lure shaped like a fish that has at least one propeller attached. The prop bait is hard and will generally have two treble hooks attached. It is a top-water lure design for bass fishing.
There are three things to look for in a prop bait. First, you want a lure that will sit straight in the water while not moving. If it falls to the side, it looks unnatural, and the bass will know. You also want to make sure it doesn’t move very far when twitched. The movement should be about three to six inches so you can go less distance with more twitches. Finally, you want to make sure the prop bait does not dive down while being reeled in. It is a topwater lure after all, and if it is below the surface of the water, it won’t be beneficial.
Why Use a Prop Bait?
There are many reasons why anglers use prop baits when fishing for bass. First, anglers use prop baits because they create surface explosions from the bass. When a bass goes after the prop bait, they will explode from the water. Another reason anglers use prop baits is that they are more subtle than other topwater lures like walking plugs. During the hot summer months, bass require more coercing for them to attack a lure. The prop bait will sit over the bass’s head longer than other topwater lures. The bright flashes and noise from the propellers irritate the bass causing them to strike the lure.
When to Use a Prop Bait?
There are three conditions to take into consideration when deciding to use a prop bait.
First is water clarity. Bass will be more likely to strike a prop bait when the water is clear.
Second is the weather. When the weather is windy, you can use a prop bait to break up the rough water attracting the bass. After it has just rained is a great time to use a prop bait. Go back into the back shallow pockets to find the bass after rain because there is more oxygen in the water there.
Finally, on a dry summer day, use a prop bait where shallow water meets deep water. The bass will sit on the line waiting for food to come by. The third condition when deciding to use a prop bait is the type of cover you will be fishing. If you are fishing alongside docks or next to cover, a prop bait is the right choice. It is also useful when fishing near standing timber.
Now that you know what a prop bait is, why you should use a prop bait, and when to use a prop bait, let’s see how to use a prop bait.
How to Use a Prop Bait
Using a prop bait properly depends on several different conditions. When you are along sides of docks or next to cover, you will want to work the prop bait slowly and precisely as if you are walking the bait. Short, downward rod twitches do this. When the weather is calm, and the water looks like glass, twitch the lure with a slight presentation. This is best done over beds of baitfish such as bluegills where bass are looking for accessible prey. If the bass are near the surface, once they strike the lure, rip the bait.
When fishing near standing timber, reel in steadily for propellers to create a V on the water’s surface. The props will make a noise that will draw out the bass. The strike will come when the lure passes the cover.
Many anglers modify their prop baits to make them more advantageous—one of the common modifications with the removal of the back prop. Anglers will remove the rear prop and flip it around to put it on backward. This will give the prop bait a little different action and increase water resistance, which will make a bigger splash. Placing the back propeller like this will also provide more surface commotion. Another common modification is the replacement of factory hooks with larger, fine wire treble hooks. This will make the bass stick when it strikes and makes it easier to remove the hooks.
Now that you know how to use the prop bait and some modifications let’s look at the proper tackle to use. We suggest a 6 ½ ft-7 ft medium-heavy action casting reel paired with a high-speed baitcaster with a gear ratio of 6.3:1. Our preferred rod and reel combo are the Lew’s Fishing Tournament MP Speed Spool Baitcast Reel with the Lew’s Casting Magnum Bass Rod 2. When arming your reel with line, you should use monofilament or fluorocarbon. Do not use braid because the braid will get tangled in the props and hooks. The monofilament is the best choice because it floats and stays out of the propellers. Use 15-20 lb for best results.
Now that you know how to use a prop bait and what tackle to use. It is time to choose a prop bait that you like. We like the Megabass – Scream-X Double Prop, the Spiral Minnow from Deps, and the Devil’s Horse from Smithwick. Whether you are looking for a fantastic bass strike or just a great time walking your bait, you will enjoy using prop baits on your next bass fishing trip.