Lester's Top Summertime Baits

Despite the heat, Bassmaster Elite pro Brandon Lester enjoys a good summertime bite as much as anyone and he knows his success depends largely on bait diversity. That doesn’t have to mean a dozen or more rods on the deck, but covering the likely scenarios in which he expects to find summer bass, Lester always keeps this quartet rigged and ready for action.

Big Worm: A summertime classic, an 11-inch ribbon tail worm presents a big profile that’s easy to fish and tempts bass that are looking for an easy mouthful. Lester rigs his big worms on a 5/0 Mustad AlphaPoint Tak Offset Hook with a 1/4- to 1/2-ounce Mustad Tungsten TitanX Worm Weight, based on depth and cover.

“If I’m trying to weave that worm through grass, I may want to go down as light as possible; I might even go down to a 3/16-ounce,” Lester said. “But if I’m trying to get that bait down into a brush pile in 25 feet, I’ll use a 1/2-ounce.”

Deep Diving Crankbait: Even with water temperatures rising, a moving bait still works its magic. And as Lester points out, the crankbait typically weeds out the little ones.

“To me, if you can get them to bite a crankbait, you’re fishing for the biggest fish in the school,” Lester said. “I’m targeting offshore ledges, long sloping points — places where fish are holding in the summertime. It works really well to trigger fish and get them in a feeding frenzy.

“I’ll always switch out the standard hooks and add Mustad KVD Elite Triple Grip 2x short and 1x strong treble hooks. That allows me to go up one size. If the bait comes with No. 2 trebles, I go up to No.1 and I don’t lose as many fish.”

Dropshot: As Lester explains, this finesse rig is a really good option anywhere he’d throw a big worm or a deep diving crankbait. The difference here is that he’s using the dropshot as a clean-up bait. Once he’s caught a few with his primary bait, the dropshot’s well-documented bite-getting appeal can round out the day’s action.

“I’ll use a 3/16- to 3/8-ounce Mustad Tungsten TitanX Skinny dropshot weight because the cylinder weight goes in and out of cover better than a round or teardrop-shaped weight,” Lester said. “If I’m fishing shallow stumps in 3-5 feet, I’ll use the 3/16-ounce weight, but if I’m fishing offshore ledges, I like a 3/8.

“Whatever size weight you use, it’s very important to maintain bottom contact. Once I get down there I don’t want to lose contact.”
- Brandon Lester

Lester matches his dropshot hook to his presentation. If he’s fishing around cover, he’ll form a weedless rig by Texas threading his bait onto a 3/0 Mustad GripPin Edge Finesse Soft Plastics Hook. For open water, he’ll nose hook his bait on a Mustad TitanX Wacky/Neko Dropshot hook.

Topwater: It’s mostly an early morning/late afternoon deal, but Lester knows he could run across schooling fish any time of day, so he keeps a walking bait handy on every summer trip.

“I also change out the hooks to Mustad Round Bend trebles,” Lester said. “I like a round bend treble because if the fish just slaps at it, they get hooked.

“Also, I like to put a feathered treble on the bait’s rear. I think that just adds a lifelike appearance and makes them bite.”


Estimated Total$0