3 Baits Every Tournament Angler Needs on Their Deck by Jason Bradstreet

November 2, 2022

3 Baits Every Tournament Angler Needs on Their Deck

From bladed jigs and stickbaits to jerkbaits and crankbaits, the list of potential lures and baits is endless. But, there are a few key baits that every tournament angler should have on their deck to increase their chances of success. Versatility and productivity are essential when it comes to choosing the right baits. Keep reading to learn about three must-have lures for tournament fishing.


Topwater lures have always been an integral component of many tournament anglers’ arsenals and for good reason. Topwater lures are versatile, effective, and useful in a variety of situations. When fish are feeding on the surface, a topwater lure is hard to beat. On the other hand, when fish are holding to deep cover or structure, a topwater lure can be one of the best ways to call them up from deepwater haunts. Bass will often come up to investigate a topwater lure, even if they’re not actively feeding on the surface.

Topwater lures are good for a wide variety of settings. They can be worked quickly and erratically for schooling fish or slowly to grab the attention of a finicky bass looking for an easy meal. Topwater lures are a great way to cover water, too, since fish often travel long distances to investigate surface commotion.

When choosing a topwater lure, it’s important to consider the time of year and the type of water you’ll be fishing. Popular topwater lures include buzzbaits, frogs, poppers, and prop baits.

Soft Plastic

Soft plastics are another essential bait for tournament fishing. Plastics allow anglers to match the hatch and give bass the appearance of an easy meal.

There are endless possibilities when choosing the right plastic lure, but a few factors should be considered. Water temperature, clarity, and Bass’ mood are all important when selecting the right plastic. Some of the most popular soft plastic applications are Texas rig worms, stickbaits, ned rigs, and wacky rig worms.

Soft plastics allow anglers to slow down and pick apart areas. They’re particularly effective when the bite is tough. Check any pros boat deck, and you’ll find some kind of soft plastic setup ready for action.


Crankbaits are another go-to lure for tournament anglers. These lures allow anglers to cover a lot of water quickly and efficiently. They come in various sizes, shapes, and colors, making it easy to match the hatch and trigger a bass’ strike instinct.

When bass are actively feeding, crankbaits can be particularly effective. They’re also great for targeting bass holding to deep structure or suspended off the bottom.

Crankbaits can be fished shallow or deep, fast or slow. Crankbaits come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The bill size, body shape, and lip design all affect how deep a crankbait will run.

When choosing a crankbait, it’s essential to consider the water depth you’ll be fishing to pick the crankbait style most suitable to your target depth range. Some of the most popular crankbaits include lipless crankbaits, deep-diving crankbaits, and square-bill crankbaits.

Final Word

No matter what kind of tournament you’re fishing, having these three baits on your deck will increase your chances of success. From topwater lures to soft plastics and crankbaits, these versatile baits will help you catch bass in various situations.

These three setups on your deck can serve as an excellent foundation for your plan of attack. From there, you can add in a few other lures you’re confident in to give you a well-rounded strategy for tournament success.

Tight lines, and go get ’em!




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