As an industry, we’ve seen new anglers, platforms, techniques, and companies (shoutout MTB) emerge over the last ten years that have truly changes the game. However, as anglers, the end-goal remains the same. And it’s simple. We just want to catch fish.
It’s been an unusual decade on and off the water. Personally, I caught some personal bests, fished more lakes than I can count, and met amazing people along the way.
With that being said, here are our 8 favorite bass fishing lures or techniques that have emerged over the last ten years.
The Ned Rig
The Ned Rig was invented by Ned Kehde long ago, this little finesse set-up has really blown up over the last decade. Originally designed for Midwestern finesse fishing applications, the Ned Rig is now one of the best-producing baits for clear water bass.
The Ned Rig really became popular when Z-Man debuted the Finesse Shroomz jigheads and Z-Man Finesse TRD, a downsized floating Senko.
The Ned Rig has spread like wildfire among bass anglers which has led companies (like us) to create ned rig terminal and soft plastics.
Our ned rig jigheads are made of Tungsten which provides a faster fall rate and added sensitivity. Our soft plastics float, stretch and get bit lighting fast.
Like the dropshot, the Neko Rig was popularized in Japan before gaining traction here in the states. A Neko Rig is a finesse rig that uses similar equipment to a wacky rig. The key difference is a the nail which is inserted to the end of a soft plastic that is then rigged similar to a wacky rig with a small finesse hook.
Best fished in clear water, the Neko Rig helps anglers provide an ultra finesse presentation faster and more efficiently.
I like fishing Neko Rigs in clean water in depths anywhere from 6-16 feet. Anything shallower and I will fish a wacky rigged Senko and in anything deeper, I usually switch to a dropshot.
Originally a Musky lure, the Whopper Plopper made a HUGE splash on the bass market in 2009. The Whopper Plopper is one of those few baits that has managed to catch as many fish as anglers. Sometimes new lures come out that look so cool and exciting on the shelves only do have a mediocre performance on the water. The Whopper Plopper is NOT that. This lure fills you will as much excitement reeling it in as it did in the checkout lane.
By design, the Whopper Plopper mimics the action of a dying baitfish doing a death throe at the top of the surface of the water. The unique plopping action from the trailing propeller helps call in curious fish which often leads to insane topwater strikes.
The Z-Man Chatterbait has changed the way anglers fish in shallow water. Is it similar to a spinnerbait? Yes. Although it’s completely different at the same time. No other bladed bait puts off as much thump and pizzaz as a chatterbait. While making all of the rumble and thump, chatter baits stay streamline throughout retrieval which helps them slip in and out of the grass.
Early spring is one of my favorite times to throw a chatterbait. Look for warm, shallow water. Makes long casts and use a slow and steady retrieval working your bait parallel to the bank. Warm rocks, pilings, creek channels, and sunbaked shorelines will be my favorite areas to target.
Earlier this year I watched my buddy land over 30 combined largemouth, smallmouth, northern pike, and bowfin on a single 3/8oz Z-man Orginal Chatterbait in a bluegill pattern. It was an unreal day.
Soft Swimbaits (Keitechs)
The simple swimbait from Keitech was originally fished in Japan and then quickly gained popularity in the states over the last decade. While they clearly look like a minnow, Keitechs are known for their subtle soft feel and distinct thumping action. Even at the slowest retrieval speed, Keitech soft plastic swimbaits will continue to draw in fish with every stroke of their boot tail.
Just by simply casting out and retrieving, any angler can fish a Keitech swimbait with success. Plus, they catch pretty much anything interesting in eating a minnow. The one downside some anglers see with Keitechs is that they’re too soft and oftentimes only good for one fish catch. Thankfully other swimbaits like the BioSpawn ExoSwim have been developed which offer more wear and tear.
The Alabama-Rig (Umbrella Rig)
Easily the most controversial bait on this list. The Alabama Rig or Umbrella Rig created major waves across the fishing scene over the last decade. Instead of rigging one swimbait an Alabama Rig allows the angler to fish up to 5 swimbaits at one time do its unique steel wireframe design. An Alabama rig basically looks like a mini swimbait chandelier made up of metal close hangers.
While to you the Alabama Rig looks like a heaping hunk of metal that will instantly get snagged on your first cast – The Alabama Rig looks like a schooling pack of baitfish AKA a tasty meal to passing bass.
The effectiveness and controversy surrounding the Alabama rig still stands today – A-Rigs are not allowed in many tournament circuits and are restricted in certain states.
Triton Mike Bucca Bull Shad
West Coast anglers have been throwing hard-bodied swimbaits for decades but it took a bit longer for anglers further east to join the swimbait movement.
The giant California bass west coast anglers were targeting feed on rainbow trout which are stocked in the lakes where g ant swimbaits were common out west. However, the Bull Shad help fit the needs of the midwest and east coast anglers.
The Googan Squad Hard And Soft Baits
The Googan Squad soft baits and hard baits have put a new spin on classic presentations. Along with providing some of the best content on the web, this band of YouTube brothers have helped create new products that will inspire the next generation of anglers to get out and fish.