Minnows work great for largemouth bass. Anglers catch bass from 7 inches up to over 7 pounds on minnows. Depending on whether you are fishing for action or for trophy bass, the size of the minnow you will be using can vary greatly.
Best Rigs for Minnows
A well placed minnow under a bobber or slip bobber is one of the better ways to target largemouth bass that are suspended in the water column.
This rig is a great live bait rig. Most anglers use the Carolina rig when fishing deeper water.
The drop shot rig is an awesome way to fish a lively minnow. Fish it shallow, deep, in open water or around cover and you can have a lot of success.
A simple jighead and minnow is one of the easiest ways to target largemouth bass when you are fishing away from heavy cover. For example, docks, a weed edge, weed pockets and rocky bottoms are good places to fish a jighead without having to worry about getting hung up.
The split shot rig is a great rig when you just need a little extra weight to get your minnow down farther through the water column. Most anglers use this rig when the bass are shallow and it can be super effective.
Casting to Cover
A drop shot rig or split shot rig and a lively minnow can be super effective when casting along weed edges, in weed pockets, around wood or along docks.
When the wind starts to blow, you can drift a lively minnow along a drop-off with a lot of success. Drop shot rigs and Carolina rigs are good rigs for drifting a minnow.
Slow trolling with live baits is more popular with smallmouth bass fishing, but when largemouth bass go deep, slow trolling can be just as effective. A drop shot rig or Carolina rig and a lively minnow will catch a lot of bass with this technique.
Still fishing is popular among many anglers who like to use live bait. Most anglers that still fish will use a bobber or float, but you can also anchor along a drop-off or deeper weed edge and drop a minnow down with a jighead or drop shot rig and catch lots of bass too.
(2.5 – 3.5″)
When using smaller minnows, you will usually catch smaller largemouth bass. Expect to have more action with bass in the 7 to 12″ range with an occasional bigger bass mixed in. Anglers do usually report many quality catches in the spring with smaller minnows, but as the season progresses, these smaller minnows will usually catch smaller bass.
Fathead minnows are one of the most popular smaller-sized minnows that you will buy in bait shops.
Emerald shiners will also work. Some bait shops carry them, so if you can get them, go ahead and use them. They are a good size for catching lots of bass with some big ones too.
Some of the bigger bait fish that anglers use for bass are chubs, golden shiners and suckers. Using minnows in this size range will usually get you plenty of action with lots of better-sized bass and some very big bass mixed in too. Largemouth bass from 1 to 5 pounds will gladly eat minnows in this size range.
Creek chubs in the 4 to 5″ range would be considered smaller creek chubs. They are the perfect size to get you action with a good chance of catching big bass too.
Redtail chubs are similar to creek chubs, however, many anglers report better success with redtail chubs.
Suckers don’t have the action that chubs have, but they work good for largemouth bass too. There seems to be more bait shops that carry suckers than chubs, so there is a good chance you can get these if you’re looking for them. The 4 to 5″ range is a small sucker, but they are the perfect size for catching lots of bass with big bass too.
Golden shiners are great baits for largemouth bass. Many bait shops up north and down south will carry these minnows. Finding these baits in the 4 to 5″ range should not be that difficult with most bait shops. It’s one of the better baits for action and big bass eat them too.
(6″ and up)
If you want to go even bigger, you can upsize with the chubs, suckers and shiners. Down south, you may be using baits as big as 12″ long as you fish for largemouth bass up to and above 10 pounds. Up north, you may go bigger with a huge chub or sucker in that 6 to 7 inch range. You may not get many bites when going to these sizes, but when you do get a bite, there is a very good chance that it will be a big bass.
Finding redtail chubs 6″ and bigger may be a little difficult. In states that allow it, many anglers just prefer to catch them themselves. It is definitely one of the best big bass baits.
Creek chubs are more accessible, however, these bigger sizes are tough to get for many bait shops. They are usually more abundant than redtail chubs, so many anglers that like to fish with chubs will usually be catching more creek chubs than redtail chubs. The bigger creek chubs are awesome big bass baits.
Bigger suckers can often be found in bait shops in the midwest and up north. The bigger suckers are expensive, but they are an awesome bait if you want to catch a bass in the 3 to 5 pound range or even bigger.
Big shiners are very common down south. If you go to Florida and fish with a guide, there is a good chance you will be fishing with shiners in the 6 to 12″ range. The big shiners catch big bass. Huge bass over 10 pounds are routinely caught with live shiners in Florida. Throughout the rest of the country, big shiners won’t be as big, but a lively 6″ shiner will help put big bass in the boat consistently.