Rock Bass

Rock Bass are one of the most aggressive panfish.  They will strike a variety of baits and lures, which is great for anglers who like to catch them.  For some anglers, they are quite annoying though because they will go through your nightcrawlers or leeches in a hurry.

Like most sunfish, rock bass rarely exceed 2 pounds, however, rock bass as big as 3 pounds have been caught.  Most rock bass that anglers catch will usually be in the 6 to 9 inch range.  Because rock bass can grow quite large compared to other sunfish and they have larger mouths, there are some baits that will work great for catching them that may not work as well on the other sunfish.

Popular Baits


Nightcrawlers are larger worms, so most of the time, you are going to be using smaller pieces of these worms when targeting rock bass.  However, rock bass have no problem grabbing a whole nightcrawler.

Red Worms

Red worms are much smaller worms and they are the perfect size for most panfish and they are great for rock bass too.


Leeches can be very good baits for rock bass, especially if you are targeting bigger fish.  The smaller leeches will do the trick.

Small Minnows

Smaller minnows will work for rock bass.  Most anglers will usually go with worms or leeches since you go through a lot of bait while catching rock bass, but minnows will help you target some of the better-sized fish.


Soft Plastics

Chunk Worms

The smaller, chunk worms are great baits for rock bass.  Because rock bass have bigger mouths than other sunfish, they can handle thicker baits, so these worms are perfect for targeting them.

Finesse Worms

Finesse worms will catch a lot of rock bass.  Try the 4 inch models and you’ll have a lot more success with them.

Small Crayfish

Rock bass feed on crayfish heavily just like smallmouth bass do.  Stay with the smaller crayfish baits in the 2 to 3 inch range and you’ll get a lot more action, but don’t be surprised if you catch some bigger rock bass with the crayfish baits just a bit bigger.


Tubes are great for targeting rock bass.  They mimic a crayfish bait and are easy for the rock bass to fit into their mouths due to the thinner profile of these baits.  Use the 2 to 3 inch tubes and you’ll have a lot better success.

Smaller Wacky Worms

While rock bass will easily eat a 5 inch wacky worm, you will usually catch a lot more rock bass and still catch some bigger fish by going with the 4 inch version.

Hard Baits

Hair Jigs

Hair jigs are great baits for rock bass when you find them schooled up in deeper water.  Add a tiny piece of worm and even better action.

Jigging Spoons

Jigging spoons can be very effective in deeper water when rock bass are active.  If you want to catch them when they aren’t as active, tip them with a piece of worm.  This is a great deep water presentation.


Rock bass will crush inline spinners when they are in an active mood.  When the bite is tougher, add a piece of worm on the back of these lures and you’ll catch a lot of rock bass.

Smaller Crankbaits

A smaller crankbait can be very effective for bigger rock bass.  If you are on a body of water that holds good amounts of large rock bass, you can definitely target them this way.