In its package, creature baits look like some freaks of nature, but when it hits the water, this soft plastic lure with its multiple appendages acts like one of a bass’ favorite meals.
Bass anglers favor creature baits because the appendages produce a natural looking action similar to a swimming baitfish or crawling crawfish. The Zoom Brush Hog started the freak-bait craze and several creature variations have spawned from other lure manufacturers.
Creature baits range in size from 4 to 6 inches, although some lure makers are producing 3-inch versions for finesse fishing. Lure companies have varied the body styles and appendages to make their own unique creature that generates different actions.
What Color Of Creature Baits Work Best?
The creature baits come in a variety of colors, but usually a handful of hues work best. For clear-water situations, try green pumpkin, watermelon or pumpkinseed. The choice hues for stained to murky water include black-and-blue, black neon, June bug and red shad.
The freak creature bait’s bulky profile makes it ideal for attracting big bass. A jig is a great big bass lure but sometimes switching to a creature bait gives big bass a different looking bait. There are a lot of times due to different factors when the fish won’t hit a jig very well but they will hit a creature bait.
Jigging Creature Baits
Creature baits can also be attached to a jig to create a magnum-size bass meal. Combine the creature bait with a 1/2-ounce or heavier jig; the creature bait will overpower a lighter jig causing the combo to hardly sink.
Flipping And Pitching Creature Baits
Flipping and pitching are the most popular presentations for a Texas-rigged creature bait. Combine the lure with worm sinkers ranging in weight from 1/4 to 1 ounce depending on the type of cover you are targeting. When flipping weed beds, choose the 1-ounce weight for punching the lures through matted hydrilla and milfoil.
A strong offset wide gap hook ranging in size from 3/0 to 5/0 is required for piercing through the bulky body of a freak bait. Standard tackle for this power-fishing tactic includes a 7-foot pitching or 7 1/2-foot flipping stick and baitcast reel filled with 17- to 30-pound test fluorocarbon or 50- to 65-pound braid.
The soft plastic creature is rigged similar to a plastic worm with the nose of the lure pushed snug to the eye of the hook and the bullet weight. The hook point is driven through the bottom rear of the bait and then skin hooked on the top of its body. When rigged properly, the lure sits with its flappers horizontally on each side.
The versatility of a freak bait allows you to fish it in cover with a variety of presentations. If the cover is vertical such as a stump without a lot of roots, let the bait fall down alongside the stump and let it sit there. When fishing horizontal cover such as laydowns or boat docks keep your freak bait moving.
Retrieving Creature Baits
The same basic retrieve you employ for a jig also works for the creature bait. Most of the time, bass hit the lure on the initial fall, but if this fails to produce a strike, hop the creature along the bottom next to the cover.
Casting a Texas-rigged freak bait and working it through deep brush piles similar to a plastic worm catches bass in the summer and fall. Some creatures tends to slide through cover better than a plastic worm because the lure is more compact and its flappers fold up when it touches the brush and then unfolds when it falls back into open spaces.
Carolina Rigging Creature Baits
The creature bait is a great alternative to the plastic lizard for dragging on a Carolina rig because it imitates a crawfish better. Drag the freak bait behind a 3/4- to 1-ounce sinker, which allows the rig to dig up the bottom better. In open water situations, attach the creature bait to an 18- to 24-inch leader, but shorten the leader when fishing grass.
A steady retrieve works best for Carolina-rigged creatures from spring through fall. It’s always better to keep it crawling on the bottom and if you hit a stump or something just pause it and let it settle for a minute. A lot of times the fish will pull it off the back of the stump for you. Drag the rig along the bottom by sweeping your rod like a broom or allows your boat to drift with the wind to steadily pull the bait.
Although freak baits imitate many types of baitfish the lure probably best resembles a crawdad with those flappers looking like pincers sticking up and its small legs imitating a crawling motion.
No matter what it looks like though, a creature bait with its twirling and flapping appendages creates a tantalizing action that can ring any bass’ dinner bell.
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