Looking for the best bass fishing baits for kayak fishing and don’t know where to start? You’re not alone.
Kayak bass fishing isn’t just a leisurely pastime. It’s an entire sport. And it’s easy to see why beginners get overwhelmed so easily.
Kayak bass fishing is especially popular in the winter when successful angling requires more patience and precision than in warmer months. If you want to swim with the big leagues, though, you’re going to need to start off with the right gear.
What You Need to Know About Kayak Bass Fishing
The first step to learning how to bass fish from a kayak is to become familiar with the concept of kayaking itself.
While kayaking against a strong current or over rapids can be quite strenuous, you don’t need to worry about overdoing it if you’re just fishing. In the right conditions, new kayakers can easily paddle several miles without issue.
Once you’re comfortable in your kayak, the next thing to do is figure out your gear. Unlike in a traditional fishing boat, you won’t have room to haul around several boxes of tackle at a time.
Start by investing in high-quality bait designed for kayak bass fishing (in particular, crankbaits).
What is a “crankbait?”
Also called a diving bait, crankbaits are lures that dive underwater when cast. This type of bait is ideal for any fish that feeds on smaller fish, hence why this style is so popular among bass anglers.
However, the term “crankbait” covers quite a few different lure styles. And not all of them are a good fit for winter bass fishing.
Most crankbait lures can be broken into a few categories: squarebills, shallow-divers, medium-divers, and deep-divers.
If you’re kayak bass fishing during the colder months, invest in deep-diving crankbaits.
Recommended Read: Best Crankbaits for Shallow Water
What’s different about bass fishing in the winter?
In winter, colder temperatures force fish deeper beneath the water’s surface. While staying deep underwater helps fish survive chilly temperatures, it also makes them harder to spot and catch.
This is why deep-diving crankbaits are the key to catching bass in the winter. Shallow baits just won’t reach the “warm” water where bass and other fish like to hang out.
Does technique make a difference?
Using a deep-diving crankbait won’t be enough to bring in those record-breaking bass. Especially not when the temperatures have dropped.
Cold weather tends to slow everything down. The fish might still be swimming around deep beneath the water’s surface, but they’re moving much slower than they would in warmer temperatures.
So to give the bass a chance to grab your lure, you need to use a slow retrieval speed.
Reeling in your bait slowly allows more time for the bass to spot and move toward your lure. If the temperatures are low enough, some anglers even let the bait sit still for a few moments to compensate.
12 Bass Fishing Baits for Kayak Fishing Your Winter Tackle Box Is Missing
In winter, combining a slow retrieval technique with deep-diving bass fishing baits for kayak fishing is the best way to guarantee a winning catch. With that said, not all bass fishing lures are created equal.
If you’re ready to try out your newfound love for kayak bass fishing this winter, here are some of the best lures to add to your tackle box:
1. Rapala DT
If you’re looking for a kayak bass fishing lure that’s versatile and built to last, the Rapala DT crankbait series should be one of your first stops. These lures dive down remarkably fast yet “float” in a specific zone once at the desired depth.
Rapala DT lures feature top-quality balsa wood bodies and polycarbonate lips to ensure a great dive each time. You can cast these lures up to 150 feet, so there’s no need to worry about getting your kayak into the perfect spot before trying your luck.
The Rapala DT series includes a few different styles, so you’ll want to make sure you invest in one of the deep-diving options for winter bass fishing. Available diving depths include 10, 14, and 16 feet. Lure lengths range from 2.25 to 2.75 inches (perfect for most bass).
2. Yo-Zuri 3DS Crank Deep Diver
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The Yo-Zuri 3DS Crank Deep Diver is specially designed to draw the eyes of predatory fish — particularly hungry smallmouth and largemouth bass.
Each lure includes fine details like engraved gills and scales. While this crankbait lure can effortlessly dive, its unique lip bounces off of underwater obstacles without issue.
Yo-Zuri makes tons of great fishing lures, including many made for shallow waters. For the best bass fishing bait for kayak fishing in winter, though, make sure you go with the 3DS Crank Deep Diver.
This lure measures just over 2.5 inches long and dives up to 12 feet below the surface.
3. Megabass DEEP-X 300
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If deep dives are your priority, few bass fishing baits for kayak fishing are better than the Megabass DEEP-X 300.
This lure dives effortlessly below the surface and attracts fish with a natural, irregular swimming action after it reaches the ideal depth. It includes a Multi-Way Balancer System for greater casting distance and steeper dives.
The Megabass DEEP-X 300 measures 3 inches long and dives between 12 and 15 feet. According to Megabass, this lure’s also great for summer fishing off of the shore.
4. Rapala X-Rap Shad
Another of the best bass fishing baits for kayak fishing is the Rapala X-Rap Shad. This lure might not dive as deep as others but makes up for it with eye-catching details.
This lure is perfect for winter fishing when bass are less eager to jump at every piece of bait that comes their way.
The Rapala X-Rap Shad includes a distinct swimming action, holographic eyes that catch any available light, and a feathered teaser tail. With this crankbait, you’ll grab the attention of even the most sluggish fish.
The Rapala X-Rap Shad dives between 6 and 11 feet below the water’s surface, making this lure great for shallower waterways or earlier winter fishing. Each lure measures 2.5 inches long and features two treble hooks for near-guaranteed results.
5. Norman Deep Little N
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For deep dives that won’t get caught on plant life and debris, look no further than the Norman Deep Little N crankbait. This lure has landed several recorded wins in bass fishing competitions, so you know it’s the real deal.
This bass fishing lure dives quickly and suspends with a distinct floating action. With almost 30 colors available, there’s a crankbait lure for every fishing scenario.
Whichever colorway you prefer, this lure measures 2.5 inches long and features two #4 hooks for a reliable catch each time. The Norman Deep Little N dives down between 9 and 12 feet, depending on conditions.
6. Rapala Shad Rap RS
For a straightforward, plastic crankbait, the Rapala Shad Rap RS is an excellent starter lure for your winter kayak fishing tackle box. It’s heavier than other bait, making it the perfect solution for casting in windy conditions.
Catching the attention of sleepy fish won’t be an issue with this lure. This crankbait is designed to suspend and wobble at depth for a lure that’s too tempting for hungry bass to resist.
For bass fishing in winter, we suggest the largest Rapala Shad Rap RS style available. It measures 2.75 inches and consistently sinks down between 7 and 15 feet.
7. Strike King Pro Model 8XD Crankbait
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In the peak of winter, fish need to go deep to survive. The Strike King Pro Model 8XD Crankbait can reach some of the deepest waters of any crankbait out there.
This crankbait features three-dimensional eyes and a large profile to ensure no fish can ignore your tempting bait, even in the sluggish winter months. The rattling sound made by this lure during retrieval can help draw in even the most stubborn bass.
This crankbait lure is designed for catching big bass. Each lure measures 5.5 inches long and dives down to 20 feet.
8. Strike King Pro Model 6XD Crankbait
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If you love the quality of Strike King lures but don’t need any monstrous bass fishing baits for kayak fishing, we’ve got you covered. The Strike King Pro Model 6XD Crankbait offers all of the great features of the large 8XD Series in a much smaller package.
These lures might look like any other deep-diving bass fishing bait. But the unique curved lip allows this crankbait to dive further and faster than similar models.
The Strike King Pro Model 6XD Crankbait measures 3 inches — large, but nothing compared to the 5.5-inch 8XD — and dives down to 19 feet.
9. Bomber Fat Free Fingerling Crankbait
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Many of our recommendations are ideal for deep, open water. If you live in a warmer climate, though, you might find yourself winter fishing in shallower waters from time to time. The Bomber Fat Free Fingerling Crankbait is perfect for just these scenarios.
This crankbait lure comes in a variety of reflective, eye-catching patterns. The built-in rattle and fast wobbling motion during retrieval will alert nearby bass it’s time to strike.
These lures measure 2.4 inches long and can dive down between 8 and 10 feet below the surface. Each comes equipped with two exclusive rotating treble hooks for reliability when you need it most.
10. Rapala Scatter Rap Glass Shad
While depth and retrieval speed are key to landing big bass in the wintertime, don’t discredit the power of light. The Rapala Scatter Rap Glass Shad lure mimics baitfish in its movement.
It also features a see-through design that reflects the natural light around it to catch the eye of predator fish.
The Rapala Scatter Rap Glass Shad is not actually made of real glass. So there’s no need to worry about durability. The crystal-clear plastic construction will stand up to whatever you and Mother Nature throw at it.
These bass fishing baits for kayak fishing measure 2.75 inches long and dive down between 10 and 14 feet. Its erratic, wobbling swimming pattern is nearly guaranteed to draw attention from any bass in its vicinity.
11. Bandit Lures Series 300
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Looking for bass fishing baits for kayak fishing with a smaller profile? The Bandit Lures Series 300 crankbaits offer deep dives in a small body.
Despite the small size, these lures still have a classic shad-inspired shape and loud rattles. Internal lead weights give this lure a satisfying heft and can help trigger bites upon impact with rocks and debris.
These Bandit Lures crankbaits measure 2 inches long. Each Series 300 lure dives down to 12 feet (check out the Series 100 and 200 ranges for shallow dives come summertime!).
12. Rapala Scatter Rap Countdown
The Rapala Scatter Rap Countdown mimics the movements of small baitfish. This swimming action is ideal for hunting down predators like bass in the cold winter months.
Each lure is slightly weighted to make maintaining the perfect baiting depth even easier. This feature is especially helpful when practicing your slow retrieval.
Invest in this bass fishing lure if you frequent waterways on the shallower side. The Rapala Scatter Rap Countdown comes in two sizes, the larger of which measures 2.75 inches and sinks between 6 and 9 feet below the water’s surface.
Recommended Read: An Outdoorsman’s Guide to Walleye Fishing
When Temperatures Take a Dive, So Do the Fish
Whether you’re fishing from a huge boat or a personal kayak, record-breaking bass go where the water is warmest. If you want to be a successful angler, your strategy must change with the seasons.
As always, the best bass fishing baits for kayak fishing depend on a lot of factors. For anyone just starting out with winter kayak fishing, we recommend investing in a few different lures and seeing what works in your favorite fishing spots.
Of course, you should take the time to research your local waterways. Reach out to your community’s bass fishing club in-person or online to learn what more experienced anglers have in their tackle boxes. The last thing you want is to cast a 15-foot diver in a river that caps out at 10 feet!
What are your favorite winter kayak bass fishing tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments below!
Last update on 2023-12-02 at 13:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API