Beginner's Tacklebox Beginner’s Tacklebox: Robbie Latuso Posted on May 7, 2020 Photo: Andy Crawford - Bassmaster Elite Series pro Robbie Latuso grew up snatching bass from the cypress-filled swamps of South Louisiana. That experience influences his preference for flipping, but he knows how to put together a box of baits that can help a beginner catch fish anywhere in the country. Here are his choices for a novice angler. Photo: Andy Crawford - His first choice is a Delta Lures 1/2-ounce buzz bait. âItâs really fun to catch them on topwaters,â he said. âItâs fun to see the strike.â Photo: Andy Crawford - The buzz bait goes in the first compartment of the Beginnerâs Tacklebox. Photo: Andy Crawford - Latuso reached into one of his Bass Catâs compartments for his box of frogs. Photo: Andy Crawford - The next bait up is Fitzgerald Fishingâs Pro-Z Hollow Body Frog. âThereâs nothing more fun than catching them on a frog,â he said. âYouâve got to have you a black one and a white one. If you lose them, get you another black one and white one.â Photo: Andy Crawford - The frogs fill the second compartment of the box. Photo: Andy Crawford - Latusoâs third choice â gold/black back Smithwick Rattlinâ Rogue â reflects his Louisiana roots. The lure is in every South Louisianianâs box, and it is deadly when worked around cypress trees in the spring. âItâs another fun way to catch fish,â he explained. You get to see the fish bite. âAnd that gold one is pretty much the only color you need down here.â Photo: Andy Crawford - The Rattlinâ Rogue occupies the third compartment of his Beginnerâs Tacklebox. Photo: Andy Crawford - Next up is a 3/8-ounce Delta Lures Thunder Jig with a Missile Baits Craw trailer. âItâs a good all-around choice,â he said. âItâs an easy bait to throw, itâs easy to feel the bait vibrate and itâs easy to feel the bite â they choke it.â Photo: Andy Crawford - The Thunder Jig is placed in the first compartment of the second row of the beginnerâs box. Photo: Andy Crawford - Latuso reaches into the hard-bait compartment of his boat and pulls out a box of spinnerbaits. Photo: Andy Crawford - A 3/8-ounce Delta Lures spinnerbait with double Colorado blades comes out as the fifth bait for the box. âItâs the No. 1 fish-catching bait down here,â he said. âYouâve just got to have one. Itâs something you can cover a lot of water with, and itâs easy to fish. It doesnât hang up a whole lot. You cast and reel it back.â Photo: Andy Crawford - Lautso places the spinnerbait in the next compartment of the tackleblox. Photo: Andy Crawford - The next lure is another easy-to-fish choice that can be deadly to bass. The 3/8-ounce Delta Lures swim jig is paired with a Missile Baits Shockwave. âItâs another bait you can throw and wind back,â Latuso said. âItâs like a subtle spinnerbait.â Photo: Andy Crawford - The swim jig goes into the box. Photo: Andy Crawford - âYouâve got to have a black-and-chartreuse crankbait,â he said. His choice is a Cliff Pace Ricochet Jr. square bill, and itâs perfect for novice anglers because it flat catches bass. âA square bill deflects off wood really well, and we have lots of wood down here,â he explained. âIt helps you keep from getting hung up all the time, and it triggers the bite when that bait hits wood and deflects off.â Photo: Andy Crawford - The square bill goes into the box just beneath the vibrating jig. Photo: Andy Crawford - Next is a 1/2-ounce Missile Baits Mini Flip Jig with a Missile Baits Baby D-Bomb. âA jigâs a good bait to catch a big fish on,â he said. âSome times of the year, itâs about the only bait you can get a fish on. This Mini Flip has a smaller hook, and itâs actually easy to get hooked up with the fish. Youâve just got to pull into them and youâve got them. For a beginner, thatâs key. You really donât have to set the hook. âItâs a good way for a beginner to get a little confidence in a jig. Itâs a hard bait to learn to fish.â And the black-and-blue combination is âpretty much the only color you need,â he said. âIt works best in stained water, but it has worked anywhere in the country Iâve been to.â Photo: Andy Crawford - Latuso puts the jig into the next compartment of the tacklebox. Photo: Andy Crawford - The angler has to dig out one of his plastics bags to continue filling the box. Photo: Andy Crawford - His first soft-plastic choice is a Missile D-Bomb, which heâll pair with a 3/0 wide-gap hook. âJust flip it out there and catch fish,â he said. âItâs just a great flipping bait. Iâll Texas-rig it with a 1/4-ounce weight, and just flip it on cover.â The choice of whether or not to peg the weight comes down to the cover Latuso is fishing. âIf youâre flipping in grass or a lot of bushes, you want to peg it,â he explained. âIf youâre just flipping around open wood or trees, donât peg it. Youâre going to get more bites and more hookups without pegged weights.â Photo: Andy Crawford - The D-Bomb is tucked into the box. Photo: Andy Crawford - Sticking with flipping options, he pulls out a Missile Baits Baby D-Stroyer, which is really effective around cypress trees when fished under a 1/4-ounce weight. âThis works so good down here because, if youâve noticed, we have a lot of salamanders on trees,â he said. âThe D-Stroyer looks like a little salamander. âYou flip it just like you flip the D-Bomb.â Photo: Andy Crawford - Into the box goes the D-Stroyer. Photo: Andy Crawford - A stick bait is a no-brainer for a beginner, and his choice is the Missile Baits 48 Worm. âYou can fish this any time you fish a Senko,â Latuso said. âYou can Texas rig it, you can wacky rig it, you can Neko rig it, you can put the hook in it without a weight and put a nail weight in the tail. It has a different fall than a Senko does; thatâs why it catches so many fish. âItâs kind of 'finessy.' You just want to get bit as a beginner, and thatâs a great bait to catch fish on. Drag it around real slow, and youâre probably going to catch a fish.â Photo: Andy Crawford - He drops the 48 Worm into the box. âItâs kind of finessy. You just want to get bit as a beginner, and thatâs a great bait to catch fish on. Drag it around real slow, and youâre probably going to catch a fish.â Photo: Andy Crawford - The last bait he chooses is a punching combination: a Delta Lures Punch Skirt over a Missile D-Bomb rigged on an 3/0 Owner Jungle Hook. âYou can punch it with any sized weight you want,â he said. âI use the lightest weight I can get away with. If youâre punching something thatâs not too thick â maybe some duckseed â you might can go with a 1/2-ounce; with lilies you might get away with a 1-ounce. Just go with the lightest weight you can get by with.â He pegs his weight to ensure the lure breaks through the salad. âI use two stoppers,â Latuso said. âOne peg slips on you, but with two it ainât going nowhere.â The punching skirt helps give some heft to the bait profile. âSometimes they want a bulkier profile, especially earlier in the year around the spawn,â he said. âYou get bigger bites. Sometimes they want something big to eat.â Photo: Andy Crawford - Latuso adds the setup in the final space of the tacklebox. Photo: Andy Crawford - He said this box contains a well-rounded selection of lures that will allow a beginner to catch bass wherever he goes. Photo: Andy Crawford - A closer look at the completed box shows Latusoâs choices covers all levels of the water column, from topwater to bottom baits.