Kyle Welcher’s AOY tacklebox

See the lures that Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kyle Welcher relied on to land his 2023 Progressive Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.

Kyle Welcher reverted to form with a masterful 2023 Progressive Bassmaster Angler of the Year campaign that saw him duke it out with South Carolina’s Brandon Cobb for much of the season.
Welcher put on a display of consistency throughout the season with an average finish of 21st place. His lowest finish was a 44th place at lake St. Clair, and he had two Top 10 finishes — the Sabine RIver and the St. Lawrence River.
Throughout the season, Welcher kept it simple with the baits he used. “The trend of the 2023 season was back-to-back tournaments,” said Welcher. “That played into why I was able to fish with so few baits this year; whenever you find out what the fish are doing in the first event, you can typically do something similar in the next event.”
“The back-to-back tournaments really helped me keep momentum and keep my baits simple,” said Welcher. “I could focus on where the fish were and what they were doing rather than what baits to use.”
We got a chance to catch up with Welcher and see what baits he used to win the 2023 Progressive Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.
Untamed Tackle Apex Swim Jig: Keeping it simple with a 5/16-ounce black and blue Apex Swim Jig paired with a black and blue Rapala Crush City Cleanup Craw trailer, Welcher weighed the majority of his bass on Lake Seminole and the Sabine River on this bait. On Lay Lake he also weighed several fish on this exact jig.
Spro Bronzeye Poppin’ Frog 60: Welcher Started his season with a 13th-place finish on Lake Okeechobee and weighed all his fish on this frog. In addition, he weighed half of his fish from Lay Lake on this bait.
“When the fish are spawning, this is a bigger, more obnoxious profile that would make those females bite more often than the males,” said Welcher. “That’s really important around the spawn and especially on a lake like Okeechobee.”
5-inch wacky rig: Rigged on a 2/0 Gamakatsu drop-shot/split-shot hook, this bait was the muscle bait of spawn/postspawn fishing for Welcher. He weighed in the majority of his fish at Lake Murray and Santee Cooper on a wacky rig.
“Anytime those fish are lingering up shallow in a weird mood, this seems to be a bait that generates bites,” said Welcher.
Drop shot with a Rapala Crush City B.L.T: Welcher utilized the drop shot at all three northern tournaments of 2023 weighing in the majority of his fish from Lake St. Clair and the St. Lawrence River where he finished fifth.
“The BLT is made out of a material that floats,” Welcher said. “I started using it at St. Clair with a longer leader to float my bait above the grass and gained a ton of confidence in it. From there I used it on Champlain and the St. Lawrence River.”
There you have it, the handful of baits Kyle Welcher used to win the 2023 Progressive Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.