Gear

Money baits of the Elites

See which baits bring in the money for Elite Series pros.

<p>It’s no mean feat to finish among the leaders in the points after fishing all eight Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments. Those points are also accompanied by a considerable chunk of change. Wouldn’t you like to know which baits won the most money for some of the top Elite Series pros in 2013? Of course, you would.</p>
Photo: James Overstreet - It’s no mean feat to finish among the leaders in the points after fishing all eight Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments. Those points are also accompanied by a considerable chunk of change. Wouldn’t you like to know which baits won the most money for some of the top Elite Series pros in 2013? Of course, you would.
John Crews relied on his own Missile Baits soft plastic lures during the 2013 Elite Series season to keep him flush with cash.
Photo: Mark Hicks - John Crews relied on his own Missile Baits soft plastic lures during the 2013 Elite Series season to keep him flush with cash.
Crews Texas rigs his Missile Baits D Bomb and matches it with a 3/8-ounce sinker and 20- to 25-pound Vicious fluorocarbon line when he’s flippin’ and pitchin’ to shallow, visible cover. The D Bomb helped him nail down third place at the Mississippi River. It also produced bass for Crews at Falcon Lake, the Sabine River, West Point Lake and the Alabama River.
Photo: Mark Hicks - Crews Texas rigs his Missile Baits D Bomb and matches it with a 3/8-ounce sinker and 20- to 25-pound Vicious fluorocarbon line when he’s flippin’ and pitchin’ to shallow, visible cover. The D Bomb helped him nail down third place at the Mississippi River. It also produced bass for Crews at Falcon Lake, the Sabine River, West Point Lake and the Alabama River.
A Missile Baits 3/16- or 1/4-ounce Warlock jig rigged with a Missile Baits 4.4-inch Fuse slender crawfish bait caught key bass for crews at Bull Shoals, the Alabama River and West Point Lake. He fishes this finesse rig on 8-pound Vicious fluorocarbon line.  “The Warlock comes through rocks and brush far better than other shaky head jigs,” Crews claims. “The strong at the Alabama River current wedged other jigs in the rocks. That didn’t happen with the Warlock.”
Photo: Mark Hicks - A Missile Baits 3/16- or 1/4-ounce Warlock jig rigged with a Missile Baits 4.4-inch Fuse slender crawfish bait caught key bass for crews at Bull Shoals, the Alabama River and West Point Lake. He fishes this finesse rig on 8-pound Vicious fluorocarbon line. “The Warlock comes through rocks and brush far better than other shaky head jigs,” Crews claims. “The strong at the Alabama River current wedged other jigs in the rocks. That didn’t happen with the Warlock.”
“Almost all the bass I weighed at Falcon Lake were caught on my Missile Craw,” Crews says.  Crews Texas rigs the Missile Craw with a 3/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Flippin’ Hook, a 5/16-ounce sinker and 20-pound Vicious fluorocarbon line.
Photo: Mark Hicks - “Almost all the bass I weighed at Falcon Lake were caught on my Missile Craw,” Crews says. Crews Texas rigs the Missile Craw with a 3/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Flippin’ Hook, a 5/16-ounce sinker and 20-pound Vicious fluorocarbon line.
Strike King’s 6XD and 1.5 crankbaits and the KVD Jerkbait padded Keith Combs’ bank account in 2013.
Photo: Mark Hicks - Strike King’s 6XD and 1.5 crankbaits and the KVD Jerkbait padded Keith Combs’ bank account in 2013.
Combs slammed heavyweight largemouths with Strike King’s deep diving 6XD to win the Elite Series tournament at Falcon Lake. He slings the big cranker on 15-pound Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon.
Photo: Mark Hicks - Combs slammed heavyweight largemouths with Strike King’s deep diving 6XD to win the Elite Series tournament at Falcon Lake. He slings the big cranker on 15-pound Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon.
Casting Strike King’s KVD 1.5 Square Bill to cypress trees paid off for Combs at the Sabine River. It also produced bass for him at other Elite Series events.
Photo: Mark Hicks - Casting Strike King’s KVD 1.5 Square Bill to cypress trees paid off for Combs at the Sabine River. It also produced bass for him at other Elite Series events.
A Strike King KVD Jerkbait in the Perch color helped Combs dupe enough smallmouth bass at the St. Lawrence River to claim 23rd place.
Photo: Mark Hicks - A Strike King KVD Jerkbait in the Perch color helped Combs dupe enough smallmouth bass at the St. Lawrence River to claim 23rd place.
Former Bassmaster Classic champion Alton Jones put plenty of jing in his pockets this year with a Yum Dinger, a Fat Free Shad crankbait and a Booyah jig.
Photo: Mark Hicks - Former Bassmaster Classic champion Alton Jones put plenty of jing in his pockets this year with a Yum Dinger, a Fat Free Shad crankbait and a Booyah jig.
“I’ve won more money on a 6-inch Green Pumpkin Purple Yum Dinger this year than with anything else,” Jones says. “Actually, the Dinger has been the biggest money winner for my career.”  Jones usually fishes the Dinger without a weight and Texas rigs it with a 4/0 Reaction Innovations BMF Flippin’ Hook, which he snells to his line.  “Sometimes I’ll add a 1/8-ounce bullet sinker, as I did at Falcon this year,” Jones says. “I finished in 13th place there.”
Photo: Mark Hicks - “I’ve won more money on a 6-inch Green Pumpkin Purple Yum Dinger this year than with anything else,” Jones says. “Actually, the Dinger has been the biggest money winner for my career.” Jones usually fishes the Dinger without a weight and Texas rigs it with a 4/0 Reaction Innovations BMF Flippin’ Hook, which he snells to his line. “Sometimes I’ll add a 1/8-ounce bullet sinker, as I did at Falcon this year,” Jones says. “I finished in 13th place there.”
Bomber’s Fat Free Shad BD7F is another bait that earned big paydays for Jones. During the 2013 Elite Series tournament at Falcon Lake, the deep diving crankbait accounted for half of his bass.  “I had to burn the bait and kill it at Falcon to get a reaction strike,” Jones says.
Photo: Mark Hicks - Bomber’s Fat Free Shad BD7F is another bait that earned big paydays for Jones. During the 2013 Elite Series tournament at Falcon Lake, the deep diving crankbait accounted for half of his bass. “I had to burn the bait and kill it at Falcon to get a reaction strike,” Jones says.
Jones finished fourth at the Alabama River with a 3/4 Booyah Jig dressed with a Blue Sapphire Yum Chunk. He pitched the jig to flooded trees with 50-pound braided line.  “The current was so strong there you needed a heavy jig to get down to the bass,” Jones says. “On my best day, I caught a limit of spotted bass that weighed over 20 pounds.”
Photo: Mark Hicks - Jones finished fourth at the Alabama River with a 3/4 Booyah Jig dressed with a Blue Sapphire Yum Chunk. He pitched the jig to flooded trees with 50-pound braided line. “The current was so strong there you needed a heavy jig to get down to the bass,” Jones says. “On my best day, I caught a limit of spotted bass that weighed over 20 pounds.”
“I fish every tournament to win,” Ish Monroe says. That’s another way of saying that Monroe fishes baits that consistently produce big bass for him.
Photo: Mark Hicks - “I fish every tournament to win,” Ish Monroe says. That’s another way of saying that Monroe fishes baits that consistently produce big bass for him.
“Missile Baits D Bomb is my only flippin’ bait,” Monroe says. “I Texas rig it with a 1-ounce River2Sea tungsten Trash Bomb sinker and my new Ish Monroe New Jack Flippin’ Hook.”  The keeper on this unique hook also has an eye to which you tie your line after threading it through the hook’s main eye. It gives you the leverage advantage you get by snelling a hook without the snell.   “The D Bomb caught fish for me this year at the Sabine River, Falcon Lake, West Point and at other tournaments, too,” Monroe says.
Photo: Mark Hicks - “Missile Baits D Bomb is my only flippin’ bait,” Monroe says. “I Texas rig it with a 1-ounce River2Sea tungsten Trash Bomb sinker and my new Ish Monroe New Jack Flippin’ Hook.” The keeper on this unique hook also has an eye to which you tie your line after threading it through the hook’s main eye. It gives you the leverage advantage you get by snelling a hook without the snell. “The D Bomb caught fish for me this year at the Sabine River, Falcon Lake, West Point and at other tournaments, too,” Monroe says.
Ish Monroe is known for his ability to shanghai heavy largemouth bass with a weedless frog. The Ish’s Phat Frog that he designed for Snag Proof put bass in his livewell at every 2013 Elite Series tournament, with the exception of the St. Lawrence River. Monroe fishes the Phat Frog on 65-pound Maxima braid.
Photo: Mark Hicks - Ish Monroe is known for his ability to shanghai heavy largemouth bass with a weedless frog. The Ish’s Phat Frog that he designed for Snag Proof put bass in his livewell at every 2013 Elite Series tournament, with the exception of the St. Lawrence River. Monroe fishes the Phat Frog on 65-pound Maxima braid.
The River2Sea Ish Monroe Biggie squarebill crankbait has put Monroe in touch with bass throughout the 2013 season. He fishes the Biggie on 12-pound Maxima fluorocarbon.
Photo: Mark Hicks - The River2Sea Ish Monroe Biggie squarebill crankbait has put Monroe in touch with bass throughout the 2013 season. He fishes the Biggie on 12-pound Maxima fluorocarbon.
Skeet Reese feels confident about cashing checks when he’s fishing a Lucky Craft RTO 3.5 XD and Skeet’s Sick Fish Swimbait and Pit Boss from Havoc.
Photo: Mark Hicks - Skeet Reese feels confident about cashing checks when he’s fishing a Lucky Craft RTO 3.5 XD and Skeet’s Sick Fish Swimbait and Pit Boss from Havoc.
The Lucky Craft RTO 3.5 HD diving crankbait produced most of the bass that Reese brought to the scales at Falcon Lake, where he finished in 27th place.  “The Trokar TK300 treble hooks I put on that bait are disgustingly sharp,” Reese says. “I fish it on 10-pound-test fluorocarbon.”
Photo: Mark Hicks - The Lucky Craft RTO 3.5 HD diving crankbait produced most of the bass that Reese brought to the scales at Falcon Lake, where he finished in 27th place. “The Trokar TK300 treble hooks I put on that bait are disgustingly sharp,” Reese says. “I fish it on 10-pound-test fluorocarbon.”
The 5.5-inch Skeet’s Sick Fish Swimbait from Havoc helped Reese nail down 12th place at the Alabama River. He fixes the Sick Fish on a 3/4-ounce jig and slow rolls it with a yellow Skeet Reese signature Wright & McGill 7-foot, 6-inch Heavy Cover Rod with 20-pound Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon.
Photo: Mark Hicks - The 5.5-inch Skeet’s Sick Fish Swimbait from Havoc helped Reese nail down 12th place at the Alabama River. He fixes the Sick Fish on a 3/4-ounce jig and slow rolls it with a yellow Skeet Reese signature Wright & McGill 7-foot, 6-inch Heavy Cover Rod with 20-pound Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon.
A Havoc Skeet’s Pit Boss came through for Reese at the Sabine River, and it also accounted for some heavyweights at Lake Falcon. He rigged the Pit Boss on a 5/0 Trokar TK 120 MagWorm hook with a 3/8-ounce tungsten
Photo: Mark Hicks - A Havoc Skeet’s Pit Boss came through for Reese at the Sabine River, and it also accounted for some heavyweights at Lake Falcon. He rigged the Pit Boss on a 5/0 Trokar TK 120 MagWorm hook with a 3/8-ounce tungsten
Strike King’s Coffee Tube, KVD 1.5 Square Bill and Dream Shot are money for Chris Zaldain.
Photo: Mark Hicks - Strike King’s Coffee Tube, KVD 1.5 Square Bill and Dream Shot are money for Chris Zaldain.
Photo: Mark Hicks - "The 2013 Elite Series schedule setup well for finesse fishing,” Zaldain says. “My most consistent bait this year was Strike King’s Coffee tube in the Dark Melon Goby color.” Zaldain rigged the tube with a 1/4-ounce Strike King Tube Jig Head and fished it on 8-pound Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon.
“I use Strike King’s KVD 1.5 Square Bill crankbait as a search bait,” Zaldain says. “After I find the bass with it, I can refine my patterns.”  Zaldain casts the little cranker on 15-pound Seaguar InvizX Fluorocarbon.
Photo: Mark Hicks - “I use Strike King’s KVD 1.5 Square Bill crankbait as a search bait,” Zaldain says. “After I find the bass with it, I can refine my patterns.” Zaldain casts the little cranker on 15-pound Seaguar InvizX Fluorocarbon.
“A Strike King KVD Dream Shot in the KVD Magic color always comes through for me when the bite is tough,” Zaldain says.
Photo: Mark Hicks - “A Strike King KVD Dream Shot in the KVD Magic color always comes through for me when the bite is tough,” Zaldain says.