Bass Basics

Beginner’s Tacklebox: Buddy Gross

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Buddy Gross is ready to fill this utility box with his recommendations for a beginner’s tacklebox. “I chose baits that are versatile and that can be used easily by beginners.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Bassmaster Elite Series pro Buddy Gross is ready to fill this utility box with his recommendations for a beginner’s tacklebox. “I chose baits that are versatile and that can be used easily by beginners.”
The first lure the Georgia pro choses is a lipless crankbait. “I yo-yo it, speed reel it, and you can cast it to deep and shallow fish,” he said. That lines up with his choices for versatile lures that can be fished anywhere, anytime.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The first lure the Georgia pro choses is a lipless crankbait. “I yo-yo it, speed reel it, and you can cast it to deep and shallow fish,” he said. That lines up with his choices for versatile lures that can be fished anywhere, anytime.
Gross prefers a 1/2-ounce lipless crankbait for greater casting distance. He recommends using a bait filled with rattles for attracting bass from afar.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Gross prefers a 1/2-ounce lipless crankbait for greater casting distance. He recommends using a bait filled with rattles for attracting bass from afar.
Next in the lineup is another lipless crankbait, this one in a 3/4-ounce model. “It’s got bigger hooks, which are ideal for bigger bass,” he said.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Next in the lineup is another lipless crankbait, this one in a 3/4-ounce model. “It’s got bigger hooks, which are ideal for bigger bass,” he said.
The choice is a Spro Aruku Shad.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The choice is a Spro Aruku Shad.
To customize the lure for big bass, Gross uses Size 1 Owner Stinger ST-36BC Treble Hooks.
Photo: Craig Lamb - To customize the lure for big bass, Gross uses Size 1 Owner Stinger ST-36BC Treble Hooks.
Next are a pair of 3/4-ounce tandem-willowleaf spinnerbaits. “I like the heavier baits for slow rolling,” he said. “You can also speed it up, and the bait won’t roll over.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Next are a pair of 3/4-ounce tandem-willowleaf spinnerbaits. “I like the heavier baits for slow rolling,” he said. “You can also speed it up, and the bait won’t roll over.”
The choices are Nichols Pulsator Metal Flake Double Willowleaf Spinnerbaits.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The choices are Nichols Pulsator Metal Flake Double Willowleaf Spinnerbaits.
For spring and summer — and topwater fun — Gross chooses a pair of buzzbaits. “I use black on cloudy and low-light days and the white for sunny, bright days,” he said. Two different blade sizes provide options for adapting to wind and wave conditions.
Photo: Craig Lamb - For spring and summer — and topwater fun — Gross chooses a pair of buzzbaits. “I use black on cloudy and low-light days and the white for sunny, bright days,” he said. Two different blade sizes provide options for adapting to wind and wave conditions.
Gross opts for Boogerman Buzzbaits for the signature keeled head shape and premium buzz blade, which creates a noisy clacking sound by forcing the blade to make contact with the head on every rotation. The wire arm can be bent slightly upward for a softer action with highly pressured or wary bass.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Gross opts for Boogerman Buzzbaits for the signature keeled head shape and premium buzz blade, which creates a noisy clacking sound by forcing the blade to make contact with the head on every rotation. The wire arm can be bent slightly upward for a softer action with highly pressured or wary bass.
Every tacklebox needs hooks and weights for rigging soft plastics.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Every tacklebox needs hooks and weights for rigging soft plastics.
Gross prefers the all-around versatility of Owner All Purpose Worm Hooks, these in the 5/0 size. He pairs those up with 1/2-ounce Fitzgerald Fishing Tungsten Weights.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Gross prefers the all-around versatility of Owner All Purpose Worm Hooks, these in the 5/0 size. He pairs those up with 1/2-ounce Fitzgerald Fishing Tungsten Weights.
Gross rigs up with these soft plastics from Zoom Bait Co. for attracting bass of any size.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Gross rigs up with these soft plastics from Zoom Bait Co. for attracting bass of any size.
The new Zoom Super Salt Plus U-Tail Worm is his all-around choice, as it gives the fish a different look, and it is impregnated with fish-attracting salts. The Zoom Super Salt Plus Salty Super Fluke is another versatile option. “You can fish it on top, weightless, or use it on a Carolina rig in deeper water.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - The new Zoom Super Salt Plus U-Tail Worm is his all-around choice, as it gives the fish a different look, and it is impregnated with fish-attracting salts. The Zoom Super Salt Plus Salty Super Fluke is another versatile option. “You can fish it on top, weightless, or use it on a Carolina rig in deeper water.”
Every beginner’s tacklebox should include a bladed jig, and Gross choices a bluegill pattern. “It’s just a good, all-around bait for fishing shallow, or deep, and especially around docks where bluegill suspend,” he said. “It’s also good for a beginner to learn how to feel vibrations in the rod and detect strikes.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Every beginner’s tacklebox should include a bladed jig, and Gross choices a bluegill pattern. “It’s just a good, all-around bait for fishing shallow, or deep, and especially around docks where bluegill suspend,” he said. “It’s also good for a beginner to learn how to feel vibrations in the rod and detect strikes.”
The choice is a Z-Man ChatterBait.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The choice is a Z-Man ChatterBait.
Krazy Glue? You bet and here is why. “You can glue baits, braided line, just about anything that needs putting back together,” he said. “It’s surprising how many times this stuff has come in handy and saved the day.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Krazy Glue? You bet and here is why. “You can glue baits, braided line, just about anything that needs putting back together,” he said. “It’s surprising how many times this stuff has come in handy and saved the day.”
“Growing up, I did a lot of bank fishing and pond hopping,” said Gross. “What’s great about my choices is these baits will work in ponds and small waters, and on big lakes too.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “Growing up, I did a lot of bank fishing and pond hopping,” said Gross. “What’s great about my choices is these baits will work in ponds and small waters, and on big lakes too.”