Hardbaits are deadly weapons spring through fall for bass, walleyes and other predatory gamefish. Research shows lure action trumps other triggers when it comes to generating strikes. Which means if you understand the factors that dictate action, you’ll get more strikes and catch more fish.

A lure’s lip size and design affect action (and running depth). But don’t overlook body shape as a primary concern when choosing the right lure for the conditions at hand.

There are four basic hardbait body shapes:

  1. Jerkbait—long and slender, this design creates an extremely erratic action when you pop the rodtip. It’s great for active fish in shallow water, and for tempting deep fish to swim up and strike, but can also be slowed down for less active fish and adverse conditions.
  2. Crankbait—available in stout and slender options. Generally outfitted with larger lips that generate a medium wiggle and wobble, this versatile category excels for casting and trolling. Great for grinding bottom or deflecting off cover and structure.
  3. Jointed Bait—the wild card of hardbaits, this segmented style ramps up the action of a standard crankbait. Ideal whenever you need a pivoting, aggressive animation to tempt fish that turn down more subdued locomotion.
  4. Banana Bait—built with an even bend from lip to tail, the banana body is primarily a trolling bait that produces a slow, distinctive roll. Great when the water is cool and fish are lethargic.

Based in Walker, Minnesota, noted fishing authority and outdoor communicator Chip Leer operates Fishing the WildSide, an outdoor sports marketing and communications company. For more information look to www.fishingthewildside.net