Stick baits belong to a larger category of bass fishing lures known as topwater baits. As the name implies, topwater baits attract fish by creating a disturbance on the surface of the water. With stick baits, the angler relies on his or her own skill to create a motion that mimics the movement of a surface-swimming baitfish. Perhaps the best known stick bait is one called the Zara Spook, a cigar-shaped lure that can attract bass to the surface from as deep as 25 feet [source: Bass Resource]. Fishermen most often use the Zara Spook and similar lures to create a back-and-forth "walk-the-dog" motion that's irresistible to bass but takes some practice to perfect [source: Stuart].
Like all topwater baits, stick baits are most effective when water temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) [source: Iaconelli]. Stick baits work best in clear, open water and can be used on the surface of shallow water or the very top layer of water of any depth. For another topwater option, check out the aptly-named topwater poppers on the next page.