Sure, there are plenty of times when a weighted Texas rigged soft plastic is required, such as when bass are holding on a ledge 18 feet deep and you need to get down there quickly, but sometimes you need to forget the weight to catch fish.

The fish may be suspending on the edge of a weed wall, and won’t hit the lure if it zips past on the way to the bottom. You may be dealing with a high-pressure day, when bass aren’t chasing anything at all. During the prespawn bass often pull up onto shallow flats with sparse weed growth and a weightless soft plastic is all you need. Finally, when fishing smaller lakes or ponds, a weight is just not necessary if the water is less than 10 feet deep.

One benefit of a weightless Texas rig is a slow sink-rate. Lethargic bass may snap at a lure zipped by them out of reaction, but a lifelike lure that slowly sinks like a dying baitfish is easier to catch. A fish can’t expend more energy to catch food than the protein and nutrition that food provides, so if you can slowly drop a bait so all it needs to do is open its mouth and swallow, you got him.

Here are three baits and situations when you should Texas rig sans sinker.

No. 1. Prespawn bass holding in shallow, sparse cover often react to a weightless YUM Dinger quickly twitched a foot or so under the surface. I saw this situation early last spring on Arkansas’ Lake Dardanelle. Bass had pulled up shallow and were holding in the stalks of last year’s lily pads, and you often could see them coming from a great distance toward the Dinger.

Water depth ranged from 3 to 5 feet, and the thick stands of stalks required a weedless lure. The fish were reluctant to hit a surface lure like a hollow-body frog, and a spinnerbait just didn’t trip their trigger. What excited them, though, was that Dinger darting relatively slowly from side-to-side, sometimes slowly sinking like a dying shad. That’s when they smashed it.

Using a 5/0 wide-gap offset shank worm hook and a 5-inch Dinger in green pumpkin, watermelon seed or glimmer blue pepper, the technique was as simple as making a long cast and working it back to the boat with a twitch-twitch-pause rhythm.

No. 2. It never fails. Your one day to fish and it’s the day after a cold front blows through, with bluebird skies and fish with lips as tight as the seal on grandma’s jar of green beans canned in 1977. Bright skies mean that bass seek shade. High pressure means they will not chase a lure. Whether they’re suspending under a dock, at the shady side-edge of a weedline or under overhanging trees, you’ll need to go into slow-motion mode to make it happen.

This is when a weightless, Texas rigged Swum or Houdini Shad can save the day. Both baits skip easily deep under the docks where the shade provides comfort from the bright sky, and when twitched they dart to the side before ever so slowly fading back toward the bottom. Few fish pass up a meal like that.

High-pressure days occur all year, so you can face this situation any time. Soft plastic jerkbaits are made to be fished weightless, but on days when the fish just don’t want to eat, you’ve got to slow down to catch them.

Mitch Looper is an Arkansas lure designer who had a hand in the design of the Houdini Shad and gave a seminar is this type of fishing one bluebird day in the spring.

“Even though I designed the tail of the Houdini Shad to be modified several ways, in this situation don’t touch it,” Looper said. “The full tail helps it sink slower, and that’s important on a day like today.”

Looper saved that day working a weightless Houdini Shad at the edge of shoreline weeds. We only caught a few, but would have been blanked without his super-slow-mo tactic.

No. 3. A YUM Tube rigged weightless makes a great finesse jerkbait that almost floats. The air trapped inside the tube helps it stay right at the surface for fishing all types of weedy cover, from this slop to lily pads to sparse flats.

“Always use as little weight as you can get away with,” said television fishing legend Bill Dance, “and if you can get away with using none at all, that’s even better.”

Like a soft plastic jerkbait, by twitching the rod tip in a downward motion while leaving a little slack out causes the tube to walk back-and-forth on or just below the surface. This tactic is perfect for postspawn fish, both on the bucks that are protecting the fry in the shallows and the big females suspending at the first piece of cover or structure just outside the spawning bay.

“Those big females, they physically can’t go deeper for about 10 days or so while they’re recuperating from the spawn,” said TV legend and FLW Tour Pro Jimmy Houston. “That’s when you can get them with a bait that rides on the surface or just below it.”