Big fish big bait....large or small if you know a big bass haunts a stump, tree, brush, etc. You can often elicite a savage strike by antagonizing or harassing him by repetive retrieves. Spooking him doesn't work of course. I've come back after discovering a good fish and after 10+ casts finally get the brut to bust it. I think it's more invading his space and anger than feeding for sure. This can work in bright sunshine when normal behavior is quite the opposite... Another point is a big bite in the hook gonna land lots more than all those lost w/lil bream bugs. I like to use midsize bugs that will get the occasional bream, make for easier casting, still have enough bite to get bucket mouth. When lots of good bream are around I use small trailer bug or wetfly about 2' behind the popper. Have caught 2 bass at once a few times.
What state are you in, if you don't mind me asking? Those are some nice bass!