Bass Fishing Tips & Techniques
Armed with a few of these bass fishing tips you will greatly increase your chances of landing a lunker. Although some beginners can get away with beginners luck the more you know about where, when and how to fish for bass the better your chances of catching some.
Bass are the most popular game fish in North America. As long as you know what you are doing bass are some of the easiest fish to find and catch. However if you don't know what you are doing then they will not be quite so easy to catch.
Bass Fishing Tips
That is why learning the right bass fishing tips and techniques early on will save you a lot of time and frustration. The more experience you acquire bass fishing, the more you will develop your skills and understanding of various bass fishing techniques.
This involves selecting the appropriate lure and learning which technique should be used for a given situation. Also, you would need to spend some time learning about the different fishing conditions that you may encounter in order to fully understand how to target bass..
Casting for Bass
Most bass fishermen start out learning the traditional overhand cast. Although it is easy to learn and can be used in most scenario's sometimes you want more precision and finesse.
Next up they will probably learn the underhand cast which is on a par with the overhand casting technique. However if you want to increase your accuracy and your ability to spook fish less whilst casting I would suggest getting to grips with the pitching and flipping casting techniques.
Flipping involves dropping the rod forward as you let out some line through the guides. If you are right handed it would be as follows:
- Holding the rod in your right hand lift the rod upright. Let out enough line so that the lure is at the same height as your reel.
- Now pull more line out with your free hand to the side ensuring that the lure stays roughly at the same height as the reel. Drop the rod tip forward, as you do so the lure will move with a forward pendulum like motion.
- As the lure moves out in front of the rod let out the slack line from your other hand so that the lure can continue moving forward as it swings away from you.The line in your free hand should always be allowed to move freely and not gripped tightly.
Flipping is best in darker waters when getting up close to the bass without spooking them is easier. It has a limited range, the longer your rod the longer a distance you can get. Flipping is not about distance though it is primarily about close range accuracy.
Pitching uses the same action to get the lure moving forward as flipping does. However instead of letting slack line out from your other hand you let it out directly from the reel.
A bait casting is generally best for this as you can control the amount of line out with your thumb. Pitching allows you to get more distance than flipping casting does but you are probably less accurate with it.
Where to Fish for Bass
Understanding where bass a most likely to be hiding is crucial. Bass will favor different types of cover depending on the time of year and the weather etc.
Decaying wood or wooden man made structures is one of the best spots to find bass. Fallen trees, floating logs or wooden docks bass can find really good cover under.
Fishing a topwater lure near to these structures can be very effective and also reduce the risk of snagging on them. One of the reasons these area's are effective is because baitfish also like this kind of cover, so you just consider this when choosing a lure.
Weed beds are a great place to find bass. You can work a lure across the top of a weed bed or along the side of it.
Bass will like to hid out in a weed bed especially the newer greener foliage rather than old and brown weds that are dying off. This is where a weedless jig or a spinnerbait can be best utilized. Being able to work a lure without the risk of snagging the weeds will greatly improve your chances.
Smaller shallower rocky bottoms that may be home to small insects and crayfish are going to be more productive than larger deeper rocky areas for bass fishing.
You can find a lot of smallmouth bass spawning in spring over gravel beds near to the shore and this can be a great time and place to target them.
When to Fish for Bass
Knowing where to find bass is only half the challenge in bass finding you still need to know when to look for them in these spots, in fact the two are directly linked.
Bass are like most other fish and will move around relative to the changes in water temperature as the seasons progress.
Without a doubt the best time to catch trophy bass is during pre-spawning in the spring. At this time bass will move to shallower waters. In these shallower waters they will feed more aggressively than usual.In warmer states this spawning time may happen as early as late January, but mostly it will occur around March/April.
At this time of year bass can be seen from the shore hanging around a particular spot as they choose a sight to spawn. This will usually occur near some kind of feature be it a dead tree, weeds or some kind of drop off or even a man made structure.
During the summer months and after spawning season bass become a lot more active due to the increase in water temperature and the need to replace lost energy from spawning. Be careful with the water temperatures bass tend to be most active between the high 50's and low 70's. Once the water temperature hits the low 80's bass may seek out the cooler deeper water.
During the fall bass can put the high summer temps behind them and hunt a lot more in the shallower waters. This can mean that fall is one of the best times to fish for bass as they begin to stock up on food before the winter. Also the waters you fish will generally become less crowded so you can gain access to the more productive spots.
Winter fishing for most fish is usually a little slow and bass are no exception. The drop in temperatures will considerably slow down the bass's metabolism and as such they will be less inclined to strike hard. Your best bet is to put a jig or worm right in front of them.
What would a bass fishing tips guide be like without a section on lures?
There is a massive variety of bass lures available ranging from simple spinner baits to plastic frog replica's. One thing is for certain, most bass fishermen use a huge variety of lures in order to cover almost every eventuality.
Soft plastic worms are some of the most versatile and effective bass lures that you can use. Because of the soft body the worm will feel quite natural to the bass and may result in a greater hooking rate than hard-bodied lures.
Worms are best fished slowly and carefully. Save the fast fishing for other more dynamic lures like crankbaits or spinnerbaits. The majority of strikes will come as the worm is slowly sinking through the water. It pays to keep the rod line fairly tight so that you can feel a bite. Once you feel a bite you will need to strike quite hard to set the hook.
The most popular way to rig a worm for bass fishing is to use the Texas rig. The Texas rig has the hook placed through the worm with the hook point back into the body. This makes the worm almost completely weedless. You can work the worm slowly along the bottom rather than leaving it too still. The other types of rigs to use would be the Drop shot rig and the Carolina rig.
Spinnerbaits are one of the best attractor baits for bass fishing. They do look slight weird but they are non the less very good at attracting bass from a distance. You can cover a lot of water using spinnerbaits.
Most spinner baits will some with a single hook that is behind the rubber skirt. This configuration makes them practically weedless and you can work the lure around and over weed beds very well.The spinning blade adds a strong visual flash to the lure. The bass can also sense the spinning blade vibrations due to sensors on their flanks. Most blade type will either be Colorado, Willow or Indiana.
One of the simplest lures for bass a simple cast and retrieve near an underwater structure or weed bed is ideal. You can also pause the retrieve to let the spinnerbait sink a little, this will cause the blade to flutter as it drops.
Like a spinnerbait a crankbait can be used to cover a lot of water quickly. Covering a large area with a crankbait can help you to locate fish a lot quicker than fishing with a worm.
There is a large range of crankbaits for bass fishing available. Lots of different color choices shapes and weights. The main factor that you need to be aware of is what depth are you going to be fishing at.
Fishing a crankbait for bass is as simple as cast and retrieve. However you do need to vary the speed of retrieval. Twitching and jerking the rod tip will give a more natural swim that mimics an injured bait-fish.
Jigs can and have produced some of the largest bass caught on a rod and line. Fishing with jigs is generally considered a little more difficult than say a spinnerbait or a crankbait as they are generally just cast and retrieve. When fishing a jig for bass however you need to use a little more skill.
Jigs are usually cast at a much shorter distance than the other lures listed above. You will be mostly pitching and flipping the jig into exact spots and this will take a little practice. You will also generally be on lighter tackle so it may be best to learn with other lures first on normal spinning tackle and then move on to jigs.
Jigs are generally worked along the bottom and they are often used to imitate small insects and crayfish that the bass will naturally feed on. They can however be taken by the bass as the jig sinks so it can be best to use some form trailer.
Topwater lure fishing for bass can be great fun. Enticing a strike at the surface can lead to more spectacular scenes than worm fishing on the bottom. Bass can hit topwater lures very hard as the stalk them from the deep.
They are shaped to produce a lot of surface ripple. This action is to imitate an injured bait-fish which the bass will consider an easy meal. The topwater lure will cause a little wake behind as it is retrieved and some will create small popping noises too.
Used when light conditions are low they can really get bass out from their deeper hiding spots. Try not to use them when the wind is too high though as the splashes they may will not be as noticeable.
Arming your self with the correct tackle is crucial to help make your lure presentation as natural as possible. Gear that is too heavy is a bad idea. Make sure you choose the right tool for the job.
For shorter casting and more accuracy a 7 foot light action spinning rod is probably the best bet. So if you are working worms or small jigs up close to natural structures or weed beds you will need something a good bit lighter than for fishing heavy crankbaits.
For longer casting and heavier lures you can use a rod 8 foot or longer with a heavier parabolic action. Fishing bigger heavier lures that you want to get down deep requires a long cast. The further the lure is away from you the deeper you can get it to dive.
A lighter rod and lure generally needs a lighter reel. A light spinning reel should be enough for most scenario's that involve accuracy and lightly weighted lures.For the bigger lures and rods then a baitcasting reel is more appropriate. A baitcasting reel allows you to throw heavier lures long distances with the advantage of being able to control the distance with your thumb. Baitcasting reels and rods are generally used once your line strength needs to be above 10 lbs.
There are three types of line available on the market and each has its own strengths and weaknesses:
- Monofilament: Mono floats so is best suited to topwater lures. It stretches quite a bit also, up to 15%. That extra stretch can reduce your ability to set a hook but it can help if using more natural lures as they less line feel for the bass the better.
- Flourocarbon: Flouro is best for sinking baits and has less stretch than Mono. It is quite clear so can be very good when subtle presentation is required.
- Braid Line: Braid has pretty much no stretch so is great for hook setting. It has the advantage of being very strong for it's diameter much so more than Flouro or Mono.