People looking for tips on bass fishing find many options. There are a lot of articles on bass fishing. What you need to find is a source with experience and the skills to help you. Many articles are touting 10,15, or more tips. These tend to be fluff articles by professional writers. Look at who is writing the article. A fisherman will list their credentials on the about me page or will be easy to find online.
You need the complete details on the techniques, tackle, and other factors regarding tips for bass fishing. An experienced angler will provide details beyond use this lure or find this cover. They explain why to use a lure and how. What locations and cover are better in specific conditions. All aspects of fishing need attention to the small details to be successful.Table of Contents
- Preparation Tips for Bass Fishing
- Learn the Water
- Bottom Composition
- Water Variables
- Know the Species
- The Seasons and Weather Tips for Bass Fishing
- Seasonal Effects on Bass
- Weather Influencing Bass
- Tackle Tips for Bass Fishing
Estimated reading time: 18 minutes, 17 seconds. Contains 3658 words
Watching YouTube videos can be helpful if you find the right person. A lot of the videos lack good information and show someone catching fish. You want the information to make you better at catching fish, not watch someone else catch fish.
The best tip for any type of fishing is to prepare. People with a good plan in place catch more fish. Simply going to the water and casting leads to too many unsuccessful outings. You need to know where the fish are located. What type of prey is available or preferred by the fish. Which techniques are successful at the time of year, location, and water conditions.
These sound simple but do take some preparation. Fishing the wrong location is a mistake due to fish will not be located in the spot. Fish know the prey in the waters they inhabit. You need to use the prey or a lure that mimics the prey. The method to present the bait or lure will matter also. The water temperature, cloud cover, and time of day all influence fish.
Each body of water you fish will be different. Catching fish relies on knowing where to find the largest populations of fish. Fish use structure and cover as a habitat. The water void of the structure is generally unproductive. Areas with good cover along with structure hold the most fish. You must know these spots to catch more fish. People will not tell you their honey holes. You need to find them yourself.
Look at topographical maps to find structure. These are the contours of the land underwater. These include drop-offs, points, deep holes, and a few other elements. Looking at the shore will help you find structure. Tributaries create points on the upstream and downstream sides of the mouth. A steeper bank indicates drop-offs and often deeper water. The outside of bends on streams and rivers are deeper water also.
Bass inhabit areas with food, structure, cover, and a deep water sanctuary. The shallows are for feeding and spawning. What is considered deep and shallow are subjective to the waterway. What is deep in a river differs from many lakes. Look at the deep water as the maximum depth fish can inhabit. The shallows are the areas between the deep and shore.
The bottom composition is different from the structure. This is what makes up the ground under the water. Bass prefer sand, gravel, or rocky compositions. Areas made up of silt or mud are not good areas for bass. The bass uses the preferred bottoms for finding food and spawning purposes. Look for vegetation growth, fallen trees, and rock piles in the areas.
The areas with the proper bottom compositions hold many aquatic lifeforms. In gravels and rocky bottoms, the prey is crayfish, hellgrammites, and minnows. A sandy bottom with weed growth holds numerous forms of prey. Besides the previously mentioned prey, small fish and other insects are found in the weeds.
Largemouths like the places with weed growth. These areas provide protection from the sun and larger fish. Plus, it gives the bass a place to ambush prey they feed on. A sandy bottom is best for the spawning cycle. The fish clear a small depression called a spawning nest or bed. The female deposits the eggs and the male fertilizes the eggs in the nest. After the eggs are laid into the nest, the male stands guard over the nest.
Smallmouths like sandy areas also for the spawn. Yet, other species tend to take the areas before the smallmouth. Smallmouth will use areas with small gravel also known as pea gravel as the bottom. The eggs are held in the gravel and protected by being down in the gravel. These fish use deeper water to spawn than largemouth bass. A smallmouth uses water depths of 4-12 feet normally to spawn. A largemouth goes into shallower water of 1-4 feet.
The water has factors controlling a fish’s behavior. The water clarity, temperature, depth, oxygen levels, and PH factor affect fish. All bass seek certain parameters in all the factors. One element out of the range the bass prefer will make them seek other areas. The big factors are clarity, temperature, and oxygen levels.
Bass do not like a lot of light. They are ambush predators using stealth to catch prey. When there is a lot of light the prey can see a bass easily. Bass search for stained water, brush piles, fallen trees, and shady shorelines to avoid light. This makes the early morning and late evening, the prime times for bass during late spring through early fall.
Water temperature influences the activity level. Fish are cold-blooded creatures. In colder waters, the bass are sluggish only moving to feed. Water too warm, the fish seek cooler waters. In both cases, the fish usually will be in the deeper water. The deeper water has a stable water temperature compared to the shallower waters. This is important in winter and summer since fish use the deep spots more often.
If the PH and oxygen levels are out of an acceptable range the fish will die. You will not find fish in water with low oxygen levels or extreme PH levels. In lakes, decaying plant matter causes both of the issues. In the summer, the heat compounds the problem. The warmer the water, the less dissolved oxygen that is available for the fish. During the warmer weather seek areas with moving water or waves. These actions infuse oxygen into the water.
Each species of bass has different needs in habitat and water conditions. Smallmouths are found in cool flowing waters, whereas largemouths are found in lakes. They do inhabit the same waters in some regions. In general, the streams and rivers are smallmouth habitats. The ponds and lakes are largemouth waters.
Smallmouth like some current. The currents provide cooler oxygen-rich water for them. Smallmouths need more oxygen than other fish. They will die in some places you find other panfish, catfish, and largemouth bass. Waters with low oxygen will lack a good population of smallmouth. The current is also used to wait for food. A smallmouth hangs on the current’s edge waiting for prey to be washed by the current.
Largemouths are the laid-backed bass. Their preference is calmer waters, where they can cruise leisurely seeking food. These bass move along the structure searching until a food source is found. When the food source is found, the bass will use the cover. The bigger bass takes the prime spots in the weeds or cover. These are the pockets along the edge of weeds. Work all the cover for the best results.
Take time to learn about bass behavior and habitat for each species. Professional and successful anglers understand each species. Knowledge is the key difference setting them apart from the average angler. Successful anglers learn the water conditions, structure, and species for each body of water they fish. They take into account the weather and seasons during the preparation for fishing.
Bass are the same as people regarding the weather and seasons. They have ideal conditions and other conditions they dislike. The conditions and season affect the behavior. The cold and warmer water has been mentioned. It will continue in this section. The temperature regulates a bass’s reproductive behavior in the spring. During the rest of the year, the weather affects feeding habits.
Each season has behaviors the bass engage in for the sole purpose of survival. Understanding why a fish does a behavior helps find and catch the fish. Matching behavior and the seasons with weather variables. Allows you to target the best times, presentations, and locations. The fish change locations throughout the seasons as part of their behavior. The weather influences behavior in the specific locations used in each season.
Bass will be in different locations throughout the year. Where you catch a lot of bass in the spring likely will have low productivity in the summer, fall, and winter months. In winter, all fish seek deep water eliminating areas productive in the other seasons. You have to know where the fish go every season. The following bass fishing tips are seasonal guidelines. They will vary in your region due to water temperatures.
Winter is the toughest time of the year to fish. The water is cold making fish less active. The cold temperatures push bass into the deeper stable water. Find places with deep water with little current. The top of deep holes, behind cover or structure in deep water, tends to hold the most fish. Fish are looking to expend as little energy as possible.
This time of the year, you need to use live bait or slow presentations. Using lures will catch some fish but it will be finesse fishing. In other words, a very slow approach is needed. You will have to wait for 20-40 seconds with a pause. Fish do not chase a lure or bait in winter unless the fish knows it has a good chance at success.
In the spring the water begins to warm up. This activates a fish’s drive to reproduce. They will begin to travel from the winter holes towards the shallow spawning areas. These tend to be gentle sloping flats, points, and in smaller streams. This is called the pre-spawn and occurs at 55-65 degrees. The fish will feed to gain weight prior to spawning. They are likely in deeper water at this time. Look for transitional areas with 5-15 feet of water near a deeper wintering hole.
The fish will start to spawn after feeding and the water temperature increases a few more degrees. In the southern regions, this happens in March and April. In the Northern range for bass, the spawn occurs in the May to June range. Largemouth will nest or bed in water 1-5 feet deep or slightly deeper. Smallmouth will go into 5-15 feet of water for spawning. Check the laws in your region. It may be unlawful to target bass in spawning areas or on nests.
After spawning the fish move away from the spawning areas. They take a short rest period. Then the heavy feeding season begins. Bass will gorge on available baitfish or other prey. At this time look for areas with an abundance of food for the fish. Look for shallows with cover, brush, rock piles, and any other cover. The fish will be very active feeding to regain weight and strength after the spawn.
Bass engage in peak activity during the summer. The metabolism is at its highest point making the fish active and hungry. This is a good thing for you but the fish move around more. The fish will move from one feeding area to another every few days or faster. The shallow areas with a lot of cover will hold the most food and fish. You need to locate several good feeding areas in the summer to consistently catch bass.
People make the mistake of staying in one area. These are often the spawning places where they had success earlier in the year. Look for places with activity beside the bass. Do birds swoop onto the water? This is a sign of insects present. Bass will feed on insects but the minnows and small fish do more. This draws in the bigger fish as they are curious about activity.
On lakes or ponds, the bass may suspend at certain depths. The deepwater might be too cold, contain toxins, or low oxygen content. The latter is due to plant matter decaying on the bottom. You will need to fish the depth the fish are suspending.
The fall is a great time for bass fishing. The air is cooling down but the water stays warm. In the Northern regions, the water is warm from mid-September to mid-November to catch bass. In the south, October through December offers good fishing. Recreational boating has died down giving you undisturbed fishing in many areas.
Bass will remain in the summer locations for a few weeks. When they notice the water beginning to cool it alerts them to feed heavily to prepare for winter. In the fall, bass put on a lot of weight to survive the winter period of little activity. Bass moves into the shallow areas during this time. The baitfish and other aquatic life that spawned during the summer are abundant. Bass knows the shallows hold a large amount of food.
On warmer days, the shallow water warms up a few degrees. Bass will move into the feeding areas in the late afternoon. On colder days, the shallows drop a few degrees. Bass will stay in deeper water but still feed. You need to work more areas to find fish. As an incentive, the fish have eaten all summer and are bigger and weigh more. This is the best time of the year to catch a trophy. The bigger bass tends to stay deeper in summer and come into the shallows in fall.
Bass fishing tips on the weather cover effects of the sunlight or lack of sun, wind, and changes in barometric pressure. All have a substantial influence on bass. Fish have a swim bladder that is used to maintain an upright position. Yet it alerts bass to changes in the weather also. Certain weather helps with catching bass, while some weather makes fishing tougher.
Bass do not like the sunlight found on clear days. You need cloud cover to reduce sunlight or the fish go into heavy cover or deep water. In mornings and evenings, bass do move into the shallows. The angle of the sun is shallow reflecting the majority of the rays that go deeper into the water. Cloud cover helps extend the time bass move into the shallow water. Fishing the shaded side of a waterway helps also.
Working with the Wind
The wind will help in a few ways. The ripples or small waves break the sunlight down also. A smooth surface lets more sun penetrate into the water. Wind directs baitfish towards shorelines. If you are on the shore have the wind blowing into you. On a boat have the wind blowing at your back. The wind pushes minnows and other aquatic life towards the shore. Bass follows the food towards the shore.
When the pressure drops the bass moves into deeper water. They are sensitive to the changes in barometric pressure. As an angler be aware at times the fish will not feed under changing pressures. A bass wants a stable environment. Any changes will have an effect on the behavior. The small changes are not an issue. Watch out for dramatic drops before storms or cold fronts.
Tips for bass fishing need to cover all aspects of tackle. People take several attitudes towards tackle. Some buy the cheapest available equipment. While others spend an excessive amount of money. There is a middle range that is adequate for the majority of people fishing. Understand the cheap equipment lacks performance. The high-end gear is for serious anglers and pros.
Rods and Reels
Targeting bass you need to buy the correct gear. The type of bass you go after can affect the choices. How you fish is also a factor. The line choices will vary on the type of cover you encounter when fishing. There is no one size or type that fits all situations in bass fishing. That said, a medium power rod is an all-around choice that will work in most situations.
The reel needs to have a level of quality not found in low-cost reels. You want a smooth drag and cranking reel. It must have adequate line capacity. Some reels have a lot of bearings. In some instances, more bearings are good. Yet slightly fewer bearings of high quality are better. Some manufacturers put cheap bearings on the handle knobs as a marketing gimmick. Do your research on the reel before buying.
Fishing Rods for Bass Fishing
The brand of the rod is not important. The power and sensitivity are what you need for performance in a rod. Targeting largemouth in the south a medium-heavy power rod is standard. Smallmouth anglers often go with medium-light or medium-power rods. The best way to choose is the lure rating and the size of the fish. In areas with larger fish go with a heavier power. If mostly smaller fish inhabit your region a lighter rod is better.
In general, fast action is the better choice for average anglers. The fast tip makes better hook sets, is more sensitive, and common on many fishing rods. Advanced anglers will add a moderate or moderate fast action rod for specific lures. Lures with treble hooks tend to be thrown by fish easier. The slower action helps keep the hooks pinned in the fish’s mouth.
Fishing rod Length
Rod length is a factor needing consideration, short rods offer accurate casting and longer rods provide more distance. Rods in the 6’6″ to 7′ 2″ range allow distance and accuracy adequate for most anglers. A long rod needs more room to cast. This is a problem on smaller boats and the shore often.
A higher-quality rod has more guides. Look at rods with at least one per foot on spinning rods. Casting rods will have one per foot plus 2 guides. A 7 feet spinning rod has eight guides and castings rods have ten or more in the length. The guides control the line while casting. Plus spread out the pressure throughout the blank for better performance.
Reels for bass Fishing
Contrary to what some people say you do not need a baitcast reel for bass. Baitcast reels do have a few advantages. They will last longer and retrieve with more cranking power. These are good for heavier lures or lures with higher resistance.
A spinning reel is better for finesse fishing and picking up slack line fast. Plus the reels are easier to use for inexperienced anglers. You have fewer problems with this type of reel.
Tips for bass fishing reels are helping to select the best option for you. A lot of people tend to be fans of a type or brand of the reel. You need to find the best fit for your style of fishing.
The major manufacturers make good spinning reels for bass fishing. The line retrieval rate is a key factor with spinning reels. The retrieval rate is from the gear ratio and spool size. Reels with equal ratios do not have the same retrieval rate. The spool size affects the rate also.
The bail needs to be smooth without any sharp or blocking of the line flow. Cheap reels use inadequate bails causing the line to catch. The low-quality reel has poor drags and inferior bearing too. The bearings and drag are the crucial elements for a smooth operating reel. Drags that hang up or slip easily will cause you to miss or lose fish. Cheap bearing leads to reel failure, stiff cranking, and overall poor performance.
That said, a decent to good quality reel is available for 60-100 dollars in the low-price range. The higher quality models run 100-200 dollars. Anglers fishing several times a week and longer hours will benefit from a higher quality reel.
Plan to spend at least 100 dollars if buying a baitcast reel. The reels below this price have poor or no braking, inferior drags, and bearings. You need decent to good braking on the reel. It helps to reduce backlashes. People buy reels for 50-60 dollars and have a lot of problems. The brakes do not control the spool speed.
The biggest issue with a baitcast reel is backlashing. This is caused by poor brakes, improper set-up, and bad casting techniques. Starting with a baitcast reel requires you to practice how to set up and cast with the reel. No shortcuts are using a baitcast reel, you need to learn.
A baitcast reel does perform better with certain lures and situations. The reel has more cranking power than a spinning reel. People using spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and fishing in heavy weeds will benefit from a baitcast reel. These reels work with lures weighing 1/4 ounce or heavier. If you are throwing a lot of lighter lures go with a spinning set-up.
This article covers general information on bass fishing tips. People tend to not prepare. Try preparing for an outing, it will lead to better success. Learn the waterways you fish, all waters are different. Understand the species of bass you are targeting. Each species has small differences affecting behaviors.
Throughout the year bass behaves differently and moves around. Learn the behaviors and habitats bass use each season. Weather influences behavior also. Keep track of weather influencing fishing success. Use the correct equipment when fishing. Struggling with the wrong rod or reel is wasting time.