Bass fishing is one of my favorite fish to catch because there is a lot of interaction when fishing. You don’t just have to throw your bait out in the water and let it sit until a fish decides to swim up and eat it. Because bass fishing requires more interaction, there is also a lot more you can do to help your chances of catching a whopper. Take a look at the 14 different tips for catching bass, and your bass fishing is going to go off the chart.
1. Bait, Bait, Bait
Most of us out there like to have a variety in our meals, so we don’t always like to eat Tacos all week long. We like tacos, and spaghetti, chicken, or whatever you like to dine on, and so do fish. Fish are both smart, and a little weird at the same time in that they don’t always like to bite on the same thing twice. If you really want to up your chances of catching a bass, you need to make sure you have a few different varieties of bait.
If you are using worms, take a few different colors with you, and try one out for 20 or 30 casts and see if you get a bite. If you are getting nothing, change it up and try a different colored worm.
If you are using crank or swim baits, and you just aren’t feeling the bite, try a different one or switch to a different setup. Don’t be afraid to take a few minutes to tie something new on.
Top water lures can be a lot of fun, but if you are throwing one out there, and nothing is happening for a long period of time, stop! Look around and see if you see any fishing jumping to eat bugs. If you see nothing, switch to a swim or crank bait.
Bass can be very picky on what they want to eat, and wont go after just anything unless they are very hungry. When fishing for bass, you need to be prepared to change baits often or you might go home empty handed.
2. Spawn Timing
It is very important that you watch what time of year it is when you want to fish for bass. Usually after winter, the bass will tend to move up to shallow waters in the spring, and will come up and eat, which is good for us! Keep in mind though, that a cold spell could send them back down to deeper water, so we want to make sure that the weather is done being unpredictable (as much as we can).
Once They come up and feed, it will be time for them to spawn, and the males will move up first. After that, the females will move up and start making the beds, and then the spawning will begin. Keep these tips in mind when you are fishing at spawn time.
Fish don’t normally eat at spawn time, they have filled up before the spawning after winter.
If you want to catch them, you need to twitch right over the bed, which will make them want to attack the bait.
If you are in a boat, move over the spawn beds, and then circle back about 10 to 15 mins later when they have settled.
Use a little bit heavier weight for the twitch so its more noticeable and will anger the bass.
Switch up your baits if they aren’t biting on just one. Keep changing it up to something they might want to attack.
Fishing during the spawn can be aggravating because most of the time you can see the fish, but they just wont bite. You really want to anger the bass into wanting to kill your bait and not eat it. Try different techniques to disturb the bed, and get them moving, but if you do catch a bass on the spawn, please let it go so it can finish its spawning and we will have more bass to catch next year!
3. Watch The Wind
The wind can play some pretty heavy tricks on fishing, especially when it comes to bass. When it is super windy, top water lures might be harder for bass to see if the water is choppy, and making tons of waves. A good idea might be to switch to a crank bait, or spinner bait instead of a torpedo, or popper. The wind can also be very good because it really churns up the bottom and can make it murky for the bass, which is what they like.
Bass like to be covered and not out in plain site, so this murky water will help us in catching them. It will also usually mean the “strike zone” will move further out, so the bass are more likely to chase our bait, rather than having to pull it right over their noses.
4. Look For Boils
When you are out fishing on a lake or pond, you want to keep your eye out for boils in the water. Bass love to eat shad, so if you are ever out there fishing, you might come across an area where you can see shad “boiling” near the top of the water, and sometimes even jumping. This is going to be a good indication that there are bass nearby and are going to be ripe for the picking.
When you see this happen, try to throw your bait out past the boils, and drag it through. This will cause the bass to look at your bait while circling the shad to eat, and with any luck they will strike your bait and not the shad. It might be a good idea to use a shad lure, or shad colored worm while twitching so they think it is something they are already chasing.
5. All About Rigs
When it comes to bass fishing, there are a bunch of different rigging options for your bait. I really like the drop shot rig and the whacky rig, but have tried them all with some very good success. here are the top 4 rigs I use:
- Texas Rig: This rigging involves you to hook the plastic worm at the nose, and then run it up to the top of the hook, and then run the hook through the middle of your worm. The weight is placed on the very end of the hook where the knot is, and stays there. That way you can pull it through the weeds, and not get stuck.
- Carolina Rig: This rig is similar to the Texas rig in that you you still hook the plastic worm the same way, but your sinker is not attached right up to the end of the hook, but instead can can move freely for a few feet, and it will slide up and down the line.
- Drop Shot Rig: My favorite rigging by far, and is one I use every time I bass fish. This involves putting the hook higher up on the line, and leaving about a foot or two extra at the end, and putting your sinker on it. This give your worm the ability to float about 2 feet off the bottom and will make it look like your plastic is swimming instead of dragging it across the ground.
- Whacky Rig: This is another one I love, and I usually just use a senko worm so no weights are required. This one is is where you put your plastic on side and the worm will sit horizontally on the hook making like almost wing like features of the hook. That way when you are pulling both ends of the worm will flutter like wings underwater and will sink back to the bottom.
6. Slow It Down
When fishing for bass, it can become quite frustrating when you are out for a few hours, without a single bite, so you will tend to reel in faster, and not really taking the time to twitch the bait like it should. Remember to take a deep breath and watch what you are doing with the bait, don’t forget to slow it down, and take your time. You really want the fish to think its a real worm moving through the water, and it especially helps for it to look injured.
If I am using a twitch technique that doesn’t seem to be working, I will slow my twitch down, and take my time. If I am twitching too fast, I will slow it way down, and maybe let the bait sit there for a few seconds as I count in my head and then twitch it again. Don’t be afraid to try a new technique, or possibly even move on to another spot for 10 or 15 minutes and come back. Never be afraid to change things up to make that bass want to eat your bait.
7. Look for Debri
I have caught a lot of big bass around areas of debri, and it is really something that you will want to look for when fishing. Bass love cover and feel more relaxed when hiding and can’t be seen. Even though for us anglers, weeds can be infuriating, it is where those bass love to hide, waiting to strike something just a few feet out swimming or crawling along the bottom.
Here are few ideal spots to look for when fishing for bass:
- Downed Trees and Stumps: Look for trees that have fallen in the water and are sticking out. Bass will love to hide in the branches underneath the surface that they would like to be hiding in. Be very careful when fishing around these areas because they can snag your line quick!
- Boat Docks: Boat docks, and the pillars around them can be one of the best places to fish for bass. The dock itself gives cover to the bass, and the pillars are excellent hiding spots for them to be in. If you can get out there by boat it is best, but if you are shore fishing, try to stand away from the dock like 20 or more feet and cast into it.
- Man Made: Some lakes or ponds may have things like cinder blocks, or used Christmas trees thrown in them. If you are fishing somewhere with clear water, look for stuff like that where a bass will want to hide and throw near it, but not on top of it, and see if you can get a bass to swim out a few feet to eat your bait. Bass will leave the cover of protection to strike at bait.
- Weed Line: In lakes and ponds, there may be a section where a line of weeds will grow. It will be clear water on shore, then a 5 to 10 feet line of weed, and then back to open water again. Try casting out over the weed line and pulling it through, but go with a weedless system, or you are going to catch nothing but green stuff.
Look for these things, and anything else that might be a great hiding place for bass, and I can assure you there will be some whoppers in there. Always be careful about where you toss your line though, or you could get it snagged, and lose your whole rigging.
8. Do Your Homework
Whenever I am looking at fishing somewhere, I will always scout the location first. You would be surprised at how much information you can get on a quick search of the lake you might be wanting to go to. If you are fishing a smaller pond, maybe do a Google search of something like “Bass fishing around X” and see what you can come up with. Here are some of the things I find:
- Fish Facts: You can learn a lot about the local fishing and different types of fish in the area with a quick Google search. You may find species of fish that you didn’t even know were around there.
- Baits: Most anglers wont keep what they are using for bait as a secret, and some websites about towns or cities you want to visit will tell you what type of bait they are eating.
- Weather: This is one of the biggest things you can learn about a place you want to go. Learn the local weather, and if there are any unpredictable months were rain or snow might happen. This will save your fishing trip!
- Trophies: When it comes to people who love to fish, they usually are not shy about showing off their record setter fish, I know I am not. People are proud of big fish they may have caught, so check out the websites and see if there might still be a 12 pound bass in that area.
9. It’s All In the Twitch
Make sure you switch up your twitching style every once in awhile, because bass are not that stupid. If you like to twitch the rod at an angle, but are not getting any bites at all, try with the rod straight up, or at the opposite angle and make that bait look like its really alive and hurt moving through the water. It’s good to have a few different techniques to keep the bass guessing.
10. Check Your Weather
Checking the weather is one of the biggest things I can stress to anyone when planning a fishing day, or trip. Check the local weather at least a week or two prior, and watch it every day, or every other day leading up to fishing. Nothing is worse than planning a day or just getting up and wanting to go only to find out when you get there and there is snow on the ground, or it’s raining cats and dogs.
11. Know your Knots
When you first start bass fishing, I think its good to do some searches on different knots, or ask some fishing buddies what types of knots they tie. Different rigging setups will require different knot tying, and are not always the same for bass as they are for trout. The last thing you want to have happen is a knot to come loose while you have a whopper of a bass on. Having a hook stuck in their mouth hurts them more than you losing your hook.
12. On the Move
Move, move, move! If you are not getting a bite, MOVE… If you are standing there for two hours, and haven’t caught anything, or gotten a bite, it might be best to move 30 to 50 yards away, and try a different spot. Walking around your lake or pond is a good idea anyway because you might walk around a corner and find a nice stump, or boat dock to fish by, and that is where you might find a huge bass lurking. Unless you are landing them over and over again in the same spot, it is a good idea to take a walk.
13. Fun Times
Have FUN! Always remember why you are out there fishing for bass. Even if you want to catch the county record largemouth, you are still out there to have fun and relax, otherwise you would be doing something else with your free time. Don’t get to frustrated, slow down and remember to have FUN!
When I started bass fishing, I had neighbors and friends that helped me out a lot when learning the right baits, casting techniques, and knot tying, so I was a very lucky person and learned a lot of good, and bad stuff. Take these tips and find out what works for you, even if you are the most experienced angler, I know that I learn knew things all the time that help me. Always check your weather, and do a little digging about where you want to fish before you go, and try new techniques. I guarantee this will help you land more bass.