There is the excitement that comes with watching the sunrise as you cast to the lake, awaiting a great catch. Bass fishing is one of the best sports in the country. Even beginners can have a great fishing experience if they take the time to learn essential bass fishing tips.
Why is Bass Fishing so Popular?
People often wonder why bass fishing is so popular while there are other game sports. There are basically so many reasons why anglers go for bass. For starters, bass can be found in almost every region or state in the country and they are fun to catch.
Secondly, bass fishing is more accessible than any other type of fishing. Look around you, and it won’t take long for you to recognize potential fishing spots for bass. Think of the inland lakes, streams, rivers, and creeks, all filled with a variety of bass fishes. You can do it from a boat, kayak, or bank.
Still, wondering why bass is the most sought after freshwater game fish? The thing about bass is it can grow quite big. For this reason, it’s not surprising that people find it to be a desirable game fish.
Also, bass fishing is popular since anyone can try it. Age and skill level don’t matter in bass fishing because everyone can learn and enjoy the sport. Time spent in nature, carefully watching for movements in the waters and casting is definitely suitable for any age. Similarly, any skill level is capable of having a successful fishing trip. The less experienced anglers can learn from the pros, and within no time, they will be just as good. On many occasions, I come across professional anglers, casual fishers, and beginners, all spending quality time catching bass.
What is the most suitable time of the year for bass fishing?
Bass fishing can be done all year long, but there are times when the fishing experience is better. What does this mean, though? There is nothing wrong with fishing in the dead winter, but the temperatures will be too low for you even to enjoy it. It’s usually recommended to go bass fishing when the temperatures are mild and the weather conditions suitable. Try to avoid extreme temperatures and the time when the weather is likely to change drastically.
Keep an eye out for spring
Many anglers take out their rods for bass fishing during the spring season. This is basically the best time of the year for bass fishing, and any serious angler will tell you the same. The fish are mostly occupied with spawning and its preparation, making them vulnerable and easy to catch. With that said, the fishing should start when the temperatures rise to at least 50 degrees Celsius and above. To technique to use will depend on the weather changes and the spawn progress.
This is the first phase of spawning and happens when the temperatures in the water reach somewhere close to 50 degrees. At this time, the bass move towards the shallow waters in preparation to reproduce. This is actually the right time for bass fishing since the fish will be busy moving from the deep cold waters to the shallower feeding areas.
The male bass (smaller) is the first to move into the spawning areas. They spend time clearing debris in a bid to create the spawning beds. On the other hand, the females wait closeby mostly in the areas where the water is a little deep. You might also locate the females in places with submerged grass close to a drop-off.
The fishing should occur at midday when the water temperatures are a bit high. Also, focus on the areas the fish might use as routes to the shallow waters. These can be drains or creek channels.
Next is the spawning. During the actual spawning, you will want to focus on the places where the fish are more likely to hide as they reproduce. Typically, the fish create ‘beds’ in the shallow waters under plenty of covers.
In the days leading to the spawn, nocturnal activity tends to increase. This is during the full moon, and there is definitely plenty of light to help the fish see well. You will find many of them moving to the shallow waters at night. Hence, you should consider fishing at night.
An experienced angler knows for sure the habits and behavior of bass. Naturally, their behavior tends to change with the seasons as well as the weather conditions. There is also the biology of the fish, which also determines its behavior. In this case, when the bass is spawning, they are incredibly aggressive. Therefore, they will quickly take the bait as soon as they spot it. Well, as a fisherman, there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of this.
Post-spawn is the period after the large females have completed depositing their eggs. This is the time the bass are preoccupied with feeding after a stressful spawn. The main food sources comprise of baitfish such as shad and bluegill.
In the post-spawn period, the water temperatures begin to rise steadily and can range between 70 to 80 degrees Celcius. As the high temperatures heat up the waters, bass begins the journey back to the deeper waters.
You can focus your fishing on the baitfish beds because this is where the bass will spend their time feeding. If you don’t find the fish there, try looking in the routes that lead into the deeper waters. The feeding mostly takes place in the early morning and late evening. You will have more luck bass fishing at dusk and dawn during the post-spawn season than any other time.
As the water temperatures hit the 80s, fishing comes alive, but things may not be as easy as you might have expected. For starters, the high temperatures heat up the waters, and this causes the amount of oxygen in the aquatic environment to lower. The fish will spread out in search of conducive places to comfortably feed and hang out.
So, where are you likely to find the fish? During the hot and sunny days, the fish will most likely stay in the deeper waters avoiding the scorching sun or the shallower oxygen-deprived waters. Though, they are also likely to hang out in the shallow water, especially if there is lots of oxygen-producing vegetation.
The right time to go out bass fishing during the summer is at dusk or dawn. This is the best time basically because the water will be colder. In the summer, the bass has high energy levels and can be found everywhere in the water busy feeding. Bass fishing in the early morning or late evening means that you don’t have to confine yourself to one area. Once the sun rises, and the water begins heating up, the fish move towards the water’s lower depths.
For most anglers, fishing during the day means focusing on the deeper waters where they are likely to stay as they avoid the hot sun. Another area to put your bait is in shallow water, which has oxygen-producing vegetation.
There will be adequate oxygen in the water, so the bass will find it favorable to gather there. Secondly, the vegetation provides shade and cover from the sun, making the area somewhat cooler than the surrounding. Also, be on the lookout for grasses or weeds near a drop-off. These are potential fish-holding areas.
Fall is another great season for bass fishing. There are so many reasons why you might want to consider catching bass during the fall season. For starters, this is when the water temperatures begin to cool down back to the 60s gradually. Fishing comes alive as the bass now concentrates on intense feeding in preparation for the long winter.
As the water temperatures drop, the bass moves out of the deep water and head into the shallower areas to feed. At this time, they feed mainly on baitfish, and therefore you might want to look for them where the baitfishes are likely to gather. Try looking in the green submerged vegetation (dying vegetation means less oxygen supply), wood or concrete structures such as bridges, and so on.
There is something else that is likely to impact your bass fishing patterns. Fall is typically the season when the water turnover occurs. What happens is the cold rains or the cold days, in general, tend to cool the water surfaces faster than the water at the bottom of the lake.
Since the water at the surface is cooler and denser, the warm water below is forced up in a turnover like movement. This helps to bring oxygen to the lower depths of the water, where it might be depleted. It’s also a way for the water bodies to normalize oxygen levels and water temperatures throughout the body.
The problem is the turnover might halt fishing opportunities in the water bodies. This is because it doesn’t occur in the entire water body at the same time. For this reason, there might be one spot with lots of basses and another one with nothing to catch. If you’re not finding anything, move to another spot and try again. Generally, a good time to fish bass during fall is in the afternoon or midday when the sun has warmed the shallow water a bit.
Bass fishing in winter can be quite challenging. Though this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It will only become more stringent for you to catch any fish if you decide to head out when the water temperatures are below 40 degrees or near freezing. That’s why it’s advisable to wait for the warmer days.
Bass are coldblooded, and this means they adapt to the temperatures within their surroundings. In the cold winter, the fish are slow and extremely lethargic. Their metabolism also goes down. While the bass will bite even in the cold, they are less active and will prefer to save that energy.
The fish tend to migrate to the deeper waters in winter because these are necessarily the warmest points. However, during the warm days, they move into shallow areas to feed. The right time to fish would be at midday when the water is warmer. This is when the bass is out in the shallow areas hunting for baitfish like shad or bluegill. Additionally, focus on the steep drop-offs since this offers a smooth transition from deep to shallow water.
Fishing in winter is tricky especially in the colder regions. But if you take time to fish slowly and with patience, you won’t miss a catch. Furthermore, closely watch the water heating patterns. It’s much better to fish on those days the water temperatures are rising gradually than when they are fluctuating from 45 to 30 or vice versa.
Where should I fish for bass?
This is a question many people who are just getting started on bass fishing often ask. It’s not enough to know you can fish in a lake, river, pond or dam. A serious angler should also be able to identify the particular spots where bass gathers or spend time feeding.
The truth is you won’t lack tutorials or articles online telling you this and that regarding where to fish for bass in the water. But remember the best advice for a beginner is to fish from the shore. Many anglers use the shoreline every other time, and you don’t even need a boat for that. With that said, there is a good reason why the coastline is a suitable fishing area.
Water bodies are not all the same. While bass naturally tends to hide under cover of submerged vegetation, some water bodies don’t have much in the middle. The fish will require a place where they can protect from their predators and a safe feeding place. These fish will mostly opt for the shore because this is where there’s lots of vegetation, tree stumps, docks, fallen logs, and so on. Besides, the big predator fish hover in the middle of the lake. Why would the bass stay there if they are supposed to hide from them?
However, bass fishing in the middle of the lake is not totally out of context. Indeed, there are some exceptions to the rule. If you must fish away from the shore, target the vegetation cover, especially the weeds and grass beds, big rocks, and fallen rocks. All these are potential hiding places. Also, cast around the areas you see baitfish or smaller fish hanging out. There is a high possibility bass are nearby or in the area feeding.
Here are the top recommendations of the best bass fishing spots in the U.S. Any of them is certainly worth your time.
While this lake may miss the popularity and charm of the others on the list, it still attracts thousands of visitors. Lake Havasu is located on the border between California and Arizona. It’s surrounded by beautiful scenery and calm waters for a great fishing experience. The types of bass likely found in the lake include the largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass. Though, according to the elite anglers, Lake Havasu is an excellent location for mainly smallmouth bass fishing.
While the opinions on the best bass fishing spots will vary from person to person, you can never go wrong with Falcon Lake. It’s an 83,654 acres lake located in Texas, and for decades many people had not yet discovered its usefulness in recreational fishing. It was not until recently when people began bass fishing in Falcon Lake. It’s now a popular spot for many anglers who need a solid shallow or deep water fishery.
Lake Champlain is a natural lake that straddles across the border between New York and Vermont. It’s considered to be among the most diverse bass fishery in North America. Besides all that, the anglers who choose to pick this lake as a location for their fishing trips always report having a productive experience. The mountain scenery in the surroundings makes every fishing trip a memorable one.
Sam Rayburn Reservoir
People will tell you a good bass fishing location is the one that is within your reach. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth, but the fact remains some locations are generally more productive when compared to others. Sam Rayburn Reservoir happens to be on the list of the most productive spots. You will never miss a good catch here regardless of whether you decide to fish in the shallow or deep areas. Rayburn has a whole lot of fish in it, and fishers of all skill levels can have a great experience.
If you’re looking for a shallow bass fishing lake, Lake Erie will do the trick. The lake is well-known for its large numbers of smallmouth bass. Many of the bass caught are found to weigh between 4 to 6 pounds. The good thing about fishing in Lake Erie is that the fish are widely distributed hence available both on the shoreline and in inshore. On that note, next time you plan on going for a fishing vacation, consider making a stop at this lake.
There is no doubt bass fishing is the most popular pastime on Toledo Bend. Anglers love this spot, and the main reason behind this is its abundance of various bass species. However, the largemouth bass holds the largest population at the reservoir. Regardless of your experience in fishing or skill level, you stand a chance of getting a good catch.
How to handle and treat the bass with respect
Let’s face it; most articles will teach you all the tricks and tips to catch bass but rarely how to handle it once found. The truth is fish are susceptible creatures, and bass are no exceptions. They can get injured without you even noticing it.
For this reason, anglers are always advised to handle the fish with respect and utmost care. This is very important for a fish that will be released back into the water. Bass are resilient creatures naturally armed to protect themselves from predators and microbes. For instance, all bass have super sharp gill plates and spiny dorsal fins. These can make safely handling the fish a bit difficult, especially for the uniformed people.
If you want to restrain a bass safely, gently insert a thumb into the mouth of the fish and use your forefinger to clump its lower jaw. It doesn’t all end here. The next thing to do is support the rest of its body with your other hand. Do not leave the fish’s body to hang as this will definitely cause unnecessary strain on its jaw.
In addition to their sharp gills, bass has a delicate slime coat that protects them from the many microbes and fungus in the water. When you put the fish on the ground, there is a high risk of partially destroying this coat. As a result, the fish might encounter problems after it’s returned to the water. Therefore, avoid putting the fish on the ground at all costs, especially if you intend to return it to the water.
Before casting, you must know how to safely remove a hook from the mouth of your caught bass. On many occasions, anglers have caught fish that still have old hooks in the mouth. This means some people actually release the bass back into the water without removing the hooks. Well, for starters, this is not the etiquette that’s required for handling fish. Another thing is that people fail to carry the right equipment in the tackle box when going on a fishing trip. If you don’t have a pair of pliers, it may be challenging to unhook the fish. With that said, every angler needs to learn how to remove a hook from the fish safely. It’s the least you can do on your part as a show of respect for wildlife.
Here are a few more rules for handling bass while fishing;
- Do not keep the fish out of the water for longer as it can only hold it’s breathing for a few minutes. The imperative thing to do is to avoid handling the fish for longer than you have to. Picture yourself in the same situation where you are deprived of air!
- It’s never advisable to hold fish through the gills. Use the instructions given above on how to hold and handle fish safely.
- Refrain from throwing lines, used lures, and other kinds of trash into the water or its surroundings. We should all aim at preserving the environment and wildlife at large. Ensure you have a receptacle to throw the trash in.
- Remember, safety comes first. Keep pfd and cell phone close.
- Handle the fish with care, especially when taking a photo alone. If you don’t have a fishing buddy, there is nothing wrong with that, but you’ll have to learn how to take photos by yourself. Hold a large fish by the mouth with the largest grip you can possibly get. It’s even better if you can use both hands with the other supporting the fish by its belly.
- Take quick photos and release the bass into the water as soon as you are done. Once you already have some excellent pictures, consider releasing the subsequent fish right away.
Bass Fishing Basics all Anglers need to know.
We have touched on a couple of topics including where to fish for bass, the right time of the year for bass fishing, bass fishing etiquette, and the appropriate gear to use. Everything we have talked about is utterly important, and you should remember it by heart. However, sometimes it does more good to get some knowledge and tips from successful and experienced anglers. Here are the essential bass fishing tips from the veteran anglers that you might want to know about;
Always find cover
Out of all the bass fishing tips out there, this is the most important and relevant one. You will never miss bass in place where there is the cover. These fish like to hide under various cover so that they can easily ambush prey or avoid predators. For this reason, anytime you are fishing, look for cover in the particular water body. Keep in mind that the cover comes in many forms, including rocks, grass, lily pads, tree stumps, boat docks, wood, fallen logs, and so much more.
Match what they eat
As I have mentioned earlier, bass is found in various locations across the state. This means they don’t all eat the same thing but rather adapt to feeding on what is in the environment around them. That’s why these fish generally have a broad diet and feed on many of the baitfish.
Pay close attention to what the bass in your area eats and match it with the lures you use. For instance, if the bass mainly feeds on shad, your best choice of lure would be a crankbait or swimbait. Doing this will definitely increase your chances of catching more bass.
Learn something new
For you to succeed as an angler, you have to be versatile. Always be willing and eager to learn something new. Practice new techniques, fish in new locations and teach yourself to adapt to different fishing conditions. With time, you will be a better angler because you’re learning continually and getting new skills or improving on what you already have. So don’t be afraid to go a little bit outside of your comfort zone. After, it will do you more good than bad.
Understand the relationship between weather conditions and bass fishing
If you’re a serious angler and you really want to catch some bass, pay close attention to the weather. The weather does have an effect on bass behavior as well as how an angler should fish. The first thing is to know precisely how the bass behaves during the various weather conditions. This is also discussed earlier in the article. If it’s a hot sunny fishing day, the bass are likely hiding under different covers such as grasses or rocks. Cloudy days mean bass are active and more likely to be hovering around the waters. They’re more exposed at this time.
The wind might work in your favor.
Casting on a windy day is no mean feat. With the wind passing through your face at high speed, even holding a boat in position could take some time. However, your patience and resilience might pay off more than expected. The wind aggravates bass to bite aggressively. Furthermore, when the wind disturbs the water surface, it’s harder for the bass to spake.
Red works like a charm
As any skillful angler will tell you, the key to catching bass is knowing and understanding its behavior and habits. Bass has this particular habit, which is to pick on other injured fish. Since they are savage feeders, they will eat almost anything that looks like an easy meal. In that case, if you’re having a hard time catching anything, go for a red-colored lure. For instance, a crankbait with some red hooks will easily fool the fish.
Ensure your hooks are sharp
A sharp hook can make quite a huge difference; you’ll be surprised. Get a file and sharpen your hooks before each fishing trip. A sharp hook is bound to penetrate the boney jaw of the bass easily. Keep in mind; this fish is well-known for putting up a fight. This means a blunt hook may not do a good job of catching it.
The American Sportfishing Association identifies about 60 million people like fishermen, and this number includes the adults with licenses as well as the license-exempt youngsters and seniors. This indicates one thing, and that is recreationally fishing cuts across all ethnic lines, age, gender, and so on. The passion for bass fishing seems to grow every other day, with more and more people taking it up as their favorite pastime.
The state and the local government understand people’s interest in recreational fishing. Thus, there are various measures to ensure the health and population of the bass in the water bodies across the country are properly managed. There are locations for bass fishing in each of the states except Alaska, which offers endless opportunities to the avid anglers.
How to find freshwater and other bass habitats
To tell you the truth, you will not lack a region in the continental U.S. with a freshwater body with at least one species of bass in it. Anglers can try their luck in the many lakes, rivers, ponds, streams dams, and so on. All these provide ample opportunities for bass fishing across the country.
The smallmouth and spotted bass mainly inhabit moving waters, notably the rivers and large creeks. On the other hand, the famous largemouth bass can be found in the still waters like ponds and lakes. If you are having trouble identifying water bodies that can be used for bass fishing, the best place to look is on the internet. For instance, Google maps will quickly help you locate fishing opportunities close to you. Another good alternative is to download the apps specially designed for that purpose.
More often than not, the bass is present in the water around you, including in places you wouldn’t think the fish can dwell. It’s usually a good idea for beginners to fish in a private pond or lake or any other kind of water access. This way, you don’t have to compete for space and fish with other anglers who flock the public parks, forest reserves, and other public water bodies. So if your neighbor owns a private pond, it won’t hurt to ask for permission.
Where Do the Bass Live?
If you have planned to catch up with a bass, you first need to know the place where it can be highly available. The really simple answer to this question is that they live near the cover that is located on the structure. You might be amazed if the two words that are covered and the structure which will be often used by the anglers to describe where to find bass on a lake or body of water. So you just need to know the difference between the cover and structure before starting a perfect bass fishing. The cover is known as the physical objects present in the lake such as stumps, docks, laydown trees, brush piles, vegetation, or even rocks, pebbles, or sand at the bottom of the lake. Structure means the physical contours of the bottom of you are fishing. This includes points, drop-offs, ledges, walls, jumps, or islands.
What do the Bass eat?
When you are going to catch the bass, you need to be aware of the things that it consumes. Generally, the bass will eat up everything that moves in the water. But still, the most common meals of the bass are smaller fish like shad, minnows, pan fish, and other creatures like crawdads, salamanders, and frogs. Though you might not realize it, the bass also likes to eat anything moving over their head like snakes, baby ducks, birds, and mice.
What Lures Should I Use for Bass Fishing?
Whenever you are out for bass fush6, you. must carry something such as attractant or any such things with you, to lure the bass. It is not a great deal to choose a particular one because all of them are just perfect to take with you. You can also opt simply a worm or any other used luring materials for the other fishes. Or you can also take some of the major lures such as crankbaits, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, swim jigs, swimbaits, or topwater. In this context, all you need is to be versatile.
How Does Water Temperature Affect Bass?
The place where a fish will survive also depends on the particular temperature. A fish will survive only in those places where the temperature is as per their comfort. This factor also majorly derives the presence of a fish so that you can estimate the exact place while fishing.
In the spring season, the north end of the lake has a tendency to warm up the fastest, where bass spawning cycles into gear first. This is what depicts that bass will move up shallow on the north end more quickly than the south end.
Thus, these were some of the best tips, you must know about bass fishing before they go for the first time. Because if you go with proper preparation, you do not need to bother while fishing.