Want to up your bass fishing game? Learn the basics of when to fish, where to fish, and what baits and lures will net you more catches.
Having the right fishing gear is essential. Knowing how to use your gear correctly is even more critical. However, all the best gear and tactics can garnish you zero results if you’re not focused on where you're fishing. There’s an old fishing adage that goes “90% of the fish are in 10% of the water.” My most frequently asked question always pertains to why people aren’t catching fish, and most of the time at the end of the day it’s because they’re just not where the bass are. The fish are not uniformly spread across a body of water aimlessly swimming around waiting for your bait to cross their face. Knowing where the fish should be and using available tools and environmental factors can get you on the fish faster and save you time fishing deserted waters.
Bass are predatory creatures. Largemouths will prefer to be where their sources of food are. They love structure, shade, grasses, weeds, etc. These locations provide cover and protection from any predators that may threaten the bass itself while also providing cooler shaded water that hides their presence from any baitfish or food sources they seek to eat. Baitfish and other sources of bass meals also use these types of cover in attempts to stay hidden. You’ll need to have lures/baits and fishing methods in your toolbox that allow you to get into and around these sources of cover. It can be difficult fishing amongst so many potential snags but the results will be highly worth it. Texas Rigged worms, weedless swimbaits, weedless flukes, brush hogs, and craws can all penetrate this cover with smaller chances of getting snagged. Once you find these fish in cover or weeds be prepared for a heavy fight. A 2lbs bass can easily feel like 7lbs once he wraps himself up in Lilly pads. Ensure your line is ready for that fight.
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If the bass decide to leave the comfort of their cover they may be on the move looking for sources of food. While on the water always take time to identify different environmental factors that could help with your locations and choices of lures. Shad and bluegill spawns are huge. They are dependent on water temperatures so timing will be different depending on your location. Look for these things to be happening between April and July, but more specifically once water temps reach the high 60’s. Spawns like this will drive bass crazy over the huge amounts of food. It’s a good bet to throw spinnerbaits or other flashy lures like silver spoons that will mimic a fleeing baitfish. Other environmental factors could be the presence of lizards, newts, grubs, minnows, crayfish, and frogs. These things are a great indication of what the bass may be eating and where they may be doing it. Birds of prey like cranes and egrets depend on finding fish to survive. They’re much better at finding fish than we are. Use them as indicators of life being present.
A Spawning bass population can be an incredibly rewarding fishing opportunity come early spring. The Bass will move out of their winter holes and look for shallow flats to lay their eggs and hold before returning to deeper water to recoup. During the dog days of heated summer, they may return to deeper cooler waters to escape the heat. In fall, bass will return with a flurry of activity in order to feed up for winter. Understanding these different habits and utilizing this knowledge when deciding where specifically to fish can make all the difference in your results for the day. Once you start getting bites, keep fishing in that area. Most of the time where there is one bass, there is more waiting. Topographical maps can be a massively helpful tool in understanding the structure of a body of water. If you’re looking for shallows around spawn time and before they return to deeper water from the heat or looking for deep pockets once they do make that move, a topographical map can be your best friend. For those of us without electronics, it may be our ONLY friend. For anyone using Fishbrain, an upgrade to the Pro Version will automatically provide you with Topographical Maps of every large body of water around you. Along with the depth charts, Pro will also give you access to exact catch locations on these bodies of water as well as highlighting the different areas via a “heat map” that demonstrates where you should be fishing at that time. With exact catch locations, the previously described Heat Map, as well as a fishing forecast that breaks down the best hours to go fishing by fish species, FIshBrain Pro is an incredible tool for every fisherman. When 90% of the fish are in 10% of the water, there aren’t many tools other than years of experience that will get you to that 10% quicker than FishBrain Pro.
This post was written by Pro Staff David Shaeffer. Follow him on Fishbrain and Instagram @SHIFTYUSMC
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