Fishing, Hunting, & Trapping
6 Valuable Bass Fishing Tips For Beginners
Do you want to try and catch some bass? Good on ya! Here are some bass fishing tips that can help you prepare and hook a bass.
Newbie Fisher Bass Fishing Tips
Bass Fishing Is Uniquely Special
Fishing for bass has been part of my life since I could hold a fishing rod. We have a framed picture of my late grandfather and a three-year-old me holding a monster bass.
He owned the largest hog farm in Southern Missouri and had plenty for farm ponds for us to fish. As you can imagine, I was grinning ear to ear in the picture.
Bass fishing has always been a fun and exciting way for us to bond as a family. My grandfather had a huge 12-pound bass mounted and hanging on his office wall, and I always wanted to catch one like that.
There have been lots of early mornings, late evenings, broken lines, and lures stuck in trees. I wouldn’t trade a second of it.
That being said, the successes and failures of bass fishing have been bittersweet. While I always enjoy spending time in nature, it is much more fun when you are actually catching something.
I had sporadic luck when I was younger but often went home empty-handed. Unfortunately, these days fishing for us is not just about fun and family.
It is also about putting food on the table. Any day I catch fish is a day I don’t need to pull anything out of the freezer.
The big corporate hog farms put many of the family-owned farms out of business long ago. Thankfully, we have a lake close by that we frequent.
It is always fun watching my son along with my little nieces and nephews bring in their first big one. However, there are lots of variables that can make or break your fishing trip.
In this article, I will cover all of the tips and tricks I have gathered over the years to help you catch a big one.
1. Know Where to Fish
Knowing where to fish is one of the first and most important decisions you can make. This applies to both the body of water you pick and also where in that body of water you cast.
You can find good bass populations in small ponds and in large lakes. The key is finding structures where fish might hide. This could be underground logs, big rocks, or lily pads.
Fish hide in these places both for protection and also to ambush their prey. On our lake, the only real structures are the lily pads you will find in little coves.
We typically fish from the shore and cast along the edges of these areas. Sometimes, I even cast over them and drag my lure through all the muck.
I have gotten pretty good at pulling loose from snags, so it doesn’t bother me much. I am also willing to wade out into the water to unsnag a monster if needed.
Much of this debris is found around the shallow water near the edges of a lake or pond. This is also where fish will be when it is cooler around dawn and dusk.
They often move to the deeper water in the center of the lake when it is really hot out. If you have access to a boat, the middle of the day is sometimes when you want to paddle out into the center.
You can also fish along the edges of the water casting towards the shore from a boat. This can give you a little more clear water to work with if snags are bothering you.
2. Play with Their Senses
Largemouth bass are voracious predators that operate largely on instinct. Even at times when fish are not interested in a meal, they cannot help themselves with the right incentive.
Most anglers focus on the appearance of lures, but there is so much more to a strike. Consider lures or live bait with lots of movement. This includes spinnerbaits, soft frogs, and my personal favorite… plastic worms.
Many years ago, I asked a good friend and good fisherman advice on what lures to use for bass. He said all he ever uses is dark-colored plastic worms. Also, live bait such as worms, crickets, and minnows create movement as they wriggle on the hook.
The taste or smell of your bait can attract fish, as well. Live bait always has a ‘scent’ that will attract fish.
However, many artificial lures now have that type of feature to increase the chances of that instinctive strike. You also have lures that create vibrations or sound.
One of our favorite lures growing up was topwater. We would cast it out and then pop it periodically to send out vibrations to the whole pond.
Spoons and spinnerbaits also create vibrations that could simulate a struggling baitfish. When you are stimulating the sight, smell, taste, and hearing of a fish you have much better odds than just focusing on sight.
3. Consider Lighter Gear
For most of my life, I used longer, thicker rods and thicker lines for catching bass. I never wanted to consider the possibility of getting a huge fish on the line and having inferior gear in my hand.
However, a few years back I tried out a lightweight rod with a spinner reel on bass. My intention was just to have fun as just about any sized fish feels like a monster on this rig. I realized a couple of other advantages.
With lighter gear, you can feel every little nibble on your line. This has helped me distinguish between a curious fish and an actual strike.
Also, I have found that I am less likely to pull the hook out of the fish’s mouth with lighter gear.
Finally, this rig has given me more control when bringing in the fish and when casting. I can land my lure in small windows, and I have been better at bringing in my fish without losing them.
4. When to Fish
Bass can be caught all year, especially if you put the lure right in the fish’s path. However, there are windows when fish will be more active.
I always love fishing for bass in the spring and early summer. This is when I seem to get the most action.
There is a window in mid-summer when fish are spawning and are less active. I try to avoid this time frame if possible.
You should also be wary of time frames when food sources are overwhelming.
There was a pond I fished for several years that would have a huge bullfrog hatch at the same time every year. It was a horrible time to fish.
You also must focus on the time of day. Fish are typically most active right after dawn and right before dusk.
This is when prey cannot see them, as well. It is also when they are less likely to see you on the shore or in your boat.
Be aware that wearing bright clothing or making noise will always scare away fish, but especially when the skies are clear and the sun is high.
Finally, the weather can be a huge factor in bass fishing success. Just before and after a storm are great times to fish. The low barometric pressure created by a storm will make the stomach of the fish expand.
This makes them feel hungry even if they just ate. Also, the rain will bring new food sources into the water. They will be out hunting for sure.
5. Be Patient
One of the biggest mistakes I made for years was getting too excited. When I got a strike or even a nibble, I would jerk the rod often pulling the lure away from the fish. This is the worst thing you can do.
When you feel a fish, just take a deep breath and give it a second. If you feel the fish still on the line or moving to the side, just give it a firm pull upwards. This should set the hook properly.
The other mistake I made was trying to reel in the fish as fast as possible. Often, this would cause the fish to get loose or to get tangled in debris.
Take your time and let the fish wear itself out. Think about deep-sea fishermen reeling in a 300-pound marlin or tuna.
They take their time and let the fish get tired or they would never get it any closer to the boat. They just work it in a little at a time.
For them, it could take hours. For the bass, you just need to give it a few minutes.
6. Be Ready for the Jump
Largemouth bass are aggressive and often like to jump out of the water to try and get loose from the hook. This is a lot of fun to watch but can let the fish go free if you aren’t careful.
Keep in mind what the fish is trying to accomplish. They have a tight line pulling them towards the shore, and they are attempting to violently shake against that tension.
Your natural instinct might be to keep the line tight or even to pull harder when they jump. Don’t do it.
The best thing you can do when a bass jumps is to give them just a little slack. As they approach the surface, you can just let the rod tip dip a second and stop reeling.
I also sometimes like to grab the line right above the reel with my left hand so I can time the slack perfectly.
I pull with my left hand before the jump and then let the line loosen up as the fish comes to the surface. Often, it doesn’t even have enough tension to get up out of the water.
7. Get a Good Net
For a long time, I fished without a net as you might do now. However, when you lose enough big fish within a few feet of the shore you may change your tune.
Bringing the fish out of the water by your line can cause the line to snap. Also, it gives the fish back that tension we talked about earlier.
This gives them another chance to shake loose. You will also undoubtedly get some fish caught in debris right along the shore. Your best bet is to get a good net and use it every time you bring in a fish.
I personally like our silicone net. Lures and fish don’t get tangled up as much as with fiber nets, and it does less damage to the scales of fish I wish to release.
What prompted our purchase was actually low water levels. We had a dry summer and the water line was several feet below our typical fishing spots.
We needed a long net to reach the fish if we didn’t want to go wading. I have also used the length of our net handle to reach over areas of moss and lily pads to avoid getting snagged.
A long handle has been much better. We bought one with a handle that extends out to about 10 feet when needed.
It is actually designed for crappie, but I like it better than other nets I have used for bass.
Test These Tips Out
Well, there it is. This is my collective knowledge of catching that monster bass. Just last week I brought in one that was at least six or seven pounds.
These tips have meant the difference between bringing home dinner when I get lucky and bringing home dinner the majority of the times I get a line wet. I hope it does the same for you.
Have you tried bass fishing before? What was your experience? Do share it with us in the comments section!
- Fishing Basics: What Equipment To Start With
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