Bass Fishing is an all-year activity, suitable for rivers, lakes and reservoirs across the nation. To maximize success at bass fishing, choosing appropriate baits and equipment for each season is vitally important to success.
At this time of year, bass become more active, which presents an ideal opportunity to fish them with moving lures in deep water.
Pick a Reel for Bass Fishing
When selecting the ideal reel for bass fishing, many factors need to be taken into consideration. First and foremost is choosing one that can catch fish yet is small enough for your rod. Line capacity also plays a critical role; choose a reel with capacity between 6-12 pounds test monofilament or fluorocarbon line capacity.
Make sure your reel offers an easy-to-use handle that won’t take up too much room in your pocket, and is fitted with a smooth drag mechanism so that the line can smoothly exit when necessary.
Consider gear ratio when selecting your reel; crankbait fishing requires having one that will allow for long casts without slow retrieval times.
Spool size should also be taken into consideration when selecting a reel, especially if you plan to throw large baits like swimbaits and glide baits. To accommodate more line, choose a reel that has at least 300 to 400 inches in diameter spool spool for optimal fishing success.
Consideration should also be given to the brake system when choosing a reel, and there are two primary types available – centrifugal and magnetic. Some reels offer adjustable brake settings via dials located on their sides.
After considering your desired front or rear drag reel type, the next step will be choosing between them. Anglers tend to favor front drag reels because they make setting the drag easier.
Once you’ve chosen a reel type for bass fishing, it’s time to begin shopping. There is an assortment of reel options available and hopefully one that meets all your specifications will give you success on the water.
Pick a Bait for Bass Fishing
When selecting the appropriate bait, several factors should be taken into account, including color, size and action. You should also take into account where and when you plan to fish.
When bass fishing in clear water, select lures that closely resemble natural prey items to “match-the-hatch.” This technique is essential to creating effective lure selection; for instance, in lakes populated with pre-spawn crawfish or bays filled with fall shad, using chrome or shad-colored lures will likely prove most productive.
If your lake is clouded by algae or nutrients like weeds, grass or dead leaves, select lures that reflect this murk to allow bass an opportunity to see them and strike. This will give them time to detect your lure before attacking it.
An effective technique for spring bass fishing is using plastic worms on drop-shot or shaky heads with drop-shot shots or drop shots rigged low in the water as this allows it to slowly sink back down, pausing in its path as it gradually sinks further down. They’re often considered one of the top choices.
Jigbaits are also an effective early season lure, often being fished along docks or rocks in shallower water environments.
Jigs are also an ideal choice in windy or cloudy conditions, covering an ample area while being easily reeled up for deeper depths as needed.
Crankbaits are another effective lure for spring bass fishing and come in various shapes, sizes and weights to meet every situation. However, their use requires skill to properly present them to fish. Not suitable in all conditions
Spinnerbaits can also make an excellent early season bass fishing option as they mimic various forage items like shad, sunfish, perch and bluegills.
Finesse worms are an adaptable bait that can be fished on various rigs to effectively target bass in sunny flats.
If the wind picks up while bass fishing in spring, pay attention to where bass are moving – tall vertical structures or large rocks that offer protection may become increasingly attractive to bass.
Bass are opportunistic feeders and ambush predators, making finding adequate cover essential to their survival. Such cover may take the form of weeds, grass, paddocks, docks or any other structure which provides shade to provide shelter and ambush opportunities as prey swim by.
As temperatures heat up in summer, many bass will gather in shaded spots to cool off as temperatures rise. Fishing these areas early morning or late evening gives you the best chance at capturing big, healthy bass.
Many lakes feature riprap, an artificial cover produced when rocks or other material is placed along shorelines to reduce erosion and provide habitat for fish. Riprap can be fished using various lures and baits including wacky rigs, shaky heads, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and soft plastics.
Standing timber, log laydowns, stumps and similar forms of submerged wood provide excellent cover for bass fishing. These locations allow anglers to target them using various tactics.
Finding these types of cover can be tricky in new lakes, so it is essential to bear a few key things in mind when fishing this kind of cover.
Start by searching for distinct edges. Beginning from the outside inward is best; look out for points, creek channels, grass or trees that stand out among their surroundings and are conspicuously different than others in their coverage.
As you progress further into the area, make a point of searching for any subsurface deviations such as humps that differ from their surroundings. These features typically contain thicker cover where bass may be waiting patiently for prey to pass by.
Cover that contains current should be fished with slow-moving baits such as Texas-rigged worms, jigs or squarebills designed to bounce and deflect off of cover; alternatively you may employ moving baits if fishing humpbacks.
Spring Bass fishing on the California Delta (2023)
Practice Makes Perfect with Bass Fishing
No matter the goal – be it catching some bass on your next fishing trip or honing your skills in bass fishing – practice is key to success. When it comes to bass fishing tournaments and competitive events, practice should mean practicing techniques you will use in those environments.
One way to ensure that your fishing skills are up to standard is to practice with various rod and reel combinations, especially if you’re new to the sport. Doing this can help quickly develop new strategies.
For example, when fishing with a lipless crankbait you can jig it faster than usual to imitate the up and down movement of a dying shad or crayfish – this action will attract bass more likely than usual to strike at your bait!
As another example, make sure that you rig your lure properly. Make sure that the hook is securely set, free from debris or weeds and ready for action before heading out onto the water. If unsure, ask a friend for advice or consult a local guide beforehand.
As you develop and practice a specific technique, its efficiency and effectiveness will increase when used for real. This is particularly true for hand-eye coordination skills such as pitching or flipping bait.
Work on these skills over many days, weeks, or months until they feel natural and intuitive to you. Once that occurs, use them in any situation you encounter!
Cast often and target bass; the more often you cast, the higher your chance is of landing your bait on the surface and attracting fish.
When fishing grass beds near rock outcroppings, using a lipless crankbait to jig across the top can make an irresistible offer to bass. Doing this will cause it to escape from its grasp and look attractive to them.