Bass Fishing Tips
Drop the Trout, Pick up the Bass
Bass are ambush predators, and they like to hide before they strike. Think about structure (the bottom contour of the waterbed) and cover (things to hide behind). Bass like to be near cover such as lily pads, cattails, trees, and thick clumps of algae, and structures such as creek channels, bridges, flats, humps, and submerged roads.
If your fly isn’t near somewhere the bass can hide, then they won’t bite.
Turn Up the Heat and Turn Down the Lights
Bass are more likely to bite in the early morning and late afternoon, especially in the early spring to summer, when the warm water encourages them into a heightened state of activity. Late afternoon is an ideal time to go fishing for largemouth bass feeding in the shallows. Bass tend to swim closer to the surface during the spring and summer months as well.
Mice, Frogs, and Ducklings
It’s a hot summer night and you haven’t eaten all morning or afternoon. Would you rather eat half a hamburger or an entire hamburger?
Bass are intelligent animals, and they can determine the size of a catch. Small lures may be more successful at catching smaller-mouthed fish, such as trout, but you’re fishing for bass!
Smallmouth bass like to eat crayfish, shad, perch, and minnows, while largemouth bass will gobble anything from frogs to mice to ducklings. Increase the size of your lure and you’ll attract larger fish.
Match Your Bait to the Menu
Imagine that you sit down at your favorite steakhouse and, instead of serving you your usual, your waiter serves you a plate of deep-fried frog legs. You can’t flag down the waiter and tell him that he’s got your order wrong. Would you eat the frog legs?
If you’ve seen frog legs before and you enjoyed them, then perhaps you would. But if you were expecting a medium rare sirloin steak, and you’ve never had frog legs before, you'd probably pass.
Bass are intelligent creatures. They are attracted to lures that resemble the prey that they’ve eaten before.
Open your eyes and ears. Do you hear crickets chirping or frogs croaking? Try baiting with crickets or frog lures. Do you see tiny, downy yellow and black feathers sticking out of the mud, or tiny swatches of dark brown fur? Try a duckling or mouse lure instead.
While it’s true that bass are opportunistic feeders and they can eat just about anything that’s unfortunate enough to fall into the water, they prefer something familiar.
Match your bait to the menu, and you’ll have the bass biting on your hook in no time.
Check Weather and Water Conditions
There are many fishing and weather apps that will provide you with weather and water conditions. Almost all advanced anglers keep detailed logs of their fishing trips. Here are a list of the minimum details you should be noting every time you go fishing:
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