Love fishing? Of course you do. There’s nothing more fun than going fishing for one of the most popular game fish in North America – the Bass. There are a few different types off Bass out there. You can easily find the Smallmouth, Choctaw, Guadalupe, Spotted, Striped, and White bass but the most popular of all Bass fish is the Largemouth Bass.
If you’re wondering ‘how to catch bass’? Don’t be embarrassed! Even the best of best fishermen often asks, ‘how to catch bass’ and let me assure you that you’re not alone in the boat.
The Art of Bass Fishing
Method 1 of 3: Choosing the Right Equipment
- Choosing the right lure is your first step toward your next big catch. You have three main choices when it comes to enticing that ever popular bass to bite your hook – crank baits, spinner baits, and plastic worms. No one is better than the other. It all comes down to preference. The main thing you need to consider when choosing your lure is color. A good best practice is to have two of each of these lures in your tackle box, one in a natural color and one in vibrant color. Luckily, the art of bass fishing allows for options.
- Crank bait: These are smaller and made to look like small, live fish. There are two three-point hooks on each lure; one under the belly and one on the tail. These lures also have a flat plastic area on the lip, perfect fit for your hook. Among my favorites are the Jackall Boil Trigger and the Rapala Ultra Light Crank.
- Spinner bait: This one has two main parts, the arm and the blades. The arm has large, curved pieces of metal called blades. There can be one blade or multiple blades. The other arm is the same length with a hook on the end. The spinner bait arms can be shaped like a fish, which can make it look similar to the crank fish. Even though there are a few similarities, the big difference between the two lures is that the crank bait has two three-pronged hooks and a lip while the spinner bait has one hook and blades. The hook is sometimes covered in a plastic wig that hides the hook or hooks. I find the Panther Martin or the Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner Minnow lures work well.
- Plastic worms: These lures, as their names suggests, look like large earthworms and have a hook embedded in them. The bass are hooked once they try to eat the worm. These lures are effective but do require a bit of patience.
- Use live bait: If you don’t want to use lures, you can always use live bait. The most prominent types of live bait for bass fishing include worms, minnows, and crawfish. Worms are easy to keep and transport and you can store them in the refrigerator in dirt, assuming you don’t use all of your bait during your fishing trip. Minnows and crawfish are harder to handle because you have to keep them in a bucket with water while you fish. You may also use frogs, salamanders, and insects as your live bait.
- Minnows: The best kind of minnows for bass fishing are shiner and creek minnows.
- Pick a reel. There are two main types of reels used in bass fishing, a spinning reel, also known as an open-faced reel or a spin cast reel, known as a closed-faced reel. The main difference between these two types of reels is the level of expertise needed. The closed-face reel is great for beginners since it doesn’t require any advanced movements or knowledge. The open-faced reel needs more dexterity to maneuver, but equally effective.
- The spinning reel is a fixed spool with the line exposed. This reel uses a 4 to 12 pound test line and moves the handle between the right and left sides. It allows for easy casting but requires that the line be stopped by hand. To do this, cast out your line. To stop the line, flip the metal lever over the top of the spool and hold the line with your finger.
- The spin cast reel is also rated for use with a 4 to 12 pound test line but will also work with up to a 20 pound line. This reel is simple to cast by holding down the button on the front of the reel and then releasing it as you cast your line. Once you’ve established your line placement, gently rotate the handle to re-engage the locking mechanism on the reel.
- The test line rating is the maximum weight the line will hold. The range of weight can be as little as a few pounds all the way up to fifty pounds.
- Each reel has a corresponding rod of the same name that is meant to be used together. If you are hoping to catch a larger bass, you will need to use a rod with medium to medium light power. If you are looking for smaller bass, then you will need a rod with light power. The “power” rating on a rod denotes the weight capacity and that rating is usually printed on the side of each rod. Ratings are listed as light, medium, or medium light. They can also be seen as a number, from one to ten.
Method 2 of 3: Choosing When and Where to Fish
- Choose the right season. If you’re scratching your head and asking yourself ‘how to catch bass’, chances are you’re fishing off-season. The best time of year for bass fishing is pre-spawn, which begins in early Spring and generally lasts for the entire season. This is the time of year when the fish are waking up from being dormant all winter. It also marks the beginning of their mating season. As the water temperatures start to rise to 55 or 60 degrees, the bass start to make their way through the waters and intermingle with each other. Because these fish have been mostly dormant during the colder months, they tend to be aggressive and angry this time of year.
- During pre-spawn season, you will be able to spot bass closer to the shore and the surface, making them a little easier to catch.
- You can fish for bass all year long, but the best time is during the spring months.
- If you happen to hook a female bass during this period, let her go so she can nest and reproduce.
- Use a map. Find a map that marks the depths of the different areas of the water and any drop offs under the surface of the water. Don’t ask, ‘how to catch bass’ rather ask ‘where is the bass?’. Bass like to lie near the bottom of the water in non-peak seasons. Using a map that shows the depths of the body of water in which you are fishing will be essential. It might also detail where you should find those underwater structures where bass like to hide.
- Maps are available online for most bodies of water. Check with your state or regional parks for more information.
- Start at the right time of day. The best time of day to catch bass is in the early morning hours or at the end of the day. Try to settle in at your fishing spot about an hour before sunrise or an hour before sunset. Bass are more active at these times of day because the sun isn’t too high overhead. If you choose to go fishing during the middle of the day, make sure to look for bass in shaded areas, away from direct sunlight. Bass then to avoid areas of extreme light and heat.
- You can get bass to bite in the afternoon in open water but usually only if it is cloudy or if the water is muddy enough to shield the sun.
- Take cover. Bass like to be near objects, vegetation, or obstructions in the water, such as a stump or tree that has fallen into the water. Coverage can even be as close in proximity as boat docks or bridge posts. As you cast, make sure that you do so around lower hanging tree limbs or in large patches of weeds. Bass like the constant cover provided by these types of vegetation.
- Be mindful as you cast your line toward these targets as there is always a chance that you may get your lure or hook stuck. If you do, you could lose your hook or your lure, which could be costly. However, the risk is worth the reward because you can be assured that you’ll find bass in these areas.
Method 3 of 3: Learning Techniques to Catch Bass
- Crank bait: Crank bait attracts bass because these lures look like an injured or weak fish in the water. This ultimately causes the bass to strike out and bite your hook. To use your crank bait, attached your lure on your fishing line. Cast your line out into the lake or river near a structure and let the lure sink to the bottom. Once you feel the line settle, gently pull back on your rod then start to reel in your line. As you pull back your rod you should feel the lure glide through the water. This will cause some resistance in your pole. Once you’ve reached this point, slowly level out your pole and stop reeling the line. This technique will allow the lure to rise in the water. Keep repeating these steps until your lure reaches the surface. Once you’ve reached the surface, cast your line again and repeat until you’ve caught your bass. ‘
- Once you feel your bass tug on your line, gently pull back on the pole. This will force the hook into the bass’s lip. This is called setting the hook. Once you accomplish this, you can safely reel in your catch.
- If you are fishing in a still body of water like a lake or a pond, make sure you pull your rod even and steady as you reel in your bait. Conversely, if the water is choppy or moving, such as a river, alternate between pulling and reeling your line fast and slow.
- You might also try making your line and lure simulate movements that are as realistic as possible. You want the bass to think the lure is real.
- Spinner bait: The method for using spinner bait is similar to that of crank bait. The main difference is in reeling in your line. As you pull your pole back, you don’t have to reel in your line. Hold your pole firm as you pull the line, gliding it through the water, and then slowly let your pole back down. This constant motion will cause your lure to move through the water, producing noise, and upsetting the water around the lure. The bright, spinning blades on these lures attract the bass and pulls them toward your lure.
- This method can be more difficult and more time consuming because the bass often bite at the blades instead of the hook.
- Plastic worms: This lure is much simpler than the other lures – put the plastic worm on your hook, cast out your line, and let the worm sink to the bottom. Instead of pulling your rod, you can simply reel in your line at alternating speeds. Since real worms are slow and still, there is no need to jerk your line like you would with the other lures. Remember, the art of bass fishing takes time to perfect.
- A good tip to remember is to put a weight on your worm so it sinks to the bottom once you cast your line. If the plastic worm is left without weight, it will stay too close to the top of the water and not attract the bass.
- Live bait: The best technique for using live bait is to constantly move it around with your line. The bait you put on your hook is dead or nearly dead. Bass are highly attracted to live prey. To mimic live fish, worms, or frogs, you should constantly move your line while it’s in the water. Movement can be accomplished through reeling it in or slowly moving your pole back and forth to make it look like the bait appear as if it is moving naturally.
Remember, while bass is one of the most popular fish in North America, the art of bass fishing takes time to perfect. Be patient, and when someone asks you, “How to Catch Bass?” by now, you should be able to answer the question as well.