18 of the Best Bass Fishing Tips That Stand the Test of Time

Today's outdoor periodicals and websites are full of articles expounding the virtues of new and advanced bass-fishing tips and tactics; yet few stories are printed for anglers who just want to learn the basics

18 of the Best Bass Fishing Tips That Stand the Test of Time
18 of the Best Bass Fishing Tips That Stand the Test of Time

The paragraphs that follow outlineproven tactics many have forgotten or never learned in the first place.

Revisit Hotspots

Remember the precise locationswhere you catch, lose or see big bass—the specific stump, the particular bush,etc. A return visit could turn up the lunker you missed, another trophy thatmoved in or a bass that grew bigger after you released it. Use a good lake mapor, better yet, a GPS unit, to mark hotspots in case memory fails.

Don’t Blow a Chance

Don’t lose the bass of a lifetimebecause of avoidable problems: the line was frayed or too light for conditions,the hooks didn’t hold, the drag was too loose or too tight, or the tackle wasinadequate. Regularly run your fishing line between your lips to check forfraying. Cut and retie if necessary. Use the heaviest line suitable forconditions. Use premium hooks, always needle sharp. Always set your dragproperly. Use quality rods and reels.

Set Your DragCorrectly

When setting the drag on your reel, remember you should alwaysdo so by pulling line off the end of the rod, not directly off the reel’sspool. That will give you the proper tension.


Avoid Crowds

Big bass become evasive whenpeople and boats are swarming. You’ll catch more if you fish when fewer folks areon the water—weekdays, in winter, at night, etc. Better yet, fish fertilebackcountry bass waters that seldom see other anglers.


Be Different

Are other anglers zigging? Maybeyou should zag. Fish become conditioned to certain lures and presentations, andyou may catch more lunkers by trying something unconventional—a big live shinerinstead of artificials, for example, or a new lure or presentation that hasn’tcaught on yet. Give a musky lure a try, or a big saltwater lure. Be openminded. Experiment.

Watch for Isolated Underwater Cover

Larger bass often use isolatedunderwater logs, treetops, etc. instead of visible cover pounded by moreanglers. The hotspots usually are near deeper water, where big bass can simplymove deeper when feeling threatened.

Go Live

Eliminating live bait from yourlist of options significantly reduces your chance of catching bass in somewaters, particularly lakes that receive heavy fishing pressure. Where legal,natural baits such as crayfish, shiners, frogs and waterdogs may enticelargemouths when all else fails. The bigger the bait, the better your chancesfor catching a trophy.

Which Size Worm?

The most popular plastic wormsizes are 4, 5, 6 and 7-1/2 inches, but much smaller and much larger versionsare also available. In most instances, smaller worms are used in clear or coldwater, or for more wary bass, and larger worms are used in murky water or whenthe angler is after really big fish. In places where bass have been poundeddaily with worms and other lures, switching to smaller sizes and lighter-testline will often do the trick. But in some cases, going the opposite way may beeven more productive.


Egg GobblerImitations

Plastic lizards and salamanders work best in spring whenbass come shallow to spawn. One reason is that bass regard salamanders as athreat to their eggs. Sometimes a bass will dart 6 or 8 feet away from its nestto hit a plastic lizard, even when a worm tossed into the nest draws only acursory response. Rig Texas style, and fish the lure slowly, as if the creatureis sneaking along the bottom like a predatory egg-gobbler. In summer, you canfish more actively, using a series of short hops around timber. Or rig themweightless to swim over the surface of weed beds.

Cast Into the Wind

When using topwater plugs or shallow-running lures,cast into the wind and retrieve in the direction the wind is blowing. Big bassare particularly attuned to the naturalness of a lure’s action, and thisretrieve better mimics moving baitfish pushed to the surface by predators.

Cast from Near orFar?

Bass may change positions within a particular piece of coverthroughout the day, a fact that should help you decide how close you need to beto your casting targets. For example, when the sun is high and bright, a bassmay move deep on the cover, and you’ll do better flipping a lure from nearby.But during low-light hours near dawn, it will move closer to the surface andsuspend where it’s easily spooked. That’s when you need to back off and makelonger casts.


Activate InactiveBass

When bass seem inactive, try zipping a lure past them at ahigh speed. This often triggers reaction strikes.

Bed Fishing Trick

If you can’t coax a strike from a bass seen finning over itsspawning bed, it may be because the fish can see you. Try this trick. Place astick in the water near the bed and leave the vicinity. Return later and cast tothe stick from a distance that won’t disturb the fish.

No Vibration CouldMean “Fish On!”

When fishing a spinnerbait, you should be able to feel theblade vibrating on the retrieve. If the vibrations stop, either you’ve pickedup some vegetation or there’s a fish hanging onto your lure. When in doubt,play it safe and set the hook.

Make A Wake

One excellent yet often overlooked method of fishingspinnerbaits is retrieving them just under the surface near dense, shallowcover. Begin the retrieve the instant the lure hits the water, hold the rod tipabove horizontal, and reel fast enough to keep the lure skimming an inch or sobeneath the surface. Strikes are often explosive.

Fishing TopwaterFrogs & Rats

Spinning tackle is superior for fishing most lightweight,floating plastic frogs and rats. Try casting to open spots amid lily pads or inweeds and allow the lure to sit on the water for a minute or so before swimmingit back in slow, short spurts. If the lure is rigged with a weedless hook, itcan be cast onto the pads and then pulled off and swum slowly between them. Keepyour rod tip pointed down, and make all retrieves slow and deliberate.

TipOffs

Jigs can be tipped with a variety ofattractors, including plastic eels, grubs and frogs; variously shaped pork-rindtrailers; and live bait such as minnows and small eels. This enhances the lure’sfish-catching ability under a wide array of conditions.

Catch and Release

Catch and release can increaseyour catch of giant bass. Every time you remove a big bass from the water, youreduce your chance of ever catching a bigger one. To catch a 10, release an 8.Today’s releases are tomorrow catches.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Tackle Test 2020: Eagle Claw EC2.5 Spinning Reel

Tackle Test 2020: Eagle Claw EC2.5 Spinning Reel

Tackle Test 2020: Eagle Claw EC2.5 Spinning Reel

Tactacam Fish-I Camera and Remote

Tactacam Fish-I Camera and Remote

Recording your fishing success is a one-button deal with Tactacam's FISH-I Camera and Remote. Tactacam's Ben Sterns shares insight on the camera system with In-Fisherman's Todd Ceisner as part of our 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

What

What's New with Abu Garcia Veritas Rods?

There are big changes to Abu Garcia's popular Veritas series of rods. Andrew Wheeler highlights the new features with In-Fisherman's Doug Stange as part of our 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

Daiwa J-Fluoro Samurai Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Daiwa J-Fluoro Samurai Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Pro angler Cody Meyer calls Daiwa's J-Fluoro Samurai the best fluorocarbon he's ever fished. Meyer spoke with In-Fisherman associate publisher Todd Ceisner as part of the 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

A quick look at offerings from SPRO for 2020-21. Baits & Lures

New from ICAST: Rattle Little John; Essential Series

Game & Fish Staff - July 13, 2020

A quick look at offerings from SPRO for 2020-21.

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Conservation & Politics

NSSF: Modern Sporting Rifles and Today's Voter

Larry Keane - July 20, 2020

Perspective from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time. Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

See More Trending Articles

More Fishing

Shad are a big part of the catfish angler's arsenal, as long as you can catch a few that is. Fishing How-To

How to Use Electronics to Catch Baitfish

Game & Fish Staff

Shad are a big part of the catfish angler's arsenal, as long as you can catch a few that is.

While anchoring up is a good way to catch summertime catfish, so too is floating the current line on a local river. Fishing How-To

How to Drift Rivers for Summertime Catfish

Game & Fish Staff

While anchoring up is a good way to catch summertime catfish, so too is floating the current...

Bobber rigs and spinners are simple ways to put more steelhead in your net this summer. Trout & Salmon

Bob 'N' Spin for Summer Steelheads

M.D. Johnson - July 31, 2020

Bobber rigs and spinners are simple ways to put more steelhead in your net this summer.

Summer playbook: Ready for a little summer fun the whole family can enjoy? Here are some of the West's top destinations for family fishing adventures. Playbook

Take Epic West Fishing Adventure Right Now

Scott Haugen - July 27, 2020

Summer playbook: Ready for a little summer fun the whole family can enjoy? Here are some of...

See More Fishing

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now