Bass Fishing Tips: 13 Steps to Catching 13-pound Bass

Bass Fishing Tips: 13 Steps to Catching 13-pound Bass
Renee Linderoth of Conroe caught this largemouth bass from Lake Conroe. The fish was 25.125 inches long, 21 inches in girth and weighed 13.8 pounds. Courtesy Larry D. Hodge, © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

ATHENS -- Take a hint from the Boy Scouts: Be Prepared. Follow these 13 bass fishing tips on how to catch a 13-pound bass and you will be ready.

Every year Toyota ShareLunker program coordinator Juan Martinez talks to anglers still excited and shaking from the experience of landing a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass, and every year almost all the stories are the same: The person never expected to catch a bass that size and was unprepared to deal with it.

13 Steps to Catching a 13-pound Bass:

  1. Program the Toyota ShareLunker numbers into your cell phone NOW.
    Voice: (903) 681-0550. Pager: (888) 784-0600. Both are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the season, which runs October 1 through April 30. Be sure to include your area code if leaving a message. (And by the way: There is no need to call either number in the middle of the night just to see if they are working. They are.)

  2. Check your tackle and respool with fresh line, preferably braided.
    Big bass tend to hang out in the nastiest cover they can find and are quick to wrap your line around a tree. Chances are you are going to have to pull them out by brute strength.

  3. If you do not have an oxygenation system installed in your livewell, get one.
    Instructions on how to do it yourself can be found at http://www.slideshare.net/raminlandfish/livewell-oxygen-injection-8773301. Oxygenation is especially important during warm weather and tournaments, when bass may be held for several hours.

  4. Don’t have a livewell? You can use the information in step 3 to rig a large ice chest.
    Bass do not respond well to being dragged across a lake on a stringer. Remember that a 13-pound bass will probably be at least 24 inches long.

  5. Get a rubber net.
    These are much kinder to fish than nets with knotted construction. Abrasions make a fish more vulnerable to infections.

  6. Get a scale and check its accuracy using a known weight.
    (A five-pound sack of flour or sugar and a gallon of water in a plastic grocery bag should weigh about 13.5 pounds.) This can save much time and frustration trying to find a place to weigh a fish.

  7. Review the procedure for handling and caring for big bass
    at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/sharelunker/handle/.

  8. Know the locations of official ShareLunker weigh and holding stations
    (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/sharelunker/holding/). These places have certified scales for weighing your fish, a specially equipped tank for holding it, and personnel who have been trained by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fisheries biologists on how to care for big bass. Taking your fish to one of these stations, if one is nearby, is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to insure its survival.

  9. Expect to catch a lunker.
    Many lunkers are caught by people who just went fishing and did not expect to hook a trophy bass, and they didn’t have a net, or didn’t fill their livewell, or didn’t have a scale or know where to take a fish to have it weighed. Any time you fish in Texas, you have a chance to catch a 13-pound or bigger bass. Act like a Boy Scout. Expect the unexpected.

  10. Buy a fishing license and know the regulations for the body of water you fish.
    Some big bass have not been accepted into the ShareLunker program because they were not legally caught. The first thing the TPWD employee does when picking up a fish is check the condition of the fish. The second is to ask to see your fishing license. Have one.

  11. It’s best to use a rubber net to land a fish, but if you must lip it, take care not to suspend the fish’s weight from its jaw.
    This can break the jaw and make it impossible for the fish to feed. Grip the fish’s mouth firmly with one hand and its tail with the other, and handle it as little as possible to avoid damaging its protective slime coat.

  12. Treat the fish with respect after catching it.
    Quickly take photos of yourself with the fish, and then leave it alone. Don’t let others handle the fish and have their picture taken with it. It’s your fish. You want it to live to go back into the lake. The process starts with you.

  13. Go fishing!

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mustad

Mustad's Inkvader Octopus Live Jig

From big fish to small, just about any saltwater game fish out there will love the new Mustad Inkvader Octopus Live Jig that Mustad's Russ Whisler shows to OSG's Lynn Burkhead.

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

Multiple time FLW Costa winner Jessi Mizell is no stranger to catching big Florida bass on a popping frog. As he tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, with the new 13 Fishing Omen Black baitcasting rod, the job just got easier.

MLF BPT angler and former Classic champ Casey Ashley has been with Costa del Mar sunglasses his whole career. At ICAST 2019, he shows OSG writer Lynn Burkhead some new products and talks how to pick the right lens color for the water.

As KVD tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, innovative Humminbird products and cutting-edge technology like that found in the new Mega 360 Imaging sonar are major reasons contributing to his unparalleled success.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers. Other Freshwater

3 Deadly Bait Rigs For Stripers

J.B. Kasper - April 21, 2005

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers.

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures? Other Freshwater

5 Great Lures For Bluegills

Stephen D. Carpenteri - March 10, 2011

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?

 A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest.

Although the art Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

A 7 pound giant taken on a jig during the pre-spawn transistion in the Midwest. Although...

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies can be profound, even when fishing the same lake or river. Catfish

How to Catch Catfish Day and Night

Terry Madewell - April 04, 2018

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies...

See More Trending Articles

More Fishing How-To

Winter walleyes gather in deep river pools and eddies. Here's how to put them in the livewell. Walleye

Deep Secrets for Cold-Weather Walleyes

Jeff Knapp - March 11, 2020

Winter walleyes gather in deep river pools and eddies. Here's how to put them in the livewell.

Look to the lakes for marauding schools of trophy-sized brown trout. Trout & Salmon

Big Browns in Big Water

Gary Lewis - December 16, 2019

Look to the lakes for marauding schools of trophy-sized brown trout.

Slow things down for lethargic river smallmouths and reservoir largemouths. Bass

Jerkbaits & Heavy Metal for Early-Winter Bass

Dr. Jason Halfen - December 02, 2019

Slow things down for lethargic river smallmouths and reservoir largemouths.

Noisy spoons, spinners and lipless cranks call in late-winter crappies in open water. Panfish

Get Loud for Late-Winter Crappies

Keith Sutton - February 26, 2020

Noisy spoons, spinners and lipless cranks call in late-winter crappies in open water.

See More Fishing How-To

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.