Ask the pros and they’ll tell you that bass fishing is an art form. They spend countless hours on the water perfecting their skills, trying new things, and failing! But that’s what makes them pros.
You may be reading this and think, “I don’t have years to perfect my craft.” Well, you don’t need years because you can easily learn from the best. We’ve curated a list of 14 tips that expert fishers use to win tournaments and catch the best game.
Bass fishing tips for beginners
Go to where the fish are
Sounds simple enough right? Often, the simple things are always the most effective ones. When fishing for bass, a great approach is to find some sort of cover on the body of water because bass love to hang out there. Cover, in this case, may be a rock, dock, lily pads or some grass. These objects help the bass stay hidden so they are more likely to gather there en mass.
Listen to the weather
The best bass fishers know how futile it is to try and resist the weather when fishing. If it’s windy, you should adapt to those conditions and try to cover as much water as possible. Adapt your technique as well by using reaction bait like spinnerbait. On the other hand, you’ll want to find a nice place to settle in fair weather, and whip out your Texas rig.
How warm is the water
The temperature of the water influences bass activity, and it should influence your technique as well. One helpful tip to keep in mind is, use slow bait in cool temperatures because you need to match the bass’ activity level. In warm water, you can use faster, more aggressive bait. With enough experience, you’ll realise that there are techniques to catch bass even in cold or warm water, but these tips are a great start.
Master as much as you can
You need to be able to do everything and get comfortable with different kinds of equipment and environments. If you are not comfortable with the best baitcasting reel, grab some shimano reels and hit the water. Practice until you develop the confidence and technique to fish effectively. You never know when you’ll be in a situation where your regular method is ineffective.
But don’t do too much
This may sound like conflicting advice, but you don’t want to take on too many skills at once. Pros recommend picking about four baits that you have some proficiency with and developing as much as you can. Once you’re good enough, you can take on some more to ensure you have a rounded education.
Pay attention to the little things
Little things can make a big difference in most sports, and bass fishing is no different. For example, if your plastic worms get shredded, don’t throw them out. Bass have an instinctive tendency to attack wounded prey so that could draw them in. You should also keep your hook sharp by taking a minute or two to file them down.
Make sure you hook right
While we’re on the subject of hooks, you want to make sure you have the right hooks for the job. If you’re flipping, a wide gap hook is a terrible idea. You’ll have better success when working with a plastic jerk bait. You also need the right sharpness because bass have bony jaws and your hook needs to penetrate, otherwise you lose the catch.
Feed your bass
Everyone knows that you need bait to catch fish, but pros take it one step further by feeding the bass exactly what they need. These fish have a diverse diet and their food of choice often varies between locations. It’s important to know this because it tells you the most effective bait to use. For example, if the bass feed on small minnows, small bait should be your preference.
Learn how to tie a proper knot
You’re not going to catch anything without a proper knot. The problem is that tying a knot on the water can be an absolute nightmare, especially if you’re trying to do it quickly. Pros advise that you pick a knot type that you’re comfortable with and practice until you can tie it in your sleep. Once you develop that muscle memory, no unsteady body of water can knock you off your groove.
Find shallow waters in the spring
Not many people know this, but bass prefer shallow waters in the springtime. They are more likely to gather in coves and pockets to hide from the wind and protect their eggs. Go where they are and they’ll bite your bait out of pure spite and displeasure.
Practice your accuracy
One thing that separates pro fishers from beginners is their accuracy. They know how to cast their lure onto the right spot that’s been identified through exhaustive research. It doesn’t matter the kind of rod they use or the angle they cast from. As we’ve seen, bass love cover, so you’ll often need some dexterity to reach them where they are. Practising accuracy can help you become better in this part of the job.
Fish, especially bass, have remarkable hearing. Even though they are underwater, these fishes spook easily so you want to keep noises to a minimum. Plus, sound travels up to four times faster in water, with higher decibels and remarkable penetration. So while fishing, try not to bang on the boat or knock the paddle.
Keep your line taut
A slack line can injure your fish or cost you the catch altogether. That’s because you don’t realise immediately the bass bites your bait, making it more likely to swallow the hook. If this happens, the fish probably won’t make it. In another scenario, the bass will bite the bait and take off, realise that it’s not real and spit it out before you get the chance to reel it in.
As with any other endeavour, you need persistence to find any real success. If you find a location or line that works for you, dedicate some time to it even if you don’t see any immediate success. Bass can be quite stubborn and you often need to tap a couple of times to get them to bite.
Featured image: Clay LeConey/Unsplash