Whether you compete in bass fishing tournaments or just want to enjoy some quiet time on the water with your kids, bass can be very unpredictable when it comes to their feeding habits and hangouts.
No matter your skill level, you’ll catch more picture-worthy bass by using the right fishing techniques and equipment.
Here’s how to catch more bass any time of year.
Learn the Seasonal Habits of Bass
In the spring and summer, bass are more predictable as they feed closer to shore in the early morning and then swim out to open water later in the day.
Bass also spawn in the spring, which means you need to alter your fishing approach based on the spawning cycle phases:
- Pre-spawn. Fish at a depth of 8 to 15 feet, or often deeper depending on the lake.
- Spawn. Fish within shallow water spawning beds.
- Post-spawn. Resume fishing at depths between 8 and 15 feet, or often deeper depending on the lake.
During the late spring, fish closer to the shore and around fixed structures like logs and piers. When it’s cooler in the fall, bass feed sporadically and mostly hit bait within their strike zone.
Adjust for Fishing Times and Terrains
Since bass feed closer to shore when it’s cooler in the morning and then swim out to open water later in the day, fish at deeper depths starting around late afternoon or in shaded areas under trees and piers.
In general, some of the favorite fishing hot spots for bass include weedy areas, near fallen trees, docks, shallow flats, creek feeder beds, and rocky bottoms.
Use the Right Bass Fishing Lures
Based on time of day, water temperature and terrain, now it’s time to choose your bait.
Crankbaits give you lots of water coverage and move more effortlessly through light vegetation, along shallow flats and rocky bottoms. In deeper water lipless crankbaits deliver a lot of sinking action, while lipped crankbaits work better at shallower depths.
A highly versatile lipless crankbait like the Backstabber Lipless Stabber will perform well in water depths from 1 to 50 feet. In shallower water, speed up your retrieval rate. When casting into deeper water, reel in the lure more slowly. A higher pound line will also keep the lure from diving too deep. Crankbaits like the Lipless Stabber also negotiate weeds and rock beds without much effort.
When stalking bass in shallower waters, pairing a lipped crankbait like the Backstabber Squarebill with a 10 lb. line should do the trick. A crankbait’s shape will alter its movement, notably when fishing in colder or warmer water. And the more rounded your crankbait is, the wider the wobble.
Spinner baits are designed to dive and retrieve quickly, making them valuable on windy or cloudy days when it’s hard to get a reaction out of the fish. Use slower spinner baits in cloudy water and faster lures when the water’s clear. Cast out closer to you at first so that you won’t spook your prey, and then start casting out a little farther each time.
Because of its blade design, a spinner like the Reaction Strike Bow Spin is for shallower depths and faster retrievals, while the RS Spin works better at deeper depths, or while working around stumps, rocks and piers.
A topwater lure like the Castaic Cowboy Topwater is designed for shallow water or in areas with a lot of surface vegetation. When paired with a 4 to 20 lb. fishing line, a topwater lure will create a rippling effect in the water while popping and splashing as you reel it in.
The more water “noise”, the more likely you’ll be to attract a bass’s attention. Bright topwater lures work best in the spring and early summer, while darker colors attract more prey during the fall and winter.
If you want to “aggravate” the bass into biting, work a popper lure like the Revolution Frog Popper around docks, stumps and rocks. Poppers are also good for fishing in creeks.
Because of their plastic skirting, jigs work year-around when using a short-range flipping and pitching casting technique. Since bass like to hunt “falling” prey, let your bait sit on the bottom for a few seconds and then give the rod tip a small twitch.
Find the Best Bass Fishing Rod
You’ll also need to pair your bait with a fishing rod that’s the right length and weight. The lighter the rod, the more sensitive it is. A shorter rod will give you more casting accuracy, while a longer rod will provide greater casting distance, more power when setting the hook, and optimal reeling leverage once the hook’s set.
Here’s how to choose your rod:
- Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits: Use a lightweight, 6 1/2 to 7-foot rod with medium action and a medium soft tip. These rods also work well for bass fishing with a buzzbait like the Castaic Atlas Buzzbait.
- Crankbaits: Go with a lightweight, 6 to 7-foot rod with a medium action tip or a light action tip depending on the weight of your lure.
- Jigs: Use a more sensitive, lightweight rod that’s 6 1/2 to 7-feet in length with a medium tip and medium action.
If you’re looking for a lightweight 100% carbon fiber bass fishing rod that’s both sensitive and tough enough to land scale-tipping fish, check out the affordable Trophy Series from Bulldawg Rods.
There you have it — all the basic bass fishing tips that you’ll need to land picture-worthy fish all year long. Enjoy fishing!