Bass fish are one of the most sought-after catches for anglers, but let’s face it, fishing for bass can be tough. Not only do you need the right equipment, but you'll need to know where to locate them and then try to get the bite. This guide will help you learn various bass fishing tips and tricks for catching all types of bass for all seasons and common locations.
What Do I Need For Bass Fishing? (Must Have Equipment & Setup)
Rods and reels
A solid spinning or baitcasting rod and reel is recommended for bass fishing. Luckily for you, there’s a ton to choose from for all budgets. If you’re a beginner angler, buying a combo will take the time and effort out of matching up a rod and reel separately. The pairing is left to the manufacturer, making it easier for you to avoid making poor tackle decisions. Otherwise, we recommend buying a rod with a power rating of medium-medium heavy. And, the action should be fast or extra fast for bass fishing. For more information and to check out some of our reviews, see our guide on the best bass rods and reels to narrow down your search.
The next thing you’ll need for bass fishing is some good lures and baits. Bass are most attracted to brightly colored baits in muddy waterways and light, subtle colors in clear water. The most popular lure by far are bass jigs, thanks to their versatility in coloring and use. Whether you want to flip, skip, or pitch them, they’ll do it effectively. Another reason bass jigs are the best lure is that they can get big bass to bite, more so than most other lures. If you’ve got some plastic worms in your tackle box, they’ll work well, too. Plastic worms move in a very lifelike manner underwater. This causes the bass to bite and hold on longer.
Hooks, sinkers, and terminal tackle
To complete your rig, you’ll need to pick up some terminal tackle before heading to the water. These include anything like snaps, blades, pegs, hooks, and sinkers. This gear is considered the nuts and bolts of bass-fishing tackle, and without them, you’ll be lost. Sinkers (also known as weights) can range in weight from 1/64 ounces up to 2 ounces. Choose a lighter weight for shallower waterways and heavier weights to penetrate deeper water. For hooks, a lot of experienced anglers use drop-shot hooks or Texas rigging hooks. Your hooks heavily depend on your lure and line as well as your fishing environment.
Once you have got all of your gear, it’s important to keep everything safe. Having a portable tackle storage kit is one of the essentials on our list, as too many anglers lose good gear from dropping them into the water. Don’t let your fishing trip get cut short by losing your bass tackle before you even get a bite. Many manufacturers have created nylon bags or plastic tackle boxes with dividers and pouches so you can keep everything separated. Another pro of a portable tackle storage kit is that you can see everything easily when you are in a hurry.
How Do You Know Where To Fish For Bass?
1. Catching bass in ponds
There are a lot of pond bass fishing tips to get you started. The first tip is to use the correct lure. As ponds have shallow waterways, we find topwater lures are a great and fun option. Shallow crankbaits are a great alternative, and any type of weedless spoons work well, too. For pond fishing for bass, head out just after springtime for the best results.
2. Catching bass in rivers
Fortunately for you, most rivers hold plenty of bass fish like striped and largemouth species. We recommend finding a large, slow-moving river with clear water. This is the preferred environment for these species. To get a catch, a good tip is to fish during their pre-spawn in early spring when water temperatures are around 55 to 65 degrees.
3. Catching bass in cold waters
Many anglers come home empty-handed when they venture out bass fishing in cold, harsh winters. The biggest reason for this is because they continue to use their summer tackle during the winter. Once the temperature dips below 40 degrees, you’ll need to downsize your baits and move slower. Most bass’ bodies adjust to the temperature of the waters they are in. This slows down their metabolism and dramatically reduces their energy levels. Moving heavy baits at a fast pace just won’t cut it.
How To Catch Bass (6 Bass Fishing Tips From A Pro Angler)
1. Finding the bass
At least 75 percent of catching bass is all about finding the right spots. Look for areas with weed beds or around docks. They also hang around entrances to shallow coves and areas with trees, logs, and rocks. Most bass species (like striped bass, largemouth, and smallmouth bass) prefer dark and muddy waterways with a lot of vegetation. Whereas largemouth bass can be found in clear and deeper waterways in hot months.
2. Use the correct bait
Depending on your environment, choose a bait that’s suitable for bass fish. For clear and deep water, use a sinker with either a Carolina or football jig. In shallow muddy waterways, it’s often best to use worms and flutter spoons. Some largemouth bass anglers will use live baits to catch their prey. In this case, we recommend shiners, minnows, and shads. Largemouth bass are carnivorous, so live baits will work a treat.
3. Become a versatile angler
One of the most valuable tips we can give you is to be versatile. This includes more versatility with your baits, hooks, and even your fishing rod and reel. Try different methods to boost your confidence when you’re by the various bodies of water. With some time and practice, the change you make could become the predominant way to catch more bass in that specific season or environment.
4. Be aware of the weather conditions and how it affects bass
Knowing how weather conditions affect bass fishing can seriously improve your fishing abilities. If you don’t experience much action after a front or heavy storm, don’t worry, it’s not you nor your equipment lagging. Once the barometric pressure increases after these conditions, bass tend to slow down and not be as aggressive. They use less energy to move around and bite when the water pressure and barometer are low. You can fish for bass in windy conditions as the windbreaks the surface of the water. This casts shadows on your baits. Use soft plastics and sinkers or crankbaits, and spinnerbaits for windy conditions.
5. Know the water temperature
Knowing the water temperature will allow you to target the species of bass easier. Smallmouth bass prefers warm water with temperatures between 68- 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Whereas largemouth bass can tolerate waterways as cold as 30 degrees, but they won't be found in shallow waters, unlike hot summer days. In spring, bass spawn in waters from 55 to 80 degrees so they can adapt and tolerate a range of 25-degrees. That’s why so many anglers love to fish for them.
6. Do your research and be persistent!
It’s a common feeling for beginner bass anglers to feel excited about their trip, yet it slips away as they come home without a catch. Don’t let unproductive days get you down. You can boost your nautical know-how with new technologies and apps to help you on your next fishing adventure. Fishfinders are a great way to locate fish, and apps like Master Depth Calculator can determine the depth of water you’re fishing in. These new technologies will help you to stay motivated. Remember, persistence is key to learning, and continuing to learn will snag you a trophy bass.
Bonus Seasonal Bass Fishing (Tips & Tricks To Get Bass Fast)
Bass Summer Fishing
In the summer months, the best time to catch bass is a couple of hours before dawn or just before dusk. These ‘golden hours’ are when bass are feeding and moving the most. Bass tend to enter a period of inactivity during the hottest part of the day but with some finesse fishing techniques. They can still be caught. Use a smaller jig or drop shot your way to a catch when the temperatures are at their highest.
Bass Spring Fishing
Bass fish feed heavily during spring as they’re either about to spawn, or just after spawning. It’s the best season to fish for bass. The water temperatures are at their most comfortable during this period. During pre-spawn (when the water is below 60 degrees), we recommend topwater presentations on calm, clear water. During spawn season, a suspending stick bait lure will catch bass effectively. The lure's shape imitates a predator fish, so spawning bass will attack and not be able to spit it out (unlike small worms or tube baits).
Bass Winter Fishing
For winter fishing, bass will leave shallow spawning areas and move to deeper water. If you’re aware of the spawning areas from springtime, the bass are usually in the deepest sockets of water closeby. Using jigging spoons or blade baits in vertical or horizontal presentations will work best in winter. Their vibrations throughout the water will get a bass’s attention. As we mentioned earlier, 40-50 degrees in water temperature will slow down a bass’s metabolism, yet they are still prone to bite. Temperatures below 30 will be challenging for even the most experienced anglers.
Bass Fall Fishing
After long and hot days in summer, fall proves to be a great time to fish for bass. The water temperature drops, and there’s a lot of cover from the clouds, so bass swim more freely almost all day long. To catch bass in the fall, we recommend using a fishing kayak to get near lakes and ponds where they meet running bodies of water like rivers and creeks. This is where bass will linger in search of their favorite prey, shad, and crawfish. If you’re fishing from land, look for areas with a lot of rocks or green weeds as there’s more foliage here.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
How can I get better at bass fishing?
The best way to improve your bass fishing skills is to try new techniques and methods. As you can see from our guide, different weather and seasons influence your tackle and gear tremendously. By continually changing from your go-to’s to suit your location and weather conditions, you’ll soon become a better, more versatile bass fisherman.
Where are the best locations around the world to catch bass?
Luckily for you, some of the best locations are right here in the US. From Thousand Islands in New York to the Clear Lake in California, there are numerous lakes, rivers, and ponds to fish for bass.
What kind of line do you use for a drop shot?
As the drop shot rig is a finesse technique, you’ll need to use a light line with low visibility. Most anglers will stick with a fluorocarbon line, but we like to use lighter braided lines to reduce the risk of the line breaking. If you choose a braided line, be sure to add a 2-foot fluorocarbon leader to the presentation.
What colors attract largemouth bass?
Due to largemouth bass’s cellular eye composition, they can predominantly see two colors- green and red. Select baits in these colors if you choose to target largemouth bass.
Can you catch bass at night?
Yes! At night, bass fish leave deep bodies of water and will venture into shallow waterways to hunt. Drop-off points, shallow ditches, and channel bends are all perfect night fishing locations.
Now that you’ve got all of our tips and tricks for bass fishing, it’s time to put them to the test. Mastering the basics with real-life practice will get you from a beginner to an experienced bass angler in no time at all. Above all, prioritize having fun, and there won’t be any such thing as a bad day bass fishing.