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Bass Fishing - Winning Tips

Updated on August 24, 2015

Bass fishing is presently the most popular freshwater sport in America. The most famous bass fishing enthusiast is perhaps former President Franklin Roosevelt. It has been said that without President Roosevelt and the many dams that he built, many bass fishing events that exist today could not have been possible.

bass fishing

The first formal bass fishing tournament was conceived by Ray Scott in March 1967 while he was watching basketball in his motel room. His bass fishing guidelines are still used in today’s bass fishing tournaments all over the world. The winner of the first tournament was Stan Sloan, who won a trip to Acapulco and prize money worth $2,000. Since then, many new tournaments have been introduced, and the sport of bass fishing has grown to become a symbol of the Great American Pastime.

Statistics show that 90% of the bass caught are caught by the upper 10% of bass fishing pros. So what are the techniques that make these pros so successful? Basically, bass fishing is something that everybody can excel in, with due patience and experience. However, if you want to join the ranks of the pros, you have to know the techniques they use to reel in a bass fishing trophy.

Know Your Bass Behavior during winter

Bass are cold blooded animals. They lower their metabolism during winter when the water temperature drops to about 500 Fahrenheit. When their metabolism is low, they don’t eat that much, so you should use small baits with subtle colors. Bass are more active at temperatures about 68 – 780 Fahrenheit; therefore, fishing in these water temperatures usually puts more bass in your live hole.

Bass knows the water temperature difference up to one tenth of a degree. You can find bass at the depth of about 10+ feet during late fall and early winter, so you want to target that depth to catch your bass. But during mid winter to late winter, the oxygen level of the water at 10+ feet is mostly depleted, forcing the bass to stay within 10 feet of water; so you want to adjust your depth for this change. Bass knows when a cold front is coming and tries to eat as much as they can before it comes, thus it’s not unusual to get more bites during these times.

spotted bass

Where to find your Bass

You can find bass where there is considerable amount of vegetation because vegetation provides them shade, food, and oxygen to survive. Vegetation gives them cover to ambush their preys and hide from predators. You should fish along the ridge where the sun is shining because the shade provided by trees along the water edges makes it conducive for bass to hang out. Examples of good vegetation are flooded timber, water plants, weed lines, and the like. Near deep water vegetation is the picture perfect vacation spot for your coveted bass. If you want to get to where the bass are, don’t hesitate to go into the weeds and risk getting a few in your hook because it is there that you will find the most bass. If you can’t find any vegetation, look for some structure, like a rock, a fallen log or anything that is not flat water bed. Any structure is better than nothing at all.

Find Your Bass Anytime Of the Day

During early hours of the morning and late hours of the day, you will find your bass in shallow waters preparing to start its day or winding down for the night. Bass can be found in the undergrowth, underwater vegetation, weed lines, or any form of cover during these hours. As the day progresses, you want to cast down your sinkers and proceed into deep water edges where your bass transits between swallow water and deep water.

striped bass

Know Which Bait To Use

In general, bass strikes on a variety of baits. When bass is in an inactive mood in low temperature water, jigs with a good trailer are the best to attract a bite. Use lighter jigs with light color in clear water, and use heavier jigs with darker colors in deeper murky water, about 3/8 to 5/8 ounce should be enough. When fishing during the early morning or late evening, topwater baits are most suitable. The rule of thumb as to what color bait to use is to match it with the dominant color of the bottom dwelling baits in the area; for example, chrome is best used in reservoirs to match the color of the alewives and the shads usually used as baitfish in these water. Crankbaits are used where there are large rocks, logs, gravel, and drop-offs. Used mostly by professionals, crankbaits have good sinking action as you slowly crank in the line. Bass are attracted to the cranking of the bait that creates the illusion of an escaping prey and they will quickly grab it and get hooked.

Spinning reel parts

1: Pick up or bail 2: Reel seat 3: Reel foot 4: Handle 5: Support arm 6: Anti-reverse lever 7: Skirted spool 8: Fishing line 9: Drag adjustment knob
1: Pick up or bail 2: Reel seat 3: Reel foot 4: Handle 5: Support arm 6: Anti-reverse lever 7: Skirted spool 8: Fishing line 9: Drag adjustment knob

Know Your Reel

There are basically three types of reels used in bass fishing, namely, baitcasting reels, spinning reels, and spin cast reels. If your aim is more lure control, then baitcasting reel is for you. It can withstand lines pull of up to 10 pounds or more. It has braking features that prevent backlash, which is known to occur with this type of reel. Controlling the spool revolution through your thumb is crucial to master the power of this reel, which is not at all difficult to do after a few attempts. The spinning reel is best to handle lines weighing up to 10 pounds, and it is best known for its backlash free ability. But spinning reels have a tendency to twist and tangle the line during casting, and the longer it stays in the reel, the higher the tendency of it twisting. One technique to avoid twist is to soak your line in water overnight before using. To achieve that smooth landing of your lure when using this reel, gently press your index finger against the line as it unwinds to slow it down for a perfect landing. Popular among advanced anglers, spincast reels are slightly more expensive compared to other reels. But don’t be afraid to invest in a good reel if it means tangle-free, smooth casting, and just good fun in the water.

Know your Rod

Use a rod that you feel comfortable handling. Some people prefer heavy rods while others prefer lighter ones. The rule of thumb here is, whatever works best for you, go for it. Try to match the length of your rod with your height because generally, higher rods bring more stress to shorter individuals. When fishing around thick weeds, use a heavy action rod to give you more leverage to maneuver the fish away from obstacles.

Document Every Activity

At the end of the day, you want to look back at the factors that gave you that trophy or sent you home disappointed. To do that, you will need to document every technique you employed, the topography of the lake, the time of the catch, the bait you used, etc. Be imaginative and include all the information you can think of that contributed to the outcome of the tournament.

Enjoy What You Do

Basically, in bass fishing as in all things, you must enjoy what you do in order that you can excel in it. After all, part of the purpose of joining a bass fishing tournament is to have a blast while indulging in your favorite pastime. A bass fishing tournament will give you a unique euphoria that is quite unlike anything else. Enjoy it while it lasts.

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    • cjmo75 profile image

      cjmo75 7 years ago from Tempe, Arizona

      Great Hub! Lots of informative tips. I really learned a lot. Great job!

    • Michael Shane profile image

      Michael Shane 7 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

      Very informative hub! Great Job & Tips!

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

      Julie-Ann Amos 9 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it

    • profile image

      Wes 9 years ago

      great article for a biginner fisherman.