If you want to learn how to catch bass you’ll join the ranks of thousands of North Americans who consider this their favorite gamefish. Bass, in particular the largemouth bass, are aggressive, but you can use different methods to catch them. In fact you can use all kinds of artificial lures such as stickbaits, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinners, spoons, etc.
Bass go after lures even if they’re not feeding, a sign of how aggressive they are, and they’re found in most rivers and lakes in North America. If you’re into catch and release, you can let them go by holding onto their lower jaw firmly, as it keeps them from moving. A typical bass weighs 2 lbs. though 20 lb. bass have been caught before.
Tackle for Bass
This will depend on the method you’re going to use. At one end are those that use a 50 lb. braid baitcasting rod and a 30 lb. leader, and on the other end are those who use a spinning rod and a 4 pound test. For something in-between you can try a 6 lb. test, though if the fish are aggressive you’ll want the bass fishing lures as well as a 20 lb. leader with a 30 lb. braid.
What Techniques Should be Used?
There are a lot of bass fishing techniques that can be used, but you don’t need to learn them all as for the most part lizards, worms and drop shotting will do. These methods require you to suspend a plastic lure over a weight and you do this with a drop shot knot which you either drop down or cast out, allowing it to jiggle up and down before settling.
Keep the line a bit tight so a bite will be noticeable. You need to be patient and pay attention as the bites are often subtle. You can use any type of bait here but a 4” plastic worm has proven to be effective in many cases. Any brand will do, just make sure that it undulates and is soft.
As far as colors are concerned it’s a matter of personal preference though purple works for many. Regardless of the color, always bring several of these because you’re going to go through a lot as they’re soft. Even if you have the best bait for bass, don’t expect to land a huge one when drop shotting, but it is great if you want to catch a handful.
What Lures Should be Used for Bass?
Bass feed on different kinds of baits including shad, crayfish and nightcrawlers. When using these baits use very little weight and as soon as you feel the bite, set the hook to reduce the chances of hooking the bass’ belly or throat. If you’re going to catch and release, remember to pinch the barbs so if its stomach gets hooked you’ll still be able to remove the hook.
If you’d rather use plastic lizards and plastic worms, you’re not alone as it’s one of the oldest and most widely used angling techniques. Worms and lizards are used the same way, and you can use different colors like chartreuse, black, green, orange, purple etc. These colors might seem like odd choices as they’re not natural, but for some reason bass are drawn to them.
Worms and lizards can be Texas rigged, and use the lightest weight possible so it doesn’t sink too fast the fish isn’t able to bite. Once the bait reaches the bottom, let it sit there. After a while let it slither forward by a couple of feet and let it settle there. If you feel a rock or some other formation nearby, go to its edge and let the lizard or worm lie on the side.
This position usually produces results, and if your lure is at the bottom near a rock you’ll feel a “ticking” sensation as the bass goes after your lure. When you feel the bass starting to chomp, set the hook and reel it in. Pay attention to the line too, because if it begins moving, a bass has caught the lure and is trying to swim away. This is where the importance of a soft lure comes into play: bass will hang onto them for extended periods whereas with a hard one they’ll just let go.
No collection of bass fishing tips will be complete without talking about worms. As a rule, plastic fish worms have to be reeled in slowly, but there are always exceptions. There will be times when you’re reeling in and you’ll see a bass going after it. If that happens a lot it’s a sign that the bass in the area are aggressive and you’ll be able to get away with faster retrievals and movements.
You can also try swimbaits, but keep in mind this method is used mainly in California and for catching big bass in lakes. There are many types, but most are 6 to 12 inches long and look like stocked trout. Some of these swimbaits float, while others sink quickly, and you’ll also find others that suspend in the water.
The retrieves used with swimbaits vary, with some requiring fast reels while others have lures that hardly move. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to these types of lures, and the efficiency depends entirely on the area where you’re fishing. If you’re going to use one of these, you have to find figure out first which ones are most effective in that lake or river. No matter which ones you use, don’t expect to catch a lot of fish, but if you’re after the big bass, this is what you will need.
Generally speaking the best way to catch a bass is with drop shotting or the other methods described here. But if you’re willing to wait hours for the big fish, then try the swimbaits. Whichever method you go for, don’t forget to invest in high quality gear, baits and lure. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on these, just make sure they are of good quality and you’ll be fine.