Did You Know?
Several prestigious bass fishing competitions are held in the United States. The highest prize money is $1,000,000 for the Forrest Wood Cup (Walmart FLW Tour) and $300,000 for the Bassmaster Classic.
Fishing, which has been a popular hobby for centuries, can be defined more specifically as the technique of catching fish. Without a basic awareness about the different types of fish, their habits, fishing techniques, and fishing gear; it will be somewhat difficult for a layman to become successful in fishing. However, such expertise is a matter of time and experience; and fishing is a domain, wherein such knowledge can help you a lot.
When it comes to the different types of game fish in North America, bass is highly popular. There are several bass species that are found abundantly in almost all parts of the continent, and they are easy to catch. Being predator species, these fish are known for their aggressiveness and they may pounce on lures, even if they are not hungry. So, bass fishing can be a fun activity which can also be rewarding, if done properly.
Facts about Bass Fish
Bass is a wider term, which is used to denote several species that belong to the order Perciformes. This order comprises numerous species of marine and freshwater bass. When it comes to bass fishing, the most popular species is the largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) which belongs to the family Centrarchidae. The members of this family are commonly called black bass.
The largemouth bass is the largest among the different black bass species, and it can attain a maximum weight of around 25 pounds and a length of 30 inches. Females are often found to be larger. This fish is olive-green in color, with dark patches on its body. In some individuals, these patches merge to form a horizontal line on the sides. On an average, these fish live up to 16 years. Other common bass species are smallmouth bass, spotted bass, striped bass, etc.
In general, bass fish prefer still water, particularly areas with weeds and logs. They tend to become inactive during the cold winter days. Adult bass feed on large prey that can be sometimes more than 50% of their body weight. Their diet includes small fish, frogs, water birds, snails, crayfish, snakes, baby alligators, shrimp, etc.
The bass fish are found in shallow water during cloudy weather, but move deeper in hot, sunny days. While largemouth bass avoid heavy water currents, smallmouth bass fish are often found in moving water. The smallmouth bass can be found near large rocks in the river, as they feed on the small crustaceans that live on the rocks. Given below are some tips to catch largemouth bass.
Location for Fishing
Though bass is found abundantly in lakes, rivers, and streams; it does not mean that you can find them at each and every point. In order to gain a basic understanding about their hangouts, get a map of the water body. Identify the different depths and look for sunken parts. Bass are often found near such depressions. These fish hide in between reeds, rocks, grass, fallen logs, etc. In order to avoid water currents, largemouth bass often move to small creeks that develop from the river.
Best Time to Catch Bass
It is easy to identify those locations where you can find this fish, but keep in mind that their locations may change according to the changes in weather. The best time to catch bass is early morning or late evening. Usually, bass is found in shallow waters during early mornings and evenings, when there is no bright sunlight.
When its sunny, bass tend to look for shelters and hiding spots. If you are looking for bigger fish, schedule your fishing trip on any of the three days that precede or succeed a full moon day or a new moon day.
Best Season for Bass Fishing
Spring is the best season to catch bass. This is the time when the water turns warmer, and these fish move to shallow waters and start feeding aggressively. This pre-spawn period is ideal for top water bass fishing. Even the post-spawn period that falls in late spring is good for catching bass.
During summer, catching bass may get tough, as these fish may not come to the surface waters, where the temperatures are high. During winter and early fall, they are found to be inactive and sluggish due to the low temperature level. You may also try fishing during mid to late autumn.
Ideal Fishing Rod
A wide range of sophisticated fishing rods are now available in the market. For bass fishing, casting rods are considered the best, as it is best for techniques like flipping, spinnerbaiting, deep cranking, etc. However, it requires some skill and expertise to operate such rods. So, you must learn how to use such fishing rods, well in advance.
Fly rods or spinning rods are best for beginners. Those who are not experienced in using fishing rods may go for bobbers, which are also ideal for fishing in slow-moving rivers with rocky bottoms.
Bait for Bass
You may use live or plastic baits for catching bass. Use top water baits like stick baits for fishing in warm, shallow water that is clean and clear. Topwater poppers or chuggers are used to attract bass from deep waters to the surface. These baits have cupped lips that produce a noise when they are pulled out of water. Fluke baits are made of soft plastic and resemble baitfish like bluegill minnows.
Flukes are mainly used during late spring, when bass fish feed on shad minnows. The hook has to be fitted into the fluke, through its head, so that the open end rests near its belly. Spinnerbaits are also excellent for bass fishing. You may also use live baits like shiners, worms, crayfish, and even frogs. Usually, plastic baits are preferred to live baits. However, live fish may prove useful, if plastic baits are not effective. Dark-colored baits must be used in muddy or cloudy water.
Once you choose the location for fishing, cast the lure and wait for the bite. Once in a while, move the line up and down gently, so as to attract the fish to the bait. As the fish takes the bait, wait till you feel the weight to set the hook. Drop-shot is one of the commonly used techniques for catching bass. You have to use a spinning rod and a light line (6 to 10 pound test line would do) for this purpose. Attach a small plastic lure at a distance of around 20 inches from the end of the line. Secure the lure using a Palomar knot. Once done, tie a small weight to the end of the line, using a drop-shot knot. The lure must be perpendicular to the line. Drop the rig straight into the water. You may also cast out the same. The line must be kept taut and should not get slack. Move the line slowly and gently, without lifting the weight. When you feel the tug, set the hook.
Catching Bass in Winter
Winter is not considered a good time for bass fishing. These fish are sluggish during cold temperatures, when they may also stop feeding. So, try shallow waters, where the depth is not more than 12 feet. Instead of moving the bait, you have to wait patiently, for the fish to bite.
A moving bait may not attract the sluggish fish. If you move the bait, the fish may not react, as it will be hesitant to spend energy in chasing prey. All these factors, along with the cold weather, may make it difficult for the angler to catch bass during winters. If you are a real enthusiast, you can try bass fishing during winters too. You may be rewarded with the biggest bass, that you have ever caught.
In short, location, weather, water clarity, type of bait, fishing technique, etc., are some of the major factors, that have to be considered, before you set out for fishing. As a beginner, you may find it difficult to catch bass during the initial stages; but with time and patience, you will definitely become a pro at bass fishing.