Where to Fish
Bass can be found all over, in ponds, lakes, streams, and reservoirs. Which areas they choose depends upon the season, because there’s a certain water temperature that bass find ideal. In the spring, bass move to shallow waters to feed and spawn. By the time the water temperature reaches 55 degrees F, bass will be in feeding frenzy, all the way until the water temperature reaches 70 degrees, after which they spend their time in deeper water. In summertime, bass can be found in deeper lakes. Bass living in shallow lakes are still there, but aren’t as willing to chase after bait, so you won’t have as much success. Autumn and winter see bass spending a lot of time in deep water, as the surface is either iced over or simply too cold. Some ice fishers can get a good run of bass in the early months of winter.
Bass, for all their hard-fighting reputation, are actually quite shy creatures. They love to hide in structures both natural and man-made, lake bottom contours, weeds, coves, dead trees, and other similar locations. Many bass don’t necessarily spend their days hiding; they just hang out next to cover, in case they need to rush to hide or (more likely) to ambush unsuspecting prey. If you angle your line near these locations, you’re likely to catch some bass.
When to Fish
The best time to go bass fishing is when they feed, which is early in the morning and late in the evening, around dawn and dusk. This is especially the case during the springtime, when fish are scarce and bass spend a lot of time feeding. In the summer, bass have a get-in-get-out approach to eating, so you might be more likely to catch them during the day when they’re resting in their deep water hiding places.
What Rod to Bring
Depending on what sort of fishing you’re going to do, you can choose a number of different rods. The best bass fishers have up to five different rods they use just for catching bass. Just like golf clubs, each rod has its purpose. For flipping and pitching, you need a long rod with a stiff backbone but a flexible tip, while worm fishing requires a medium sized rod that’s sensitive enough to track the slightest nibble on the line. Generally, when deciding on a rod, you want to maximize both toughness (because bass are fighters), flexibility (because bass move around a lot), and sensitivity. A good choice is a 6 1/2 foot to 7 1/2 foot graphite rod. Make sure your rod has guides each foot from end to tip. If you’re fishing on a budget, you should be able to get a decent rod for $40. Any less than that, and you should be concerned with the rod’s quality.
Bait to Hook
There are as many different types of bass bait as there are bass fishers, it seems. However, bait can be divided into three categories:
* Live bait
* Plastic worms
Live bait isn’t always recommended by top bass fishers, simply because it attracts other, smaller fish besides bass. However, if you’re out with your family and you’re not really concerned with whether you catch bass or something else, good live bait to use would be crawfish, shiners, or night crawlers. If using worms or grubs, make sure you load the hook up heavy with bait, as bass are hungry creatures. When hooking crawfish, pierce them through the back or tie it to the hook to give it an erratic presentation.
Plastic worms require a lot of patience to fish with. The first technique is to jerk the worm about wildly. Lots of erratic movements will be much more likely to hook bass. Plastic worms are more likely to catch smaller bass than bigger bass, unless you can make the worm’s movement look realistic and exciting. When the bass first takes the worm, let it swim for a bit before pulling on the rod (striking). You’ll catch the fish by surprise and be much more likely to catch it.
When purchasing spinnerbaits, make sure to buy titanium ones, in as bright colors as possible. Ask your local supply store which colors are best on any given day, because depending upon the season and quality of the light, certain colors reflect more pleasing tastes for bass.
Crankbaits are, arguably, the best choice for the beginning bass fisher. They provide a way to have an adversarial relationship with the bass. By casting a brightly colored crankbait into the same area repeatedly, you work the fish up into a rage, and instead of treating the bait like food, it treats it like a problem. It attacks the crankbait with all its strength, which provides for a fun fishing experience as you struggle against it.