Bass Fishing Tips

This will be broken down into two separate sections. One each for smallmouth and largemouth
bass. If there is enough interest and or time, we will be putting up a page for spotted bass.

Smallmouth bass tend to make people think crayfish and moving water whereas largemouth bass
tend to have people think of small lakes and lily pads. A lot of the smallmouth bass we catch are
caught while jigging for walleye, but we also catch largemouth while drifting and trolling for walleye.
So their habitats do overlap. Smallmouth do need to have more oxygen than the largemouth bass
do, so at certain times of the year in certain waters, you will not find these fish together.

Weather affects the smallmouth in different ways. Windy weather usually means the fishing will be
better as the waves allow less light to penetrate beneath the water’s surface. The same is true
when there is a light drizzle on a calm day. Smallmouth will go on a feeding frenzy before a front
moves in. Some of the best smallmouth fishing is done by jigging on the bottom with a jig tipped with
a leech, crawler, or minnow. Casting to rip/rap shorelines is effective as well. Anything that is in the
water that deflects the current is also another good place to target fish.

Weather affects largemouth bass in much of the same as it does for smallmouth bass. Warm
fronts generally improve fishing unless there are a few warms days in a row in summer. This can
raise the water temperatures and cause the fish to become sluggish. Topwater baits are always
the most exciting way to fish for largemouth bass. If the fish are holding in a deep pool, a heavy jig
will also provide some nice action. The soft plastic revolution owes its success to the popular
largemouth and the Texas rigged plastic worm.

Advertisements

Smallmouth Bass Fishing Tips

Lets take a look at the equipment that is most suited for most situations of smallmouth bass fishing.
A medium power, fast action rod that is between 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 feet long will suit you just fine.
Most of the time. There are those special situations and any angler should always carry more than
one type of rod and reel set up when fishing.

Now the reel you want to have for your rod should match your rod. If the reel is too heavy, the rod
will be butt heavy and won’t cast correctly. The main thing you want on your reel is a very nice
working drag that will still operate smoothly after that big smallmouth hits the end of your line. A low
quality and low priced reel may have a drag that malfunctions while you are fighting that trophy
smallmouth and when he gets to the end of the line, snap, and you’re done. Gear ratio may be
confusing to some of you. The higher the ratio, the faster the line is reeled in. So a 5:1 will reel in
faster than a 4:1. When a smallmouth leaps, changes direction, or charges the boat, you will want a
reel that will be able to pull up the slack line as fast as possible.

The fishing line selection is as varied as the waters you will find smallmouth in. So the type of line
you chose is up to you. I prefer Trilene XL in low visibility green. But this is just a personal
preference of mine. I would advise against buying bargain lines as they are not as consistent with
their line as the premium manufacturers. The lighter the line you use, the deeper your lure will run
as there is less drag on the line. You will be able to feel the bite better. A line with stretch is more
forgiving than lines without so much stretch. Eight pound test is all the heavier you need to go in
most situations. If you are fishing in the slop, around snags, in the rocks, your line will become
beaten up quickly. You may also need heavier line to hoss the fish away that downed timber in the
water. You may need the heavier line for tossing heavier lures and baits. You do want to go with the
lightest line you can get away with as lighter line is smaller in diameter and is less visible to the fish.

Lets look at the fish we are pursuing now. The bronzeback is well known for diving deep and
waging a deep water assault on you gear. They also make drag screeching runs and high flying flips
in the air. It is widely considered by most people as the toughest freshwater fish you will come
across. As far as it’s senses go, the smallmouth bass is the same as the largemouth bass except
where daytime vision is concerned. The smallmouth has excellent daytime vision. Their sense of
smell and night vision is fair, where their hearing and lateral line is good. If you are fishing in
shallower or clearer water, you will want to make sure not to cast a shadow over the water as that
can spook the fish. Remember when the fish is looking up out of the water, the sky is the
background. You will want to blend in with your background.

The smallmouth prefers clear and clean waters. Temperature and smallmouth have some things in
common. If the oxygen level is good, you can expect to find them in temperatures around 70
degrees or slightly lower. Younger smallmouth prefer warmer waters than older smallmouth. They
also prefer a little more current than does the largemouth. Find a deep pool with current in a river
system and you should be able to find your smallmouth. They also like rocks and rip rap shorelines.
If you find a current break, you will want to fish that area thoroughly.

There are several good techniques to go after smallmouth. One way is to cast lures at structure.
Shoreline structure as well as mid lake structure. Slow trolling works well for smallmouth. So does
jigging for them. Fly fishing is very productive for smallmouth bass as many of the insects that the
smallmouth lives on can and is duplicated by fly tiers. The fish act different in different areas as
well. Where the pressure for food is high, the fish are more aggressive. In cases where the
pressure isn’t so high, the fish tend to look things over a bit more.

There are several kinds of lures you can use for smallmouth bass. Unless you are fishing in the fall,
I would keep my lure under 5 inches in length. I can’t tell you how many large smallmouth bass I
have caught using a 1 1/2 inch long mini fat rap. Or how many 20 plus inch smallmouth I have
caught on a jighead and half a crawler. I would also go with a more natural colored lure. I have
caught several smallmouth on an orange jighead, but the most of my fish are on natural colored
crankbaits. As for jigging, it is the same as with other species. They will tend to hit the jig on the
drop, so having no slack line when jigging is essential. And just like walleye fishing, if you feel
something different, set the hook. If it feels like your jig just bumped into a stone or stick, set the
hook. If there isn’t any fish on your line, reel in and put on a new crawler to replace the one you just
lost. In deep water, jigging is your best solution. The deeper the water, the more line you will have
out, so a super limp line with a lot of stretch may not be your best solution at this time.

Another good lure is a spinner or spinnerbait. A Mepp’s Aglia with the natural colored squirrel hair
on the treble is an excellent choice for an inline spinner. A spinnerbait is perfect for when the
smallmouth are in weeds or timber. You can cover this water without snagging up all the time. My
all time favorite spinner is a Beetle Spin. I would have to call the Beetle Spin the perfect bait. I prefer
to use a vibrating lure or a lure with a blade in low visibility water. This just helps the smallmouth
locate the lure easier.

Then of course there is live bait. Working a crawdad on the bottom can not be argued with.
Minnows work well, as do frogs, waterdogs, and nightcrawlers. You can fish these on the bottom
with a slip sinker rig, or work them just above the bottom with a slip bobber rig.