Bass is a generic term that can relate to several species of fish. A popular fish species often visualized is the largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) and one of the most sought by fisherman.
Other types include:
- White bass (Morone chrysops)
- Striped bass (M. saxatilis)
- Spotted bass (M. punctulatus)
- Smallmouth bass (M. dolomieu)
- Guadalupe bass (M. treculii)
- Choctaw bass (M. haiaka)
A highly popular fish in North America, the largemouth bass is olive green in color with a distinct dark strip and can reach up to 22 pounds in weight and 29.5 inches in body length. This popular game fish survives on a diet of snakes, small fish, shrimp, scuds, insects, frogs, crawfish, and bait fish. Life expectancy in the wild is in the region of 16 years. Largemouth bass can easily catch prey that is at least 25-50% of body length.
Here are several of the most practical tips and tactics for bass fishing:
Bass fishing is particularly active throughout the largemouth pre-spawn season. The start of pre-spawn is usually early spring when the temperature of the water starts to reach 55-65°. Throughout this period the male and female fish will start to feed aggressively in the shallow areas and seek out the most attractive nesting site. Bass are easy to detect during this time and often quite close to shore. Use a catch and release policy for the female fish to ensure the spawning cycle can be completed.
Weather can dictate the whereabouts of bass. Bright sunlight can force the fish to look for areas of shelter. Bass are more active when there is little sun or cloudy and will leave their place of shelter. So, when it is sunny outside, the best fishing areas to keep your live bait or lure are those places the fish might use for protection and shelter.
Right time of day
Bass fishing is most productive at the start of the day or left until the evening. The best time to arrive at a preferred fishing spot is one or two hours before sunset or sunup – although bass will feed earlier in the afternoon if the water is muddy or it is a cloudy day.
Study a map to help identify drops-offs and different depths. Most bodies of water have maps and easily source online using local or state resources. Maps can also list sunken structures or cribs that are used for protection. A map can be marked with successful or non-productive areas for future reference.
A captured bass will often throw-up the stomach contents when fighting you. By looking inside the mouth, it is possible to see the feed and this can be mimicked with a similar looking lure. Alternatively, for live bait try to catch what the bass are feeding on and hook that to the end of the line.
Watch the line
Give the line a thorough examination every so often to ensure it isn’t starting to fray or wear. The fishing line is often in contact with stumps, branches, gravel, rocks, etc. A low-quality line can easily break, especially when targeting a monster bass.
Size of lure
The size of lure isn’t likely to have an impact on the size of fish you hook. Many of the largemouth bass will go after prey that is a quarter or half its body length. If unsuccessful at catching any bass on your lures, it might be practical to swap-out for a smaller size to see if more positive results are achieved.
If artificial lures aren’t producing the productive catch of bass it might benefit to start using a variety of live bait. Frogs, crayfish, and worms are great options to use as live bait. A slip bobber can also be used to help with adjusting the baits depth for more effective casting.