Quick Tips For Catching Monster Bass
Ever since the conception of freshwater sport fishing, landing a monster sized largemouth or smallmouth bass has been the epitome of success for many avid fishermen. While it may seem as simple as tossing in a worm situated underneath a bobber, there are many tricks to getting those shifty fish to bite while effectively lowering your chance of catching smaller, less desirable species. Here at Big Game Fishing, we take this challenge very seriously and have compiled a few tricks & tips to help you catch that sought after trophy bass.
While weather may seem like an obvious factor when it comes to fishing, there are many misconceptions. Many people choose a warm sunny day to hit the water looking to catch big bass, but it has been proven time and time again that fish prefer overcast weather and tend to feed more actively in shaded or dark areas. Bass prefer water temps of around 55 - 65 degrees Fahrenheit (12 - 18 degrees Celsius), diving deeper during the warm parts of the day and coming up shallow when water temps cool down. If you are fishing midday during the summer; baits such as deep diving lures, heavy jigs, or swim baits are all great tackle choices to reach those elusive beasts. Tossing in a top water frog or Plopper is perfect for tossing into heavily weeded areas, drawing out any bass lurking in the shade provided by the natural cover. Rainy or overcast days are perfect for breaking out those spinner baits that offer a shiny/flashy presentation, while allowing you to cover a large amount of water in a short period of time. Hitting the water at either dusk or dawn ensures the water temperature will be more comfortable for larger fish, and is the perfect opportunity to try out a new fishing spot or lure choice. No matter rain or shine, those lunkers are hiding out; you just have to modify the way you approach them!
When largemouth and smallmouth bass start their spawn, feeding takes top priority. Bass make a nest in the sand or vegetation using the force of their tail and bodies to move debris out of the way, making for the perfect place to lay eggs. Largemouth bass typically spawn in early spring once the water temperature has started to warm up, but can postpone their spawn for up to 60 days while they wait for the perfect conditions. Locating bass during the pre-spawn, during the spawn, and post spawn all require different strategies and skill sets; which we will cover more in depth in a later article. Crank baits, lipless crank baits, and heavyweight jigs moving slowly along the bottom of the water body prove especially useful in early spring/spawn season. Bass are extremely territorial, never straying further than a hundred yards from their nest. Larger tackle poses a threat to the fish eggs and can trigger a more aggressive strike when casting near or even on a spawn bed. Post spawn is one of the best opportunities to catch those monster hogs. Generally speaking, smaller prey fish such as bluegill and perch spawn right after bass do. This entices larger bass to move into shallow waters looking for a larger meal, and is the perfect time to test out your favorite top water lure, glide bait, or swim bait. For best results, we recommend doing research on your own area of the world to get a better understanding of the spawn cycle for bass and other species of fish in your local lake or river.
One thing most fish have in common, even the almighty largemouth bass, is they absolutely love to hide. Underwater structures such as logs, fallen trees, or heavy vegetation offer a perfect place for large fish to hide themselves in waiting for that perfect sunfish or perch to ambush. While these structures may be tricky to navigate, without snagging your prized lure of course, dialing in your techniques can be one of the most surefire ways to get those lunkers on the end of your line. Weedless hooks and baits with a hidden hook system, such as a top water frog or Texas rigged soft plastic, are a great way to cast directly into the vegetation bed or fallen tree with less risk of getting caught up or snagged. Floating structures such as a dock or bridge offer a shady place for bass to hide away from the sun, and should be high on your list of places to cast around if your local spot has one. Top water frogs are perfect for skipping under thick brush and docks, opening up a larger range of fishing opportunities. While it may prove difficult and sometimes dangerous to cast right into structure, there are other ways of targeting those shy bass. Oftentimes, multiple casts near and around the structure can be enough to interest fish to come out of their hiding spot to investigate the activity.
One mistake commonly made by fishing enthusiasts is fishing a specific bait either too fast or too slow for the current conditions and feeding patterns. This changes for every different bait you tie on depending on the season and water body. In those colder months, fish have a slower metabolism and do not need to feed as often so it is common practice to work a bait slower than you would in warm weather. Fish do not like to move around as much in cold water and love to take advantage of an “injured” slow moving prey. In warmer weather, a faster retrieve can prove to be more successful; so much that you can practice trolling baits on your way to the next spot while picking up bass along the way. It is important when using a jig, soft plastic, or hard lure to let it rest when retrieving; oftentimes a fish will follow a bait all the way back to shore without striking but can be enticed to bite once the bait has come to a standstill. For top water baits, this waiting cycle should happen more often while suspended lures can be retrieved at a steady even pace. Swim baits and glide baits should be worked as slowly as possible to give any larger fish in the area ample time to make a decision and suck that bait down. Flashing tackle, such as Rooster tails and simple spin baits, can be worked as fast as possible to really give an irresistible presentation. Now, we know there are hundreds of styles of fishing lures and soft plastics out on the market today and it can seem a little daunting at first. Most of these baits fall into a generalized category that can be thoroughly researched to really educate yourself on the contents of your tackle box. Before tying on any new bait, we recommend doing a bit of research on how to fish that style bait to save you time on the water resulting in more fish in the boat!
Now these may seem simple enough guidelines to follow when getting out on the water searching for that new PB, it’s imperative to implement these tips into your everyday fishing routine. We strive to provide our readers with informational yet digestible content to get those lines tight and smiles wide. Tune into our other articles soon to come for more in depth information on a wide range of fishing and fishing related topics. Is there something you want covered in our next article? Leave suggestions for what you want to read about next!