Every angler wants a trophy bass on the wall. But catching the big bass can be more challenging than just buying bait and dropping your line in the water. If you’re looking for a simple answer on how to catch more bass, you’re going to be disappointed. There isn’t a simple answer. But that’s what makes bass so much fun.
Like any complex fishing question, you can make inroads to a solution by picking up a few tips and tricks from the experts. Want to catch a big bass? You’re going to have to experiment to find the right techniques that come together in the right way at the right time. If bass fishing was easy, it wouldn’t be a sport, right?
- Bass Like to Hide
Bass are hunters who like to stage an ambush on their prey. They like to hide in dark places and wait for victims to come along. If you’re going to drop a lure to be the “victim” in this scenario, you need to drop it where bass like to hide.
Look for cover that provides shadows. This might be another boat, a dock, grass, trees, brush or just about anything else that can make some shadows and shade in the water.
- Match What is Hatching
Bass are voracious eaters and they eat what is most readily available. That means your lure should match whatever is hatching at the time that you are fishing. If the most readily available food source is shad, you should be fishing with a lure that looks like shad. (Try a silver crankbait). The same is true if bass are hitting on minnows or small bluegill.
- Stay Flexible
You might have a great technique in your favorite fishing hole but find you can’t catch anything outside of that specific area. It may be that your technique is too one-dimensional to be effective in other areas. A good angler needs to be flexible and know lots of tricks and tips to make the catch.
Learn how to use different types of bait and different techniques. Do a bit of research online, talk to the locals, take your rod and reel to different locations to try different things. You’ll have more fun breaking out of the mold and be a better angler for your efforts.
- Watch the Weather
The best bass fishing weather is an overcast day that’s not too hot and not too cold. Bass like cloudy days and they become more active and aggressive. You should take advantage of the cloud cover by attacking these active bass with moving baits like a chatterbait or spinnerbait.
If the sun is shining, on the other hand, the bass like to retreat into their cover and wait in the shadows to strike. To catch big bass on a sunny day, you need to throw bait on the bottom with a bit of bounce. Try a jig or soft plastic.
- Find the Perfect Water Temperature
Bass are finicky things who like water conditions to be just right. The warmer the water the more active the bass, but let the water warm up too much and the bass head back into deeper water and shade. If the water is cold bass will be moving slowly and you should use a slow-moving bait. If if’s warmer, use a more aggressive bait to match the movement of the fish. If the sun is blazing overhead and the water is too hot, go take a nap and come back to fish late in the evening or early in the morning when things cool off again.
- Try Fishing in the Wind
Wind gusts can make it hard to fish. That may be why bass love windy days so much. While you shouldn’t be on the water in dangerous wind conditions, a regular windy day can be great for fishing because the bass respond to the wind and do a bit more moving. Another perk of the windy day is the chop on the water helps to hide your boat’s movements and fish are less likely to spook.
- Research Your Fishing Spots
Before you head out for a day of fishing, take some time to do some research. No fisherman worth his salt is going to tell you where his best fishing hole is located (unless you’re paying him as a guide), but you can get information about the best bait in the area, what is hatching for a food source, any warnings about tricky locations or general things to know.
Then pair that local knowledge with the digital age to look through the water using Google Earth or other software to find the underwater ledges, creeks, brush and underwater features that bass really like. It’s hard to find a hidden cove when you’re trolling, but you can head right to it if you found its location ahead of time and drew yourself a quick map.
- Keep It Up
Bass are ornery fish. They like to do what they like to do, and often that means they don’t feel like taking your bait. It’s tempting to throw in the towel if you’ve been sitting in one spot without so much as a nibble but running all over the lake isn’t going to help you catch any fish either.
Find a spot that looks promising, tie on a lure that seems like a good fit and then give it a solid effort. Before you pick up and leave, try a few different types of lures or techniques. Troll along quietly near the cover. Be patient and if they don’t feel like biting, simply come back to battle another day.