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To the French, bass are known as "Loup de Mer" - "the wolf of the sea." They are known for their aggression when hunting for prey or fighting for their freedom when caught on your line. Despite, or maybe because of this, the subspecies of the black bass are the most popular species for game fishing on the North American continent. Whether you are just joining what has been a proud tradition since the late 19th century or already are an experienced angler, it is always a good idea to freshen up you knowledge with some bass fishing tips.
Assemble Your Ideal Bass Fishing Rig...
There are as many types of rig as there are species of fish, locations for fishing, weather conditions ... you catch my drift. An experienced bass angler might assemble a personal rig, but you can always start with the classics.
Among the most simple rigs, the Texas rig consists only of a hook, a sinker and a plastic worm. Because the worm hook is threaded through the lure in a way that does not expose its tip, you can drag this setup through weeds without it getting snagged or stuck. You will want to use a lighter weight for this rig, since a sinker that is too heavy would inhibit the movement of the comparably light and soft worm.
Developed specifically as a bass fishing rig, a Carolina rig is ideal for locations where it is possible or necessary to cover a lot of water quickly. It consists of a hook, a lure, a sliding sinker and one or more plastic beads added between the sinker and the hook eye. This is a setup that makes it possible for a fish to pick up the bait without becoming aware of the weight of the sinker. Here, you can use a heavier weight, which will help you to make longer casts and thereby cover more water.
What are the Best Rods & Reels for Catching Bass?
You will want a rod that is light enough for long periods and that is sensitive enough to let you confidently feel for bites. Generally, you cannot go wrong with a length between 6-1/2-foot and 7-1/2-foot. Of course, the kind of rod and reel that you want also depends on the conditions of the locations you like to fish at as well as on your prefered method of bass fishing: do you prefer live bait or spinner lures? Since with spinnerbait you will be casting repeatedly, this calls for a more lightweight rod.
There are continuously new developments in rod technology and nowadays a lot of the techniques you can do with a baitcasting rod can also be done with a spinning rod, but this might not necessarily be true the other way round. In the end, it makes the most sense to invest in a carefully selected collection of rods to be prepared for different techniques, tides, and lures. Quality brands to watch out for are, for example, Shakespeare, Entsport, KastKing, Pflueger, Berkley.
Using Live Bait to Catch Bass...
There are 250 species of minnows in the United States, among them shiners, creek chubs and shad, but most anglers refer to all baitfish as minnows. If you are a beginner when it comes to bass fishing, minnow fishing is your perfect starting point. All large fish enjoy smaller fish as part of their diet, so using live baitfish is good for less experienced anglers or for when you are checking out a new location for the first time - if no bass bite, there very largely aren't any!
Crustaceans like crawfish attract bass in a variety of ways. Bass locate this bait not only by taste and movement but also by the sound of the crawfish moving on rocks, making this the ideal bait for shallow waters with rocky grounds.
What Lures to Use For Bass Fishing?
There are countless lures you can use, some of them especially developed for bass fishing. You can think of lures and the ways you use them as something to mimic baitfish, worms, crayfish, and even mice or frogs. It always depends on what your local bass likes to feast on.
Your choice of lure also depends on the water condition. Lures are great when the water is calm and clear, for fishing in dirty waters live bait can come in handy. Because bass like to attack bait that looks wounded you can keep shredded worms and use them for this cause.
Plastic worms are a classic, and rightfully so. Rigged Texas style a worm is a well-loved go-to for bass fishing and can be used with different techniques. When the bass are lethargic, dragging a Texas rigged worm might be just what wakes them up and gets them interested. When the bass are more active, they will likely be interested in some dragging and dropping - just lift the lure about a foot of the bottom and let it drop again and you might soon capture the attention of a biter!
While a lot of people see spinnerbait as challenging, it can do wonders in the right environment. Always keep this lure near structure like the brush or grass at the edge of shallow waters. Broken down trees, low-hanging branches or tangled roots also can offer good cover. The bass will sense the vibration of your lure and venture right into the trap you set.
Tubes are very versatile because they can appear as many different baitfish to the bass you are trying to catch. Depending on the color and the way you move them, they can give the illusion of being different kind of baitfish or crawfish.
What Types of Hooks & Sinkers to Us for Bass Fishing?
Your choice of sinker will largely depend on the type of rig you decided for. Keep in mind that it is always best to use the smallest size that will do the work. Then your fishing rig will be more sensitive and you are more attuned to what is going on down there!
To reduce the chances of pulling out of big bass, you should use a large hook. Think 2/0 on average, but 1/0 to 6/0 are all sizes you can use. In any case, it is very important to keep your hooks sharp since bass have bone jaws. If you don't have your fish hook sharpener with you, a file will do.
These light wire hooks will not damage the live bait when placed on the hook and are therefore good to keep you game fish entertained and ensure that the bass does not lose interest.
Baitholder Hooks are, as the name implies, also best for holding live bait. The barbs on their long shaft prevent the bait from escaping.
These hooks, that are available in thin and thick wire versions, are especially practical for some "catch and release" action. The shape of the circle hook usually prevents the bass from swallowing its prey and the hook with it.
Worm hooks are not only for worms but for soft plastic lures of any kind. The shape and size you need depends on your preferred lure. All worm hooks are durable and designed for deep penetration.
Where and When to Fish for Bass?
While bass are comfortable with feeding at all depths, even down to 150ft, you will mostly be lucky in shallow areas and close to structures like sandbanks, moorings, pier legs or piles of rock, because this is where their prey animals are to be found. They also like to explore close to harbors where they scavenge for human waste that has been thrown from boats or piers. Bass like to hunt under cover, may it be beneath boat docks, grass or other plants close to water. There, they can remain concealed until they choose to ambush their prey.
I advise you to go bass fishing at either dawn or dusk, because they like to feed very early or very late. On stormy and cloudy days you might get especially lucky - due to the air pressure before a storm the bass are more active. On sunny days, bass are quite lazy and have to be roused by the use of a bottom bouncing bait like a jig or a Texas rigged soft plastic.
You can succesfully go bass fishing in any season, but your methods and gear have to go with the changing demands. In winter you might chose a Carolina rig to reach deep fish, whereas in spawning season or immediately after you will find them in shallows under cover guarding their nests. In fall, bass are in the shallows again, chasing baitfish this time, and will react to fastmoving lures like spinnerbaits.
Bass Fishing Tips For Everyday..
There are lots of small things for you to do that can support your bass fishing skills on a daily basis:
Practice tying knots in your free time, so that you are quick when the need arises.
Get familiar with technology like Google Earth or Fishidy and use it to always keep an eye on possible areas that look good for bass and be up-to-date on local fishing reports.
And finally, when you go out fishing, beware of strong smells like tobacco or sun screen - bass have a very strong sense of smell.
It cannot be denied that bass fishing will test you skill and patience but that only means that it feels all the more rewarding when you are successful in the end!
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