Bass fishing has become a huge industry over the last few decades. Pros such as Kevin Van Dam, Skeet Reese and Bill Dance make millions of dollars a year catching these fish. So why exactly has bass fish grown so rapidly around the world? The answer is simple: anyone can do it. From fishing in pro tours to simple family outings, bass fishing provides enjoyment and excitement for everyone. If fact, some of the biggest bass around the world have been caught be amateurs. So how exactly can a beginner like yourself start catching big bass? My list of bass fishing tips has been tried and proven for many years, and will guarantee that you catch bigger, better fish.
Where to Fish?
Though bass can generally be found anywhere, one of my most important bass fishing tips is knowing the most effective places to fish. One of the best places to catch bass is around wood cover. Wood cover include fallen trees, stumps, docks, or even floating logs. The fallen trees or stumps provide excellent cover for baitfish, attracting bass from all over the lake. Docks also provide shade for bass during hot summer months, which is a must if you want to find fish. While wood cover usually means great fishing, it can start to cause problems after a while. When the wood breaks down, it draws oxygen from the water, pushing the fish away. Because this usually happens on the lake floor, a buzz bait or top water frog is usually recommended.
In my opinion, weeds are far better cover for bass and produce much better fishing. The live weeds produce oxygen, helping the lake sustain much better fish than decaying wood. Weed fishing can be frustrating though, as it get caught around the line easily. For weeds close to shore, a weed less hook is most effective. It allows you to get the bait where it needs to be, but gives you the crucial hook set to catch that big bass. Topwater baits are also very effective for shoreline weeds. Bass like to sit further in the cover and look up, attacking animals such as lizards or frogs as they run across the water. For deeper set weeds a weighted bait that bounces off the bottom is usually the best. As long as you don’t mind cleaning off your hook and trolling motor every once in a while, fishing around weed cover will get you big bass guaranteed.
What Bait to Use?
When fishing for bass, you really have two options when it comes to bait. First is live bait. Usually used more by beginners, live bait is generally easier. When fishing live bait, you usually use the cast-and-wait approach. Constantly reeling in you bait and casting it back out will kill it pretty fast, making it a lot less effective. A bobber can help keep your bait off the bottom and out of the weeds. So now you’re probably wondering what type of live bait to use, right? The go-to bait is usually the shiner. A small, generic looking silver fish, shiners are hardy and drive bass crazy. If you are looking to switch it up a little bit, live crawfish also work great. Fishing with crawfish is usually better in rocky locations, where crawfish are naturally present.
Using artificial baits is kind of a large subject, so I am going to break it down into a few categories: soft and hard baits. Soft baits include plastic worms, frogs, lizards, etc. Over my years of fishing, I have found a single bait that produces more fish than anything else I have tried: Gary Yamamato Senkos. They are by far the simplest thing you can find, and at first glance you probably wouldn’t think they are anything special. Don’t be fooled, though, bass love them and they are great for beginner fishermen. Check out this video to learn the rigging and techniques for using the senko. Another great soft bait is the Zoom Horny Toad. These are great for fishing around weeds and docks, as they are weedless and provide great strikes. As a Florida native where weeds and grass is everywhere, these have become my go-to bait when fishing becomes tough. It is best not to use these when the weather is extremely hot, as fish want to stay in the deeper, cold water instead of coming up to the top. Hard baits can also be very effective for bass. Hard baits such as crankbaits are usually best when used in deeper water around rock or tree cover. Keep in mind, though, crankbaits are not weedless are will get frustrating if not used in the right places. Artificial baits can be very effective if used correctly, and is usually more satisfying than catching a fish on a shiner.