Anyone undertaking a hobby for the first time or with dozens of hours under their belt share one thing in common: they want to get better. With bass fishing, everyone should strive to improve their techniques and practices in order to get the best possible results – more fish! But how exactly do you go about improving your fishing game?
To become a better bass fisherman, you should always endeavor to learn as much about the behavior and preferences of the fish. Just as important is constantly practicing your technique as an angler and finding ways to fish that mesh well with what goals you set for yourself.
Fishing is a learning process! This article will take a deep dive into the world of bass fishing and how you can improve your fishing game to best optimize the amount of fish you get in the shortest possible time. In addition, we’ll be touching on some mistakes you can learn to avoid, so without further ado, here is a list of tips on how to become a better bass fisherman.
Learn To Love Dreary Weather
Nobody really wants to go out during grey, rainy days, but it turns out that those are the best days to go bass fishing! Bass are low-light predators who prefer to go out when the conditions are a little less clear than we’d like. This means cloudy, windy, and rainy days. If you go to your favorite spot while it’s fishing, you’re nearly guaranteed to notice a giant increase in how many fish you bag.
This can mean going out during those bad weather days you’d rather stay inside, but going out to fish during the early morning or evening works just as well to increase your chances of bass biting. Possibly the best time to fish is before a storm comes through because the increased air pressure will make the bass more active and likely to want to bite.
Play To the Aggression of Bass
Bass are aggressive fish by nature, which is something you can take advantage of in order to get more bites and, thus, more fish. One great tip is to save your plastic worms that get shredded for later. Bass will perceive the ruined worms as wounded prey ripe for attack. Naturally, this is good for you as a fisherman.
Another tip in this vein is to agitate the fish in order to provoke a biting response. Cast near the fish and move the lure erratically to attempt to anger the fish and make him bite. Red-colored bait can help, especially in cover, because it will make the fish think it’s chasing wounded prey and, therefore, more likely to want to bite.
Practice Your Cast
One thing that a lot of amateurs neglect to pay attention to is how they cast. Being able to accurately cast to a certain spot with a soft landing is essential to catching more fish. It won’t matter if you have all the fancy tackle in the world if you can’t put your lure near the fish. Being able to cast softly without alerting or scaring the fish will get you a lot more bites than you’re perhaps used to.
Practice different casting techniques in order to see what works best for you to be able to accurately and softly. It could be useful to try different types of rods, such as a spinning rod or a baitcaster, in order to see what kind of rod you’re most comfortable with – whatever you’re most comfortable using will be more likely to score you bites and fish.
Don’t Overthink It
It can be easy to overanalyze and think that this or that is the reason you’re not catching fish, but the truth is that fishing doesn’t necessitate complicated analysis in order to do well. If a certain rod or tackle has served you well in the past, take that to a likely spot during the early morning or early evening. The time you spend overthinking things could be better spent actually fishing.
One of the best tips you can heed to become a better bass fisherman is to learn the fine art of versatility. If you’ve gotten particularly attached to your baitcaster but don’t feel comfortable with a spinning rod, the best possible thing you can do to improve your craft is to take some time to practice with a spinning rod exclusively.
Leave the baitcaster at home and focus on honing your cast and becoming just as comfortable with the spinning rod as you are with the baitcaster. There are certain times when different techniques and equipment work better than others, and if you’re at least passable with all of them, you’ll be equipping yourself with the best possible set of knowledge to succeed.
Learn To Tie Knots
Losing fish because of a bad knot can be one of the greatest irritations because it’s totally avoidable. It’s easy to want to just get out there and throw your lure out, but prep time is just as crucial. Take time when at home to get familiar with a versatile knot that works well in different conditions. Learn this knot until it’s seared into your mind, and you could tie it in your sleep – knots are important!
There are lots of resources and videos out there to learn new knots and how to improve your technique, so there’s no excuse to say you don’t know how.
Try Reeling More Slowly
One of the worst things you can do as a fisherman is reel too quickly and allow the fish to get away. Too much pressure is just as bad as not enough pressure. Give the line a little room to breathe without allowing it to go slack and letting the fish a chance to peel away from the lure. You don’t have to straight up let off, but don’t immediately reel for all you’re worth when the fish bites either.
Spend Time on the Water
You can’t expect to be able to catch fish if you don’t know what they do during different conditions. To learn those conditions, you have to spend time out there. Fish behave differently during specific weather conditions or in certain places, so you have to spend time observing what the fish do. Behavior of even one specific fish species can vary according to regional and local climates and weather patterns.
Being armed with knowledge is one of the best preparations you can make as a fisherman, even more so than arming yourself with expensive rods and tackle. A man with a simple handmade rod can catch dozens of fish if he’s spent his entire life on a particular lake, so you should strive to become as familiar with the water as the fish are.
Patience Pays Off
Fishing isn’t for the easily distracted and is often called boring by the uninformed. This is because it can take inhuman patience to sit at a spot and keep casting at the same spot over and over. It can sometimes pay off to just go to a different spot, but you may find that simply toughing it out can bring great success.
Water Temperature Matters
It helps to familiarize yourself with how the behavior and feeding patterns of fish vary when the water temperature is cooler or hotter. Generally, bass are less active in cool water and more active in warm water. How does this help you? Try using slower lures when fishing in cool weather, and use those aggressive lures when it’s warmer out. You’ll find much more success when you match your lure type to the weather and how the bass are acting.
Find the Fish
To catch bass, you have to put your lure where they are. It sounds basic, but it pays off to know where the bass hide in your local watering hole. Bass like to lurk under covered areas that can be made of wood, docks, lily pads, and tall grass. This helps them lie in wait for unsuspecting prey and get a better jump on their next meal.
That’s not to say you can’t catch bass in open water – it’s perfectly possible. We only recommend trying covered areas because those are the places the bass are more likely to stay in the same spot for a longer period of time.
During the spring, bass like to hang out at their spawning beds, which are also generally in covered areas, safe from the wind and other predators. Keep this in mind if you’re fishing in the springtime.
Keep Your Hooks Sharp
Hooks are crucial because they’re how you hook the fish – duh, right? You may be surprised to learn of a common amateur mistake where an angler doesn’t pay attention to the condition his hooks are in and instead attributes failing to catch fish to the type of tackle or rods he’s using. Bass have very bony jaws that are apt to dull hooks faster than you may think.
You should regularly inspect your hooks for any dull points and file them until they’re back in good condition. It doesn’t take long, and it will increase your chances of hooking a fish.
Know the Diet of the Fish
Bass aren’t picky eaters and are widely known to eat just about anything suitable, from shad and minnows to the odd baby duck! To maximize your odds of getting the fish to bite, you have to know what they eat in your local ecosystem. If it’s shad, try using silver-colored crankbait or swimbait. If it’s minnows, small plastic should work just fine as a lure.
Pay Attention to the Wind
It’s a good idea to fish with the wind in your face. Perhaps you’ve heard differently, but bass generally swim with the current, and what you sacrifice in cast distance will be made up for with the bass finding your lure before your boat. Remember, the bass can tell your boat is there by the sounds of water sloshing at your hull, and this trick carries that sound away from the fish.
Wind helps stir up bass activity and lessen the chances that your boat’s movement will spook them, giving you a greater window of opportunity to catch some big fish.
Learn From All Available Sources
As with any hobby, there are so many magazines, videos, and articles that you can learn new techniques and advice from. If you consistently seek out new information, you’ll be better equipped to fish. With the knowledge of centuries behind us, there’s no reason you have to reinvent fishing from scratch all by yourself.
Bass fishing is a huge pastime and sport these days. There is an absolute wealth of knowledge at your fingertips, especially with modern technology, making it easier to access and learn.
Mistakes of Bass Fishermen
In addition to tips on what you should do, it can be very helpful to learn what mistakes cause poor performance in the realm of fishing. There’s perhaps even more information on what you shouldn’t do because people often make a lot of mistakes starting out and like to share that information so that other new anglers can hopefully learn from it.
It can be very easy to get attached to a particular piece of equipment or a technique that’s brought you a lot of success in the past, but that’s a very slippery slope. One day the fish may learn that thing you like to do doesn’t end in a good time for them, and you’re out of luck! There’s so much fishing equipment nowadays, both cheap and expensive that it can make your head spin.
While there is something to be said for familiarity, it often pays off to try new techniques and equipment. If your favorite lures just aren’t cutting it anymore, try picking up some new ones and educating yourself on how to best employ them in your fishing.
One thing that leads to a lot of frustration is when you try to pay attention to too many things at the same time. You could be thinking about where to go next, that nice rod you’ve been salivating over, or just generally stewing about the lack of fish biting.
Instead of thinking about these extraneous details, you should focus on what your lure is doing at the moment. It can be helpful to pay attention to the fish, but ultimately the fish bite your lure, so that’s what you should be focusing on. Don’t get distracted!
Making Too Much Noise
This goes along with the practice casting tips above. If you’re making huge splashes every time you cast, you have a problem and will be far less likely to attract fish. Rather, the fish will probably be swimming away from that area to another place that there aren’t noisy fishermen! Practicing your cast is important to mitigate this problem.
Color Isn’t That Important
The color of your bait isn’t all-important, contrary to what many anglers will tell you. Generally, as long as your bait isn’t an unnatural color, you won’t see much difference between any two colors.
Red may be one of the best to use, though, because it makes the bass think your lure is wounded prey. Don’t get stuck on that, though, because it’s much more important to fish in the right spot with the wrong color than the other way around! There are much more important factors to stress over than bait color.
Being Afraid To Change It Up
One of the worst things you can do is to get caught up in the past, thinking that one legendary weekend you pulled in the most fish ever will repeat itself. Just because you had great success at a spot one time doesn’t mean you won’t succeed in other areas.
There are so many factors determining whether an area will be teeming with fish that it’s not worth getting stuck on the time or place. Maybe you fished before a storm without realizing it or any other number of variables that you can’t possibly keep track of.
Regardless, it pays off to try many different areas when bass fishing as long as they fit your criteria – adequate cover for the bass to hide, low light, and so on. As long as you adapt what you know about the fish to your fishing technique and practices, you should be more likely to succeed.
It can be easy to get complacent in your technique and practices when fishing. After all, it is primarily for relaxation and having fun. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t improve to give yourself the best chances of success. Improving your skills will give you a greater sense of satisfaction and motivation in life.
Fishing can be frustrating when you aren’t experiencing much luck, but there are plenty of tips to optimize your next weekend out at the lake. As long as you’re vigilant, focused, and continually striving to educate yourself, you can always improve at becoming an expert angler.