Largemouth Bass Fishing Tips
Largemouth bass fishing tips can be broken down by seasonal patterns. Pre-spawn and the spawn itself, post-spawn and summer, and then the cool down period that leads into winter. Each “season” has definite go-to lures and behavior changes from in the bass.
Spring Largemouth Bass Fishing Tips
From the time the ice leaves in the north, and the water warms to the spawning period, bass move from their wintering areas to spawning beds. This cold water period will produce opportunities to catch great numbers of bass. Some of the largest bass will come to the shallows and reproduction is the main driving force. Early spring is marked by lethargic bass that desire warmer shallower waters. It's not because they are uncomfortable, but rather the drive to build nests that bring them in. Warmer water increases activity and metabolism in the cold blooded bass which increases feeding. Largemouth are not interested in chasing fast moving baits and will locate themselves near access to deep water because of the unstable spring weather conditions. Water temperature and frontal weather is the on/off switch to largemouth activity levels. It is not uncommon for them to retreat to deeper water when cold overcast skies and spring storms roll in.
Largemouth move to emergent vegetation and depressions in shallow bays and channels off the main lake. Daytime warming from the sun is like a warm sauna that stimulates the bass. Steep drop offs along shallow flats, the upstream ends of reservoirs and irregular channels are bass magnets this time of year. Where ever the water is warming the quickest near the spawning area is where to concentrate your first efforts of the season. Areas in contact with from the prevailing winds that meet this description are great hot spots. Ice goes out, and the water warms in these spots first.
This period of time that leads up to the spawn is when slow soft plastics really dominate. A good largemouth bass fishing tip is use downsized tubes and finesse worms fished slowly on a
will out perform the faster spinner baits and hard plastics. A three inch tube on a small jig could be your best bet. Cast it out and let it sink on a limp line. It will spiral down getting the attention of the largemouth in the area. What next? Nothing. Let it sit as long as you can stand it. At least 20 to 30 seconds. The bass already know it's there, but they won't come rushing in for it. A great spring largemouth fishing tip is add scent to your soft plastic baits to further entice them. If the bait lands near a bass it may sit and ponder it for awhile until annoyed enough to bite. A good fish or garlic scent will help make up his mind.
Another deadly soft plastic around the spawn is the lizard. A
lizard fished on inside weed edges, and inlets to spawning areas with access to deep water, can produce the biggest largemouth of the year. The lizard bait is just know for producing giant bass. Use a light bullet sinker to give a slow, gentle fall and swim and pause the lizard back to you. Again, a lot of the hook ups will be on the drop, and on the pause. Check also for sunken humps and depressions around the spawning bays.
Probably the most consistent early season lure is a
wacky rigged worm.
It doesn't get any simpler, but it really works.
The bite is not aggressive so a good spring largemouth fishing tip is use fluorocarbon line, or at least a leader of it will improve your chances. A quick ratio reel to take up the slack it also necessary to set the hook before the largemouth discover they have been tricked. A lot of the bites will be as the baits sinks to the bottom so watch the line very carefully. The sensitivity of the fluorocarbon will also help transmit the vibration of the strike. Patience and vertical presentations will give the best results this time of year.
Post-Spawn And Summer Largemouth Bass Fishing Tips
The next period of post-spawn and summer is the longest part of the year for most fishermen. This is also the time a lot of anglers hang up their pole, and need a few choice bass fishing tips. Due to the fact most people only learn how to fish stick up or visible cover in the shallows, success goes downhill after the spawn. The usual shallow water tactics will continue to work a while because not all the bass spawn at once. After all the bass have spawned, the larger females move off the shallow cover and retreat to the deeper water. Often suspending and cruising, they can be difficult to catch. The males will remain with the fry for a month or so in the shallows. Anglers will notice fewer and fewer catches on their normal early spring fishing spots. This can be mis-interpreted as all the bass being caught by other anglers. Not so.
The fact is that summertime can be very difficult to fish. Even the best bass fishing tips can't stop increased boat traffic and unstable weather that can put the bass in a horrible mood. The main purpose of the bass at this point is to feed and recuperate from the spawn. They mainly relate to bait fish and this is the time for the bluegill and shad connection. Most northern lakes have a strong bluegill population and they make up a lot of the summer diet of the bass. Other lakes from the south to west have big shiner and shad populations. This is useful in color and shape selection, but the point is this is horizontal presentation time. Not all largemouth will be in the depths, but most of the largest fish won't come to the shallows during the day. Spinner baits and deep crank baits rule after the spawn. The top water action is also great during this warm water period. Bait fish are feeding on small critters in the upper water column. Bass quite often are looking for bluegills and shad suspended high over deep water structures such as sunken humps with weed cover. Other great summertime structures are the saddle between points, transitions from weed to hard bottoms, and breaklines in the 10 to 15 foot depth. When working underwater objects, cast from several different angles. Don't just cast 3 or 4 times and leave. Really work the object. You are trying to irritate the bass into striking.
Top water is very effective in shallow water at dawn and dusk. During the dog days of summer, top water in the middle of the day can be the most fun you ever had bass fishing. Bluegills will ride high and you can see them breaking the surface. Every once in a while you'll see them rush and scatter. This is a bass slamming into the school and feeding. The largemouth are looking up and looking for easy pickings. Throw a Skitter Pop for calm water, or Skitter Prop if there is some chop on the surface. Color is not so critical as noise and movement. Aggressive rips and pauses will get some explosive strikes this time of year.
Spinner baits are effective most of the year, but really shine this time of the year. They imitate a bait fish with the right color skirt. The have the flash and vibration to help bass locate them in stained and dark water. Fished high in the water they will trigger the most aggressive bass. Drop them along the deep weed edge and slow roll them for summer cold front bucket mouths. Even pouting largemouth can be triggered by this tempting treat.
Deep diving crank baits like the Shad Rap and DT series will cover lots of water and land some bruisers. Look for isolated hard bottom areas with some ambush cover for the largemouth. Boulders and wood are great and gives you contact points. You want your crank baits to hit bottom, bounce off wood and rip the tops off weeds. After the impact with an object, pause and rip the bait away. This is how the bait will trigger aggressive reaction strikes. During the warm water period of late to mid summer, the bass are well fed and reaction strikes will be the best bass technique.
The most important largemouth bass fishing tip is to locate ALL the structure in the area you are fishing. See the "fishing lakes" article at
bass fishing tips.
The big bass will often spread out on several of the structures mentioned above. Yes, many bass will be shallow as well. No structure or depth should be left unchecked. Cold fronts can send largemouth back to their pre-spawn staging areas. They will also push largemouth right to the bottom in heavy weed cover. Being well fed, this pouting can go on for days in the worst fronts. The fishing is not over, it just changes. Slower and smaller baits, even spring time baits come back out and still produce. Bass fishing is a game of averages and there are no absolutes. The only constant is change. Our best hope is to catch Some of the bass ALL of the time!
Fall to Winter Largemouth Bass Fishing Tips
The dreaded cool down period. This is the most neglected part of the bass calender. Anglers are thinking about football and deer hunting, not bass fishing. There is nothing wrong with this, but if you never fished late summer to the winter, you are missing some of the best opportunities for the biggest bass of your life!
The bass return to their shallow spawning areas, but this time it is only to feed. The are preparing for a slow down in metabolism due to cooling water temperature. Depending on where you live this can go from slight to extreme changes in activity. In the frozen north, water temperature will drop into the 30's and the lakes and reservoirs will freeze over. The bass are more tolerant of cold conditions and will stay active longer. A winter cold snap in Florida can shut off the bass fishing all together. No matter where you are, look for the bass to feed shallow and then gradually retreat to wintering holes. After the turn over in northern lakes, the bass are going to be deep.
In reservoirs, concentrate on irregularities in creek beds, feeder creeks where they contact the main creek beds and depressions in deeper flats. A word about old feeder creeks. The ones that run ALL the way into the shore with a definite cut out bottom are the best. Points and inside turns, logs on the creek bed and breaks in the “bank” of the creek are also great contact points.
Winter largemouth bass fishing tips are the reverse of spring. Scattered bass will begin to group up tighter and tighter and retreat to pre-spawn gathering areas. Tight schools of big bass means a smaller strike zone, but when you find them, HANG ON! A return to these cold water areas means a return to cold water tactics. A small 4 inch worm on a tiny jig head dragged slowly on the bottom will greatly outperform horizontal presentations. This time of year is fishing the spot on the spot. Your mapping and homework are everything now because the strike zone shrinks with the degrees of water temperature. It is ALL about drop speed. Experiment with downsized baits and weight sizes. Deep suspending crank baits fished with a long pause and short pulls can also land some fish. Once these and spinner baits stop producing, break out the plastics.