If you’re a bass fisherman, then you already know catching big bass is more than just a sport; it’s a lifestyle. The thrill of one strong pull from a fighting fish is hard to beat. However, the process and caution needed to catch these fish are rigorous. The techniques work equally as well today as they did back in the 1950s, although the type of tackle you’re using is likely different.
During the winter months, the best way to fish for bass is to target them on deep structures such as ledges, rock piles, and hump areas, especially during cold fronts. Often bass will be holding on to the bottom, waiting for baitfish to swim by, and when they do, the bass will crush them.
These warm-water fish are found in freshwater lakes, rivers, ponds, and reservoirs across the U.S. They grow to be huge — sometimes over 20 pounds or more! Bass thrives in temperatures of 65 degrees and higher.
How to Snag Big Bass
Bass is a strong and elusive prey. To catch one, you need a combination of the right strategy, equipment, bait, and most importantly, patience.
1. Know Where You Catch Them
We have lightly skimmed over this part and how bass like to situate themselves in camouflaged spots, both for protection and prey anticipation. As a bass angler, you’ll need to do the same.
Follow bass to these places that have a lot of weeds and debris, around the banks, and areas that can have deeper cave-like structures where bass would usually hide, waiting to strike.
Depth is another point that we can’t forget. Most of the time, you’ll find that bass isn’t a top feeder. That rule can be broken at times, but primarily, they’ll be present at different depths of your waterfront according to the weather, time of the day, season, and food availability.
These habits you’ll learn by experience as you get to know this specific waterfront better, and understand its circumstances.
2. Know When to Fish, and When Not to Fish
If your local bass will start showing its gills around the afternoon as they bask in the minimal sunlight and enjoy the activity, there is no point in setting camp at 3 AM. Nevertheless, there are very few strict rules for timing bass and many other species.
Generally speaking, fishing for bass should be done during quieter times such as early mornings and late afternoons as the sun is just rising or setting. At this time, bass is moving freely, and its eyesight is optimal, so it can spot your bait and go for it.
As for night bass fishing, you do need to be well prepared with the right tools to take on that mission. Still, we’d advise you to keep the night fishing to the warmer days, as only then will bass use the night coolness to poke its fins around and search for food.
Otherwise, if it’s too cold, the fish’s metabolism will go down, they won’t be as active, and your trip won’t prove rewarding.
As all avid anglers know, the change of seasons has the most significant impact on the behavior of different fish species, and bass is no different. So, let’s get to know one of the best seasons for you to pack up your gear and start hunting big bass.
The beginning of spring is known to be quite unpredictable; as we shift from the coldness of the winter to warmer tides, bass will start to wake up and search for food. Yet, they don’t do that aggressively till the end of the spring as they prepare for the spawning season.
Hence, this is one of the best times in the year to catch bass, as they’ll bite at anything they perceive as food. Another piece of advice is to stick to bigger baits, as the big bass doesn’t want to have its meals divided into several chunks.
Get them hooked on one big meal, so that you can snag at 10-20 pounder bass and return victorious.
As the spring ends, so does the spooning season. The bass present in your waterfront is most probably famished and entirely out of energy; hence, they frenzy-feed in order to make up for all the power they’ve lost.
Nonetheless, keep in mind that bass doesn’t particularly like the sun. So, if you’re fishing on a very hot day, you want to drop your baits and rigs deeper into the lake. As the temperature starts to cool down, start lifting your baits as the fish will migrate up the water column to continue its search for food.
During the fall, you’ll find that the feeding continues and spreads more efficiently throughout the day. However, due to the changes in the weather, warning bells will start ringing inside the small heads of bass, telling them that winter is coming and they’ll be almost hibernating for the next three months.
They’ll need to bulk up on food. Still, keep in mind bass has no preference for extreme temperatures. So if it’s an extremely cold day in the fall, you won’t be seeing much bass, and you’ll need to drop your baits lower to find them.
Bass will be seeking protection down the water column. All in all, always go for the time with moderate temperatures; not too cold, not too warm, Goldilocks style!
Unfortunately, winter isn’t amongst the best times to catch bass because, as we’ve mentioned previously, the cold temperature and wind drafts tend to slow down the metabolism of this finicky fish.
Subsequently, they lay low and make do with what little food they can snag. Nevertheless, if you want to try your hand at winter bass fishing, then try to catch the warmest times of the day, most probably around noon.
Plus, if you’re really serious about this winter sport, you can start studying the heat patterns in your preferred bass fishing waterfront. That will help you expect the behavior of the bass inhabiting it much better.
3. Explore Better Equipment
Expanding your fishing tackle box is always an enticing option. Nonetheless, when seeking out bass, that must be done with their behavior and size in mind. You don’t need the most luxurious and expensive rod-reel combo to catch bass.
When it comes to fishing rods, you need something that will give and take without breaking and long enough to cover a considerable fishing area but without making things too complicated. So, a medium-heavy rod will be able to capture huge bass and bring it back to you without snapping. As for length, 7-8 feet is perfectly adequate. Our favorites include:
Bass is definitely one of the most aggressive fish species out there, which means that a spinning reel can’t hold its own against it. We need something substantial and fortified by neat systems, yet, not too complicated, which leaves us at the door of baitcasters.
With baitcasters, you have revolutionary drag systems, robust gearing systems, and much-updated spools. Our picks include:
When using a baitcaster, the drag system will take responsibility for the tautness of your line. Hence, when picking a line, we need to focus on strength and low maintenance. Monofilament and braided lines are both exceptional options for large bass fishing. Actually, a 10-pound line of either of these two will help you win hands-down. We’re in love with:
4. Know Your Tactics and Improve Them
The reason why bass fishing is so popular is how invading this fish is; it’s present everywhere around us, which makes fishing it both the easiest and most challenging task for avid anglers. The solution here is to improve your tactics. Bass will accept almost any lure, bait, or rig they get.
Large bass tends to form the beds and stay near them in camouflaged spots where they can watch the rest of the waterfront and where other small fish are used to passing in front of them for nutrition.
This makes site fishing an interesting approach as you learn not to spook the fish. You shouldn’t go straight into the bed, yet try to circle it and entice the fish with your bait. More often than not, you’ll find that the bass will approach and circle, then bite at it.
Rigs are some of the most efficient options for fishing large species in general. One of their many merits is that you can buy them ready-made or tweak them yourself. Besides, you can enhance them in many ways.
First, we have the Carolina rig, a specialist in fishing the deep waters mostly likely inhabited by bass, according to the weather and temperature. It stays at the bottom of the water column by keeping up to 2 ounces of weight.
Surprisingly, this weight doesn’t inhabit or entangle the action of the lure itself. It’s still enticing for bass to see it and come bite.
On the other hand, we have the umbrella, which was quite the revolution in 2011 when it was first introduced. In simple words, you have one long wire surrounded by four other wires, each one of them holding a different bait, creating the shape of an umbrella.
Big bass is the hallmark of any great angler. In fact, big bass can make all the difference between a good day and an exceptional one. They’re easy to catch with knowledge and experience.
Finally, don’t forget to check out our favorites; KastKing Perigee II, PLUSINNO Fishing Rod, and Reel Combos, Abu Garcia Revo MG Xtreme, Pflueger® President® XT, Daiwa Tatula CT, SpiderWire Ultracast Braid, KastKing SuperPower Braided, Seaguar Red Label, and the KastKing Masters Tournament.