Bass fishing is probably the most enjoyable – as well as most practiced – sector of mainland fishing you will find.
However, even the luckiest of anglers won’t have much luck unless they understand how to use their bait, and what bait to use. Hopefully, these bass fishing techniques will help even the greenest novice to land that big ole’ lunker.
Soft Plastics – (or rubber, as many would call them)
Plastics always have and always will be a favorite for multitudes of anglers. They give great flavor and variety to any fisherman’s toolbox.
While there are multitudes of colors, shapes and sizes, there is really no general rule as to what a fish will bite in plastic. Fishing with this bait is simply trial and error.
Many anglers will say that you still need to stick mostly with natural colors, but many trophy bass have been pulled in on a multitude of colors – including red or blue sparkle, gold, neon, etc.
Much of the success with plastics comes simply from technique and not product. So, it pays to practice a lot to get used to your bait. A short hopping or slight jerking method is best with plastics. Simply allow your bait to hit the bottom, and then just use sharp twitches on the pole, allowing the bait to bottom back out each time.
Plastics are usually rigged on a weedless hook, and can therefore be fished both in open water and grassy areas.
It is also important to learn to use the proper weight plastic for the depth of the water.
When fishing with crankbaits, it may be necessary to experiment early in your fishing endeavor to find which style bass are hitting.
Just as varied as the colors are the styles. Crankbaits mostly come in the form of some live food, such as shad, minnows, etc. It is advisable to keep a variety of these handy.
Largemouth bass also usually prefer the shorter, thicker baits as compared to the long thin baits – as these more resemble the types of food they desire.
Crankbaits run at all different depths. This is determined by the size of the bait’s lip. So, be sure to pay attention to this as you determine your water depth. You don’t want to use a 20 ft. deep runner in 4 ft. of water.
When using these baits, you can alter the depth by the speed you crank at. You can make them run up and down in the water – which more imitates natural food – simply by slowing down or speeding up your crank rate. Just changing up the speed now and then will definitely draw the fish’s attention.
In choosing colors it is best in clear water to stay with natural color bait such as silver, white, light gray, etc. If the water becomes murky, brighter bait will be more visible.
The simple design of the spinnerbait makes it one of the most popular – and most effective – baits in the expert anglers box. Its ease of use makes it a favorite for largemouth bass.
Most spinner baits can be used with a simple cast & wind method, without much action. They are usually fished fast and are really good for locating that big boy hiding in the grass.
Underwater vegetation, or tall grass for that matter, is no problem for this type bait. The weedless design makes dragging through the grass much easier, not to mention, this is usually a favorite hiding place for ole’ bucketmouth!
Bass are also known for congregating in these grassy areas, so don’t be afraid to drop a spinner in there, and be ready for a fight.
Wise anglers will include in their stash a variety of blade styles as well as a variety of single or tandem bodies.
You want to be ready for anything.
Frogs & Toads
Frogs and toads, although not as commonly used by most anglers, can be very exciting baits to use, especially when working around or through heavy vegetation or especially pad beds.
While the two are very similar in design, the frog is actually a hollow plastic bait. This allows it to remain on top of the water. Being a floating bait, this gives opportunity to witness the ever-fascinating surface strikes of the largemouth.
Since frogs have an extremely weedless design, they excel when tugged or twitched just slightly through vegetation.
Toads, on the other hand, are made from solid soft plastic. In contrast to the top water frog, the toad sinks slowly toward the bottom when allowed to sit still.
Both work well with gentle twitch and tug motions, imitating live bait.
There are still other types of baits the serious angler may or may not use. But a variety of any combination of the above types of bait will most likely provide, especially the hobbyist angler, a day of excitement not to be soon forgotten.