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There aren’t many summer activities more fun than bass fishing. With a variety of different types of bait that you can use, and excellent bass fishing locations across the globe, you have no excuse not to get out and do some bass fishing this upcoming summer.
To get you prepared, we have four tips that should help lead you to your best bass-fishing season ever this year.
#1. Make Sure You Use the Right Bait
This may seem like an obvious one, and there is never one undisputed “right” choice for bait. You do want to make sure though, that you aren’t using the wrong type of bait.
While fishing is enjoyable for the relaxing nature of being by the water and methodically casting out and reeling in your line, hoping for a strike, you’d much rather be spending that time with an actual chance of catching a fish.
However, if you’re using the wrong bait, you may just be putting on a show for the fish who laugh each time they see your unappetizing lure swim through the water.
Power Fishing vs. Finesse Fishing
When fishing for bass, you have two different options: power fishing, or finesse fishing.
Power fishing is when you go straight at the fish, sometimes using a large, noisy lure like a crankbait, and rapidly reel it in hoping for a quick reactive strike from the bass.
Finesse fishing is when you use a smaller, more life-like looking lure that a fish who’s hungry can’t resist.
An example of power fishing is when you’re going for Northern Pike or Musky up in Canada, while a prime example of finesse fishing is fly fishing on a stream for annoyingly clever trout.
One of the many reasons that make bass fishing unique is that you can employ either technique to slay a big ol’ bass. It all depends on what works best for you…or what lures you happen to have on hand.
When the fish are active, finesse fishing can be more effective because the fish are coming to you. However, when the fish turn off for whatever reason, power fishing is usually your best chance of getting a reflexive strike.
Picking the Right Lure
The most versatile and reliable lure is also the most simplistic: your soft, plastic lure such as a worm. Soft plastic bait comes in all varieties of species, from grubs to crawdads, to the trusty worm. Soft, plastic bait can be used in both shallow, or deep water, and should be a staple in every angler’s tackle box.
Getting more specialized, a spinnerbait is best used when traveling long distances across the water. Spinners are meant to be fast-moving bait, so the further the distance it’s traveling, the better.
For most bait, the depth of the water you’re fishing should be the first determining factor to consider. If you’re fishing in 1-foot of water, you may want to try a lipless crankbait. For deeper water, you’ll want a heavy lure, which has a bill that dips down to allow for a deeper dive. In shallow water, try a light lure, which might be a more extended, slender version of the lipless crankbait. If you’re fishing through weeds in shallow waters, a square-billed crankbait is perfect for powering through and generating interest at the top of the water.
Swimbait can also be deadly, so make sure to load up your tackle box with a few varieties of swimbait. What makes swimbait unique is that the lure is segmented into multiple pieces, all held together in the middle with one or two joints that cause the lure to move through the water as though it’s alive and swimming.
A trick to try with swimbait is when you’re reeling in along the shore or a dock, when you get to the end of the structure, pause and give a quick flick up-and-down with your casting wrist. When mastered, this will cause the bait to suddenly change directions, which is irresistible to whichever poor fish happens to be watching.
#2. Try New Techniques
A fisherman is always learning. Each time out on the water is a brand new and unique experience. With every trip out, try to learn something new or challenge yourself in a new way.
Of course, if the fish are biting and show no sign of slowing down, keep doing whatever you’re doing!
However, if the fish turn off or you luck starts to change, it’s always useful to try out a new lure, a new line or a new technique. Not only might this be a way to turn the fish back on, but it’s also a way for you to continually improve your skills as an angler.
Here are some techniques to try out:
The Carolina Rig Craze
The beauty of this technique is that it takes very little skill to pull off, which contrasts significantly with how effective it is at catching bass.
The man who originated this move, Jack Chancellor, shared the details with readers of Bassmaster magazine in 1983, and then went on to use the Carolina Craze to win the 1985 Classic.
You begin with a worm 4-inches long, with two hooks on its back. Hang the worm from a long leader and a 1-ounce weight. The idea is to drop the worm to the floor as you would a jig, and drag it on the bottom as you reel in. The effect on the bottom of the lake is puffs of silt coming up which resembles crawfish moving excitedly. This combined with a wriggling worm at the end creates a cocktail the bass can’t resist.
A similar technique used at the bottom of a lake is “doodling,” a trick created by Jerry Corlew in 1989. Again, using a 4-inch worm, this time with a darter-head jig, drop the rig down to the bottom of the lake and once there, shake your rod to generate interest from the bass. This technique is best used when on a clear lake when the bass may need a little extra trickery to get their attention.
No technique is more natural to pull off than the Deadstick. Some fish that see a plastic worm sitting idle for as long as one minute will eventually strike. Now and then, try deadsticking it and let your worm sit idle in the water, you never know what might strike.
This is a tried and true technique that you’ll hear from any pro angler. The idea is to get your spinner or crankbait to bounce off a rock or a stump while you reel it in. When a bass sees the bumping action, it looks to him like the movement of a minnow coming out of cover, and he’ll reflexively take the bait.
The Drop Shot
No list of techniques could be complete without mentioning the drop shot. This is a jig-rig technique that can be especially effective when the bass are congregated just off the bottom of the lake.
With a weight at the bottom of a lighter line, tie a hook 18-inches up from the weight. Then take a plastic worm and hook it through the nose so that it’ll lightly dangle. As the weight hits bottom and drags along, the worm will be enticing for any bottom-dwelling bass.
#3. Fish Along the Shore in Early Mornings, and Move Out During the Day
In the early morning during the summertime, fish will be closer to shore to feed in the early morning. As the day progresses, the fish will begin to spread out into more open waters. This is the time to cast off the end of the dock or head out on a boat to deeper waters.
Use the early morning sun to your advantage with spinner baits that will reflect the sun’s rays and generate interest. With a spinner you’ll be able to cover a lot of water in a faster period, allowing you to find the fish faster.
#4. Know Your Enemy
The bass is your enemy, you must know him inside and out. Know that the bass has hard jaws and requires you to set the hook with confidence. Know that the bass feeds on sight and use colorful worms and unique retrievals to generate interest. Know when the bass you’re fishing for are feeding, and when they’re taking a break to adjust your techniques accordingly.
To become the best bass fisherman you can be, you need to know everything there is to know about the type of bass you’re fishing for, and how the seasons and water conditions will affect their behavior at any given time of day. The more you know, the better prepared and more successful you’ll be.
Bottom Line on Summer Bass Fishing
Summertime is the best time to fish for bass because anything goes. No matter what lures you like to fish with, or what techniques you use, summer provides a time and place for it all.
Hopefully, you can take some of these tips and apply them this summer to have your best bass fishing season yet.