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Largemouth Bass Fishing

Fishing for Largemouth Bass

Fish Species Spotlight: Largemouth Bass Largemouth Bass Fishing Largemouth bass fishing is the most popular freshwater sport fish in the world. The largemouth bass is distributed across the world because of it’s great fishing. From the west side of the USA all the way over to Asian countries like Japan. Because of the amount of fishermen, both professional and recreational, that target largemouth bass, we know a lot about them, and there is a limitless amount of fishing gear released all the time for targeting bass. There is a large number of tournaments, both pro and non-pro, for largemouth bass fishing across the USA. Most of the fishing channels, magazines, and online resources are geared for bass fishing fans. World Record Largemouth Bass The two world record sized Largemouth Bass ever caught, as per the International Game Fish Association, yes two, there is actually a tie for the world record largemouth bass. They were caught in 1955 and 2009, and they both weighted 22 lb 4 oz. Weight - 22 lb 4 oz Location 1 - Montgomery Lake, Georgia, USA Location 2 - Lake Biwa, Shiga, Japan Catch Date 1- 02-Jun-1932 Catch Date 2 - 02-Jul-2009 Angler 1 - George W. Perry Angler 2 - Manabu Kurita Largemouth Bass Seasons One of the greatest things about this fish is that you can catch Largemouth Bass pretty much year round, on any day of the year, rain or shine, day or night. The only thing you need to know is where the fish are located during each season as their patterns change. Great Lures for Largemouth Bass Catching Largemouth Bass in the Spring Spring time is one of the best times to fish for largemouth bass as they migrate close to shore for their annual spring spawning, which lasts several months once the temperatures begin to warm up. Spawning peaks around March or April in most places. As the fish that are regularly out in deeper water begin to move in close to shore for the spawn, this is one of the best times to have a shot at catching a real Lunker Bass, to give you a shot at some real trophy sized fish in a more confined area closer to shore. The bass will linger in structures throughout the day, such as vegetation, fallen trees, and docks. After the females lay their eggs into the nest fanned out by the males, the males will continue to guard the nests until the eggs hatch. Largemouth Bass Spring Time Target Areas Shoreline Vegetation Docks and Other Structures On the Bass Spawning Beds Catching Largemouth Bass Near Shoreline Vegetation Largemouth bass love vegetation. It gives them shade, and good cover to hide in where they can stalk their prey such as bluegill, perch, and other sunfish that may swim by. They can also hide from predators. The best way to catch largemouth bass is to cast in front of the vegetation along the shoreline while walking the shoreline, or if in a fishing kayak or boat, to cast into the shoreline vegetation. You can your lures or bait towards the shoreline if you are on the water or along the shoreline if you are walking the bank. You can also cast a rubber frog, rubber lizard, or rubber worm in front of that vegetation, or out into the lily pads and vegetation using a weedless hook. Catching Largemouth Bass Near Docks and Other Structures Largemouth bass will also hide up under docks and other structures. You can cast into these areas, to try to coax them out as they will be lying in wait for bait fish to come by where they can pounce on them. Catching Largemouth Bass on the Spawning Beds The males will guard the nest after the females lay their eggs until the eggs hatch. Some anglers do not like to target the nests because when you pull the males out of the nest, the bluegill and other panfish will swoop in and eat the eggs. However, many anglers practice catch and release with bass, so releasing the male to go back and guard the nest will prevent this. It’s a choice each angler has to make for themselves. When the males guard the nest their main goal is to guard the eggs. They will hammer any baits or lures that you throw into the nest, but one of the more popular lures to use at this time is a rubber crayfish, as the crayfish regularly try to come into the nests to eat the eggs, and the males eliminate the threat immediately. Other baits that work well would be any natural predator to the eggs such as a rubber bluegill or other panfish. Live bluegill or other panfish would also work great in this instance, as the male will destroy the threat and hit it hard. Catching Largemouth Bass in the Summer In the summer months, the water gets much warmer, and the largemouth bass behavior changes, and they become more active, and spend a lot of their time feeding. Bass can be caught all day, and all night. Many anglers switch to fishing for bass at night because it’s cooler at night, which is more comfortable to fish in. The fish feed all night long. The biggest bass of the lake will be deep offshore during most of the day, where the water temperature is more stable, and they can find plenty of bait fish to eat. The big fish will venture closer to shore in the early morning hours when the water is nice and cool to eat bluegill and other panfish. The smaller bass typically stay closer to shore during the day. Most of the fish are typically found in the northwest corner of the lake due to certain light conditions that occur during the summer. Largemouth Bass Summer Time Target Areas Deep Water - Most of the Day Shallow Water - Early Morning Hours Catching Largemouth Bass Offshore With the water temperatures rising in the summer, the largest bass will be found in deeper water. The best way to target these deep water bass would be to troll a live minnow, or imitation minnow type stickbaits lure, deep divers, or a rubber imitation minnow at a slow pace. Catching Largemouth Bass Close to Shore Early in the morning it is best time to target these large bass close to shore with a good topwater plug like a zara spook, or any other lure that you can use the walk the dog technique with to get the attention of these hungry bass. Rubber worms, lizards, crayfish, live minnows, and imitation minnows also work well. You can also use flies to target the bass in the shallow water as well. Catching Largemouth Bass in the Fall You can find Largemouth Bass in the shallow waters in the early fall. As the water temperatures being to drop and get below 80 F the bass need to eat a lot. The shallow waters contain the most food. The fish will gorge on crayfish, minnows, and bugs during this time. As the temperature drop even further, they will move back out into deeper waters. Largemouth Bass Fall Time Target Areas Deep Water - Most of the Day Shallow Water - Early Morning Hours Catching Largemouth Bass Offshore As the season turns to fall, the fish will be spending more and more time offshore in deeper water, except for the little guys that will stay closer to shore in more protected areas. Typical deep water methods will work the best, including trolling with live minnows, or a deep diving lure. You can also slip a large bullet weight on the line with a rubber worm to get them deeper where the fish are hiding. Catching Largemouth Bass Close to Shore During the fall, the larger fish will be found close to shore in the early mornings. As the weather continues to get cooler, the fish will be moving more into the deeper waters, leaving the smaller fish near the shore. You can cast weedless lures, rubber worms, or live bait with a bobber or float near the shoreline around vegetation, docks, or other structures. Catching Largemouth Bass in the Winter Less fishermen target Largemouth Bass in the winter. You can land some big bass during the winter. The winter brings bad weather and winds, that make it harder to fish, but if you can brave the weather you can be highly rewarded with some big Lunker Bass. Bass are very lethargic and slow moving during the winter, so you have to adjust your fishing techniques accordingly. The best way to target a slow lethargic fish is to use a slow lethargic bait. Retrieve your lures slower, troll your baits slower, it’s time to slow things down and add some additional patience to your day of fishing. During the winter, for the most part, the bass stay in deeper waters throughout the day. Largemouth Bass Winter Time Target Areas Deep Water, Deep Structure - Most of the Day Shallow Water - On Warmer Afternoons Catching Largemouth Bass Offshore Largemouth bass will change their feeding patterns as the water temperatures drop to 62 degrees. Bass can be found in underwater structure in deeper water. Crankbaits in crayfish patterns retrieved slowly with periodic stops, will work well. Rubber lizards on a wide gap weighted weedless 1/8 ounce hook will entice the bass to strike. You should use subtle jerks and watch your line for the same coming back which represents a fish strike. Set the hook quickly in the winter, do not delay the hook set as you would in the summer months. Catching Largemouth Bass Close to Shore On warmer afternoons you can try top water lures in the shallows. Frog imitation lures work good in the winter months. Use hard pops, with longer than normal stops, before a slow and steady retrieve. A good rule of thumb with topwater pops is to watch the rings in the water disappear before your retrieve. Many times a strike happens while those rings are rippling. Tackle for Largemouth Bass Largemouth Bass fishing is the biggest recreational fishery in the USA. There is more fishing tackle on the market for bass, and more shelf space dedicated to bass fishing in pretty much any store that carries fishing tackle. That is good news for us fishermen as there is a lot to choose from. Though the large selection makes it hard to choose just the right gear and tackle that you want to buy. A good rule of thumb is to focus your attention around a medium size that can hold ten to twenty pound test line to allow you the excitement of catching the little guys, and be able to catch the big guys as well. Line and Leaders for Largemouth Bass Largemouth Bass fishermen spend a lot of time on the water mastering the skill of catching good numbers of big bass. Fishing line choice is an important one, and the market is flooded with lines of every price range. It’s hard to choose the right one. Bass don’t have any sizable teeth or line cutting features on their body, so that makes the choice easier in that you simply need to find the right size line to handle the weight and fight of the fish you typically catch. Just make sure if you go low on pound test that you don’t forget to adjust your drag so that your line won’t break on a good fighting big bass. Fishing Lines for Largemouth Bass Fishing There are three main types of fishing line materials used for fishing for Largemouth Bass. There is monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided line. We will discuss the pros and cons of each type below. Fishing Line Types for Largemouth Bass Fishing Monofilament Fluorocarbon Braided Line Monofilament Line for Largemouth Bass Fishing For most types of fishing, monofilament is typically the line of choice. Monofilament fishing line is cheaper than other types of fishing line, and the most widely used. Monofilament makes a good choice because it stretches, is virtually invisible under water if you buy the right kind. Monofilament floats more than other line types, which makes your line site on top of the water to help you detect strikes. Monofilament is not as invisible as fluorocarbon lines, but you can find good monofilament fishing line that is virtually invisible. Monofilament can get little nicks in the line, and feel rough and break a little easier at these nicks and rough spots, so it’s important to rub your fingers up and down your line, and be sure to cut off any line that doesn’t feel perfectly smooth. I usually cut off eight to ten feet of my line, to ensure the line that was going through my pole and tied to the lure are gone when I start a new trip. The stretch in monofilament line decreases the hook setting power for those long distance hook sets. Fluorocarbon Line for Largemouth Bass Fishing Many bass fishermen prefer fluorocarbon line as it is virtually invisible underwater. It’s a bit pricey, so some anglers will use regular monofilament line, or braided line, as their main line, but use fluorocarbon as their leader, so that the part of the line that the fish see is virtually invisible. In this instance, I prefer a two feet leader or more. Fortunately bass do not have sharp teeth, or sharp parts on their bodies, so you don’t have to have a high pound test leader. Anywhere from ten to twenty pound is sufficient for largemouth bass fishing. Braided Line for Largemouth Bass Fishing Braided line is a good choice for strong durable line that has a smaller diameter than other lines. Braided line has no stretch to it at all, which is a benefit when setting the hook from large distances like when you are long lining behind a boat trolling. Braided line has a thinner diameter than monofilament or fluorocarbon lines, which makes it easier to cast farther distances. This is a great benefit for casting any type of lure, as you can cover more ground with each cast, increasing your chances of catching a big Largemouth Bass. The big draw back is that the pound test will be higher, and when you get a good snag it is harder to break and you may be fighting it for a while. Another draw back is if you are fishing on a boat with several fishermen, and you are the only one using braid. As soon as someone with monofilament or fluorocarbon line gets a big fish on, or a snag, and if it hits a braided line, it will cut the monofilament or fluorocarbon almost immediately. So you have to be cognizant as to what type of line others will be using. Rods and Reels for Largemouth Bass Fishing There are two main types of rod and reel setups for largemouth bass fishing. Spinning, and baitcasting which is also known as conventional. When looking for a good fishing reels, besides quality and type, a larger gear ratio is ideal. Gear ration refers to how many times the spool will turn with one full turn of the reel handle. A medium sized reel capable of holding 10 pound test line is perfect for most bass fishing techniques. For rods, you really need to think about the length of the rod and the action of the rod so that you have a nimble enough rod to feel the bite and feel the fight, but heavy enough to pull in those big lunker bass. Typically a Medium or Medium Heavy rod will be ideal for most situations. Rod and Reel Types for Largemouth Bass Fishing Spinning Low Profile Baitcasting Spinning Rods and Reels for Largemouth Bass Fishing Spinning tackle is widely used by most fishermen. They are the easiest to learn and use. Spinning rods and reels are perfect for largemouth bass fishing. A good spinning rod for largemouth bass fishing is six foot to seven foot with medium action. Most largemouth bass fishing is done with lures that vary quite a bit. When using rubber worms, small jigs, and top-water lures, you might want to go with a good fast action rod that has a softer tip to allow you to work the lure better with more sensitivity. When you fish with deep spoons or lures that dive, you would want to go with a rod that has medium action. Baitcasting Rods and Reels for Largemouth Bass Fishing Low profile baitcasting rods and reels, also known as conventional, are designed for catching big lunker bass. If you have caught a bass over five pounds, you know that they pull hard and put up a big fight. Many times, when you hook up with a big bass near vegetation or structures in the water, the fish will pull you right into it and get you tangled up which can results in a lost fish. The reel on a baitcasting rod actually sits on top of the rod, rather than below like on a spinning reel, and the line is spooled parallel to the rod, giving you much more leverage for pulling those big lunkers out from structures. The other benefits to baitcasting tackle are their longer casting abilities and greater accuracy, two important things when trying to hit a certain area from afar. Fly Fishing Rods for Largemouth Bass A good quality 8 or 9 weight fly rod with a stiff backbone and fast action tip is great for catching Largemouth bass. Though you won’t typically be catching ten pound bass when fishing with a fly rod since the larger bass are typically pretty deep, where your fly won’t get to, but when they come into the shallower water they are fair game! A fly rod will allow you to get a far cast, and cast some pretty large flies to entice the bass to strike! Fishing Rod Action Rating The action rating of a fishing rod is determined by where the rod flexes along the blank or backbone of the rod. A faster action rod will flex mostly near the tip of the rod. A moderate action rod will flex mostly near the middle of the blank, and a slower action rod will flex down into the butt of the rod above the reel. Most bass lures will do well with a fast action rod for greater sensitivity to allow you to finesse your lures. Bait Fishing for Largemouth Bass Best Live Bait for Fishing for Largemouth Bass The best bait for fishing for largemouth bass is to use live bait. Bass will usually eat anything that comes by them, but they do have a preference for a natural live bait. Fishing with shiner minnows, worms, panfish, bluegill, crayfish, frogs, lizards, and shad minnows are all a sure bet to enticing those big Lunker bass to strike. Baitfish that come from the body of water that they are in will increase your chances as it will look more natural to them since they regularly see and eat these baits. You can choose to buy your minnows, but that can get expensive. You can also choose to use a tiny hook and a small piece of bait, bread, or tiny piece of donut to catch all the minnows you can use. It is fun too. You can also use a minnow trap with bait, bread, or a donut as bait as well. I typically throw out my minnow net and go out fishing with lures and check my trap every half hour until I have enough minnows to use for the day. Live Bait for Largemouth Bass Fishing: Minnows - Shiners Shad Minnows Night Crawlers Bluegill Crayfish Panfish Frogs Lizards Largemouth Bass Fishing with Lures Best Lures for Largemouth Bass Fishing Largemouth bass are mostly targeted with artificial lures. Bass are large and aggressive. They really like to chase down any prey that swims by their stalking hangout. They will also hit a lure if it irritates them and makes them angry. See more fishing tackle in our Fishing Gear and Tackle store. Soft Bait Lures for Largemouth Bass Largemouth bass really love soft bait lures. The best and most effective lure in my experience has been a rubber worm. Typically a black worm, or a black worm with a chartreuse tip, work best for me. Usually in the six or seven inch size. I prefer the berkley power worm with a weedless hook. Other colors, brands, and styles will work. Rubber lizards, crayfish, imitation minnows, there are so many amazing styles. They are cheap enough to buy a few styles and colors to give them a try. I like to cast out into the vegetation, along the shoreline, and up under over hanging branches to entice the bass to bite. If a little extra weight is needed I will use a jig head with a rubber tail, and bounce it off of the bottom as I reel it in. The added noise and commotion can irritate the bass to attack and it’s fish on! Hard Bait Lures for Largemouth Bass Hard bait lures that look like little swimming bait fish are great lures for largemouth bass. There are deep diving lures, stickbaits, top water lures, and lures that will swim just below the surface. The best styles look like bait fish, crayfish, frogs, and so many other styles. It’s good to experiment and find what works best for your particular water. I prefer lures that have silver, chartreuse, blues, and reds on the lure. White works pretty well too as it is similar to a shad, which is a natural prey to many of the waters you will find bass in. Spinnerbaits and Buzzbaits for Largemouth Bass Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits are probably the second most common lure people think of when they think bass, and include one or more than a few small blades attached and swinging from the top. The lure is noisly as heck and create quite a wake as they are retrieved on or very near the surface. They are almost a topwater lure but deserve a class of their own. Topwater Lures for Largemouth Bass Fishing Topwater lures are made to make a commotion on the surface of the water to get the attention of the big lunker bass lurking just below the surface stalking prey. Sometimes they strike to feed, and sometimes the commotion makes them mad and they attack it. Topwater lures are great when you see bass jumping and feeding. Pay attention to what’s jumping though, sometimes it’s a cove full of carp and boy is that a hot mess. Cast your topwater lure, let it sit there until the rings disappear from the land, and pull it in a little or jerk it and pop it, and let the rings disappear again. Many strikes happen just after the commotion of the lure and you are waiting to make it pop or move again. Flies for Largemouth Bass Fishing Fly fishing for largemouth is a lot of fun. Fly fishing gear is usually more light weight and you can really feel the fight of these large bass. Bass like larger than normal fly fishing flies. Look for flies that are larger than an inch in size, and look similar to anything that could be flying in the area. Bass will bite the flies seconds after it hits if there’s one in that area, be ready for great top water jumps from these bass when they are feeding on the top. Largemouth Bass Fishing Largemouth bass fishing is where it all started for me. I grew up by a small lake within walking distance and I fished there nearly every day as a kid. I continued bass fishing into my adulthood, and it really brings me back to my childhood when I get into the bass in the shallows and pull in a lot of bass. My old tricks and techniques still work to this day. My best go to methods for bass fishing are live bluegill, or other minnows, rubber worms, and crankbaits. I have the most fun with rubber worms and minnows though, with a good monofilament line. I cast out, and my slack line floats out over the water, I lift my rod to pull my worm up off the bottom, reel in a few feet of line, and let my slack line just float out there on the water. You will watch a twitch of the line and you know what’s coming. Then the twitch gets bigger, the slack starts tightening, and Wham! It’s fish on! Nothing gets the adrenaline going like that, each and every time. Get out there on the water, teach a kid the joy of largemouth bass fishing, and have fun! Tight Lines, and thank you friend for being a part of our online family. How to Drop Shot for Largemouth Bass Everything You Need to Know See more fishing tackle in our Fishing Gear and Tackle store. Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Mendenhall Outdoors team. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. 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