Catching Bass

Vacation time and fishing are usually associated in the mind of the average family who like the outdoors. Naturally the first question that comes to mind, is where do we go ?

This is not a hard question for most of us, but for the beginning fishing family don’t fret because some of the best bass fishing is near. No matter the destination.

The big mouth bass (and there isn’t a more abundant game fish in the world for the average fisherman. The big mouth bass has been called many things, like Oswego, black, green, moss and lake bass. It’s natural habitat is east of the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico to the Hudson Bay.

Thanks to the wildlife departments the big mouth bass has been transplanted for years all over the United States and can be caught in any part of the country. The bass is a prolific breeder and a voracious feeder.

He multiplies fast enough to to keep up the supply, always a hungry and a ready biter. He loves clear quiet water with little to no current and requires lots of vegetation in the water to furnish feeding grounds and hiding places. He lives comfortably in lakes and sluggish rivers, provided the water isn’t too muddy. The clearer the water the better he thrives and he live better in warm water than colder water. Usually, any water that is comfortable enough for man to bath in outdoors is about the right temperature for bass.

Their natural food consists of minnows, crawfish, frogs, insect larvae and the actual insects. One strange trait of bass is that in most areas the bass feed on the same thing, meaning some lakes may be “frog lakes” while others may be “minnow lakes” . Frog lakes tend to be more shallow without inlet’s or outlet’s and having a steady growth of cattails and water lilies growing in parts of the lake.

Minnow Lakes

In lakes where bass feed mostly on minnow’s is usually large bodies of water that have fresh streams flowing into and out bringing food for the bass. In this case the minnow may be the proper bait, even though there may be bays in the same lake where the bass can get on the frogs and then of course you want to be throwing a frog bait.

Other lakes, usually small deep lakes with rocky or sandy shores without much vegetation where the caddis fly breeds. Such a lake is usually a good fly lake, because bass living on winged insects and the grubs that live in the water before they hatch and become winged insects.

Some say if you want the best sport in bass fishing, find a good “fly lake” and cast your flies during the early morning and late afternoon, then you can experience all the thrills that most anglers never get to experience.

The bass has one characteristic that fisherman has never been able to understand. This is the habit of striking at almost anything that is moving and appears to be alive, regardless of what natural food is available to them. This habit makes it possible to catch bass with a spoon, an artifical minnow, a bucktail or most artificial baits that are made for bass fishing which resemble nothing that is actually a natural prey in the waters in which they live every day.

To be a successful bass fisherman, your fishing gear should consist of a stiff casting rod, line and reel so you can cast from a kayak or boat by reeling your bait up. If your fishing in a weeded lake, you had better have a weed-less hook on your line. These hooks have a have a thin wire guard that keeps you from snagging or getting hung up on the weeds, but doesn’t interfere with the bass biting your bait.

If you know the fish habits and the body of water that your on, then early morning and late afternoon is usually the best time to fish for bass. The old idea that hot days are not better than cool cloudy days may not be true. Some say the fish it’s easier to locate the fish on the hot days because like humans they seek out the shade.

When your floating down near the banks of a lake or river on your kayak or boat and you spot a thick bunch of weeds that are in a natural feeding area, that’s where Mr. bass may be staging waiting on a meal. Maybe a log sticking half way out of the water near a weed patch near the edge of the water, under that log in the shade of that log you may find Mr. Bass waiting and if the end of the log closest to shore is in about four or five feet of water the bass will be on the shady side within two feet of the shore, usually. Next time your fishing on a hot day or any day, cast your bait so it will hit near that spot on a hot day and see what happens. Just a word of advice, make sure you have a good grip on your fishing rod. When he hits it, he will head to deeper water like a torpedo.

When fishing rocks or weeds, lily pads brush or tree tops which furnishes shade and a place to hide and ambush their prey, the bass will usually be there balancing on his fins, motionless and waiting for food to swim by. He maybe waiting on the bait your throwing, wouldn’t that be nice for you. When that food source that appeals to him swims by, he will react in a flash at a speed so great that seems unimaginable. Sometimes he will not take any bait unless it is in a foot or so of his nose and other times he might swim twenty feet to get a meal. He may even strike as soon as the bait hits the water or jump into the air and take the bait before it hits the water. He may not even notice the splash that the bait makes when it hits the water or may follow along behind the bait for several feet while your reeling it in and watch and then suddenly strike right at what he thinks is the last opportunity and attempt to race away with it.

If he strikes in shallow water, you should set the hook immediately. A hard set or pull that sets the hook through the flesh and bone of his mouth, but don’t jerk it because you may rip it out or tear his mouth and lose the fish.

If you get a hit in deep water, allow him to run with it for a few seconds. this is because when a fish strikes in deep water usually doesn’t swallow the bait upon the strike and will swim to away before attempting to swallow. the difference is that when he is hunting for food in shallow water, he is usually hunting while hungry and grabs the bait and swallows it immediately.

Bass are usually a shollow water feeder, cruising along from mere inches up to six feet of water looking for food. If the vegetation is thick, he may come so shallow that his back is sticking out of the water.

When you get a strike and set the hook, make sure you keep your line tight no matter where he goes or what he does. His mouth is big and has a lot of bones held together with nothing but skin which may tear when a hook is set and he is trying to get away. Some fisherman say drop your rod tip when a bass leaps so that he doesn’t throw your bait. The best advice I have had and used, is always keep your rod at a forty-five degree angle and the pressure on the line. This will help if he decides to run toward you instead of away and allows you to take up any slack that you may have in your line.

Don’t try to man handle the fish, allow him to wear himself down. That reminds me of a fight between two boys when I was a teenager. These two boys got into a fight and the cops came. The younger cop got out of the car and started to rush to them, the older cop said holed up young man. Let them finish and then they won’t be so hard to put in the back of the squad car.

A gentle wind, just enough to make small waves on the water is usually better weather conditions than a dead calm day. Why you may ask? well, on a lightly breeze day the water is broken up makes it easier to approach the fish without disturbing them. The shadow that your boat or kayak gives off won’t be noticed because the water is constantly moving.

On calm days, the bass are on alert for anything that isn’t natural to their habitat and will rush to cover when he sees a moving shadow of feels a splash on normal still water. It may not even be your boat or kayak that alarms him, it’s the disturbance of the calm water that alerts him to something that isn’t natural to the area. Usually the splash of a bait is not too alarming to the fish because other fish and frogs are leaping and jumping all the time, even on calm days.

Bass fishing usually is not hard in most area’s where bass are found, if you remember the fishes habits, likes and not likes. The rest you can gather through experience and trail and error.

When you decide your going bass fishing, study the area or body of water you plan o fishing. do this so that you know what type of bait gives you the best chance of landing a good bass or any bass . If your not sure which bait to begin throwing, the minnow has been a go to bait since fish were put on this earth, because bass love’em. Remember, what ever your using for bait, it must look alive and be fresh. Bass kill’s it’s own food and it never feeds on dead food.

Always study the character of the shore and what type of bottom the area you plan on fishing has. This should help you in determining where to start fishing and at what depths. Different depths and different cover call for different methods and what the reaction to your bait may be.

An inexperience boat handler can make or break a good day of fishing. If they get you too close to the bank or not far enough away which makes you attempt to cast in an awkward way can mean the difference of a good day of fishing and a miserable one. Always keep things quiet when fishing, no dropping things in the boat or loud talking which may frighten the fish away.

When you get a strike and you set the hook, keep your line tight and allow him to wear down a little, more fish have been lost right at the boat than have ever been landed. Because ever bass has just one more kick in him, always~

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