Banner Bass Fishing For Beginners
The most popular and well-known game fish in the United States is the largemouth bass. Weighing up to 25 pounds and measuring nearly 30 inches, these fish are known throughout North America as a truly great fishing experience.
Millions of people fish for bass each year, but many of them are new to the sport and can get confused by all the bass fishing tips and techniques, videos, articles, thousands of bass lure options, and different fishing rods to pair with each one.
If you’re new to bass fishing, you want to know how to catch more bass and how to catch bigger bass. We’ve condensed down some of the most basic bass fishing tips to help you make these goals a reality.
How and Where To Fish
The first thing to think about is where and how you will be fishing for bass.
Lots of people start by fishing for bass from shore or from a dock, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Fishing for bass from shore is great. It costs nothing, and all you need is your rod and reel and some tackle. Look for parks, boat ramps, and bridge overpasses as places you can try first.
You can do all the same things fishing from a boat dock as you do from shore. The only difference is you will be further from the bank, and that can be a good thing. Look for clumps and edges in the weed growth. Keep an eye on depth changes, as many docks are positioned at the edge of shallow areas. Drop-offs are great places for catching bass.
If you have access to a kayak or small fishing boat, the fishing options increase dramatically. You are no longer limited to the small areas near the parks and piers. Since you are a beginner, it would be best to keep things simple and stay near the shore.
Let’s review the options, and how to approach each one for learning to catch bass.
Each bass requires a slightly different approach. It’s an advantage if you can identify each one.
Types Of Bass
There are a few ways to distinguish the types of bass—jaw length, number, and size of stripes, number of spines, and region of the country you fish.
- The upper jaw extends out past the eye, and they have spiny dorsal fins with a deep notch between them
- The upper jaw does not extend past the eye, they have spiny dorsal fins and three dark lines on their cheek. This species has nine to ten spines on the dorsal fin.
- This is considered a subspecies of the largemouth. The upper jaw extends past the eye, and they have nine spines on the dorsal fin.
- These have small dark spots below the lateral line and a second dorsal that appears red. Their upper jaw does not extend past the eye.
- This bass has 10 to 12 dark lateral stripes as well as an upper jaw that does not reach past the eye.
- These have lateral blotches and spiny, soft dorsal fins connected by a shallow notch.
- These have an upper jaw that does not extend past the eye. They also have dark blotches that fade more as the fish ages. They look similar to redeye bass minus the red coloration.
There are more species out there, but these are the primary ones you will run into and have to identify.
What Do Bass Eat
It’s probably a better question to ask, “What don’t bass eat?”
Bass will eat just about anything that moves in the water. Their most common regular meals are smaller fish like shad, minnows, panfish, and other creatures like crawdads, salamanders, and frogs. Though you might not realize it, they will also eat anything moving over their head, like snakes, baby ducks, birds and mice.
When you’re fishing for bass, do your best to “match-the-hatch.” This term means to pick a bait or lure that matches what you think the bass are eating.
If you’re fishing near the shoreline and there are a bunch of frogs cruising around, it’s a good bet that a hollow-body frog or rat is an excellent option.
See bass busting the surface near schools of flickering shad, try to imitate them with a shad type bait.
Did you know that water temperature can vary as much as 10 degrees or more on different parts of the same lake? During different times of the year, this can drastically affect where bass are located.
In the spring, the north end of a lake will warm up the fastest, kicking the bass’ spawning cycle into gear first. That means the bass will move up shallow on the north end more quickly than the south end.
In the fall, the cooler water will heat up the fishing faster and school up large balls of baitfish which bass feed on before the winter.
Water temperature changes bass metabolism, so it determines how they feed. Every time you hit the water, you need to pay close attention to the water temp. It is a major piece of the puzzle in learning about when and where bass will be most active on a given day.
Bass Fishing Gear For Beginners
You can break down the basic gear needed to get started bass fishing into 3 main categories:
Rod and Reel
You can go buy all of these items in one trip, and fish all year long in a variety of different places. The idea is to get just enough "good" gear to be dangerous anywhere you go.
Rod and Reel
If your fishing for the first time and Bass are your primary target, I highly recommend starting with a Spinning Rod & Reel Combo
. An angler can add more spinning combos to the arsenal as they progress.
ABU GARCIA BMAX SPINNING COMBO
The Abu Garcia® Ultra Max Spinning Combo is the perfect blend of style and value.
Constructed from a Vengeance rod, the lightweight combo features a 24-Ton graphite blank, stainless steel guides with titanium oxide inserts, and a split grip EVA design.
The Ultra Max reel comes with the Everlast™ bail system for added durability and a machined aluminum spool that adds strength without additional weight.
You will be much more effective in targeting Bass with the same tackle as a more advanced Baitcasting Rod & Reel combo.
If you have experience fishing and are now shifting your sites onto the Largemouth, it is a good investment to start your endeavors with a Baitcasting Rod and Reel combo. These take a lot of practice and patience, but when you get your licks in your accuracy, distance and efficiency will be improved over the Spinning set up.
However, you can do virtually everything with either, and Baitcasters add another layer of frustration for the beginner so stick with a Spinning Combo until your ready to invest a good chunk of time.
Shop Rods and Reels Combo
Fishing Line For Bass
If you're spooling up your Spinning Combo for the first time I recommend starting out with 10 Lb. Monofilament.
Mono is a readily available, affordable, and easy to use fishing line that is great for beginner bass fishermen. Mono is the cheapest and easiest to handle, but you risk breaking off more lures because it’s more prone to getting nicked up on rocks and wood.
For spooling up your Baitcaster for the first time, I recommend 20 Lb. Braided Line. A braided super line has smaller diameters for equal strength, and are far tougher than mono. Casting and handling braid has a learning curve, and cost more initially, but they last much longer than mono.
You can tie braid straight onto your lures, but I would add a Fluorocarbon leader either tied to a swivel or directly to the line with a
If you’re a more advanced angler, you would likely default to a full Fluorocarbon (15-20 Lb.) mainline. This is the optimal choice, however, it requires advanced skill in drag systems, knot tying, and a bigger budget.
Fluoro is extremely popular, but I don’t recommend a beginner use it on spinning reels. If you want to try it on baitcasting gear, a good starting point is 12 or 15lb test. Learn to tie a good Palomar knot, making sure the line strands never cross each other. We recommend using a good line conditioner to reduce stiffness and prevent bad backlashes.
Shop Fishing Line
Best Bass Lures for Beginners
A Texas Rig is the most basic bass fishing rig there is. Slide a bullet weight onto your line, and tie on an offset worm hook. The weight slides freely up and down the line, creating an action that is hard for fish to resist.
Any kind of plastic bait can work on a Texas Rig, but the most common is a worm. A regular bass worm has a curled tail that flutters in the water. There are also straight tail worms like the Trick Worm or Senko. If the bass doesn’t respond to a curly-tailed worm, try a more subtle straight tailed version.
The Senko style soft stickbait is an awesome bass lure for beginners. Rig the 5” worm weedless Texas-style on a 3/0 or 4/0 offset worm hook with no weight. This rig will fall slowly through the water column with a seductive shimmy that bass love.
Cast the Senko to any visible piece of cover and let it fall on a slackline. That’s all you have to do. If you see your line jump or move off to the side set the hook!
For a different look, tie on a small wacky rig hook and rig the worm right in the middle. This is “Wacky” style fishing, and it’s deadly on bass. The main drawback is the rig is a little less weedless compared to the Texas-style.
A buzzbait and topwater toad are two very different baits that create a similar presentation. Both are great fished over the top of grass, wood, and rock. Both lures create a commotion in the water that draws bass attention. Looking closer you will see the big differences.
Buzzbaits are wire formed baits with a square blade that rotates on the top wire. The blade makes a loud squeaking noise, sometimes in tandem with a “clacker”, and churns up bubbles in the water. Some are skirted like a spinnerbait, while others have a small lead head and can be tipped with soft plastics.
Toads are rigged like other soft plastic baits, with an EWG offset worm hook. The deal with a toad is you need to reel it in quickly to get it to stay on top and the legs kick and turn to churn up the water surface. Toads can more easily be fished over the top of heavy vegetation without getting hung up.
Both of these lures are dead simple to fish. All you do is cast them out and “slow roll” them back in, and working the bait with your rod tip. Slow rolling just means reeling it in as slow as you can while keeping it hovering over the bottom. The swim jig is more compact and can be fished in heavier vegetation.
Extra Tips & Techniques
Fish off the bottom as Bass are rarely in shallow water outside of Spawn. Bounce your soft bait rigs or skirt jigs along the bottom, alternating between dragging steadily, lifting then dropping your bait with a pause.
Cast along the edge of structural transitions vs. across from them. Cast along the edge of cover like weed lines as well. Bass are not usually in the weeds but off to the side where the shade is cast. Let your bait cover the water column from the top edge of the weeds to the bottom, then primarily work your bait off the bottom on its way back.
Target underwater cover like boulders, logs, and stumps by rolling a snag-less setup like a spinnerbait over and onto the sides of the cover. Make sure to really thump against the cover and let your lure role over, particularly to the shady side opposite the sun.
Pitch your lures to target confined areas and overhanging cover. Let your line out the length of the pole and grab your lure (typically soft bait) with your opposite hand. Load up your rod tip by pulling the bait to your side. Aim at your secluded target and release the bait letting the rod sling your lure gently to the zone.
Similar to Pitching but with trebled & heavy baits, flipping gets cranks and jigs into the tough to reach targets as well. Let out about 10-15 ft. of the line to the side by pulling out the line between your reel and the first-rod guide. Pinch the line with your free hand before the first-rod guide.
"Pendulum" swing the bait towards the location releasing your pinched line at the end of the pendulum swing. This will flip your bait underneath the overhang as the excess line you set aside spools out.
Shred The Worms
Keep any plastic worms that get beat up and shredded from the fish biting at it all day. Use the ones that are all torn up because bass like to pounce on wounded prey.
Go For Red
Red is the best color to use for bass. If you think you’re casting into a highly concentrated area full of them, use a red lure. The fish think that the lure is injured and that the red color is blood, so this is a great way to trick them into biting.
Make Some Noise
There are many different ways you can make noise on the water, but one great way is to stop your cast halfway and let the lure hit the water and skip a few times. This makes a lot of noise. The bass will notice, and if you have everything else in check, you are bound to get a bite.
Fishing is a learning sport and no one knows it all. Ask questions and don't be limited by your own opinions.
Each topic spoke about in this post deserves its own article as there is so much that can be expanded on! Hopefully, as a beginner, you've now got the right start and are ready to give catching your first or next bass a shot!
Try all techniques and experiment with things. You will find something that works for you and maybe you can help someone else. Go fishing often and you will learn. Most find that early morning and late afternoon fishing proved to be most successful.
Be sure to check out Falco Outdoors
for all of your fishing needs! Use coupon code 5OFFBASS
for additional savings at check out when shopping for your fishing adventure!
Stay tuned to our Blog Page
as we continue to expand on the world of fishing and all of your outdoor questions!