How To Catch Big Bass

Big Bass Caught

Big Bass CaughtWhat makes bass fishing so fun and exciting is that any fisherman on any fishing trip could potentially catch his or her biggest bass ever. Whether your gunning after a personal record or not, the chance of it happening always exists if you have a line in the water. Some anglers are more interested in quantity over quality, while others are strictly looking to catch the biggest bass they can.

Any lure on any day has the potential to catch a big bass. With that said, there are many ways to increase those odds with the right lures and tactics. If your dead set on catching a trophy bass here are some ways to ensure every cast you make has a better chance of landing a lunker.

Big Lures Catch Big Bass

Big Bait Big BassWhile it sounds obvious its definitely true, big bass go after big meals. When they are in feeding mode they can be super aggressive in what they will go for, they will even attempt to eat fish bigger than themselves.

Big bass are more picky with what they eat, if they see a big meal that looks easy to achieve they will be more tempted to go for it over a smaller, faster meal. Here are some great lures for creating that appearance to big hungry bass.

  • Slow Rolling Big Swimbaits: These lures are more than well known for the monsters they catch. A big swimbait with a slow retrieve mimics a slow moving, dying fish that just screams come eat me. When you fish a big swimbait (8 inches or longer) your swinging for the fences with every cast. Don’t get me wrong, small bass have been caught on these lures before but its unusual, and good for a laugh when they’re actually smaller than the lure itself.
  • Punching Jigs & Creature Baits: These lures mimic another favorite meal of big bass, crawfish. When you punch them through thick cover it looks like a crawfish darting down to the bottom of the lake from the matted weed cover, which they often do. Bass will often sit under this matted cover to escape the sun, but also to ambush and feed on these crawfish.

Patience Is Everything

Largemouth BassIf you plan to catch big bass, you need to be patient. This is not going to be an action packed outing where your constantly swinging bass in to the boat. The action you get will be far and few between, but well worth it when your holding a trophy bass.

A lot of anglers have a hard time committing to a lure or tactic thats not producing right away, and thats why so few of them have that picture above the fireplace. Sticking to the plan is key if your going to get big bites.

One summer I decided I was going to commit at least one hour to a big swimbait everyday I fished after work (which was most days). It’s a difficult task when you know you can switch to a smaller lure and have a field day catching bass after bass. But sticking with it payed off big time when I caught some of the biggest bass I’ve ever caught. I had some huge blow ups on it that missed too, as much as those hurt they certainly helped keep me interested in the pursuit and reminded me of the task at hand.

Small Ponds Hold Big Bass

Big Bass Small Pond

You may automatically think that bigger fish are always in bigger lakes, but thats not always true. Some of the biggest bass are caught in small ponds, like farm ponds. This is because they are either hidden or on private property and don’t get a lot of fishing pressure.

As bass get bigger and grow older, they get wiser. They get accustomed to bass fisherman and their tactics to catch them. They become familiar with the sound and appearance of common lures, bass boats, and trolling motors and know to be cautious. This is often referred to as “spooking” the bass, and the older they get the easier they spook.

Smaller, under-fished waters hold bass that are not used to the threat of a fishermen’s presence, and for that reason are easier to fool into biting. The also usually have less natural predators and can dominate a small pond. These little honey holes can provide the opportunity of a lifetime.

Best Live Bait For Bass

Live Bait For Bass

Live Bait For BassSome bass fishermen think of fishing with live bait as easy, or even cheating. It might not be as much work or require as much experience as fishing with some artificial lures, but that doesn’t mean anyone can do it.

There are certain factors to consider when fishing for bass with live bait, but the most important is determining what the best live bait is for where your fishing.

1. Minnows

How to rig a shiner through the backMost fishermen refer to minnows used for bait as shiners. They are small, silver fish that bass consider a perfect meal. Typically they are sold in three sizes at bait shops, small, medium and large.

They are most often rigged in two ways, either through the nose or the back. Anglers claim that shiners stay on the hook better when rigged through the nose but swim more naturally when hooked through the back. It’s really whatever you prefer. You also need to stermine the depther your going to be fishing as this will tell you if you need a weight or a bobber.

Shiners are great because they’re readily available at any bait shop, they’re easy to rig, and they’re easy to keep fresh. If you keep them in a bucket out of the sun they will stay alive a long time. They will last even longer if you keep the water aerated with a cheap battery powered aerator or aerator tablets.

2. Crawfish

How to rig a crawfishIf you’ve caught a bass with food in it’s mouth and it’s not a fish tail, then its a crawfish. Bass absolutely love smashing into the bottom of the lake to grab a crawfish. That’s why you should always fish them with a weight so they get to the bottom and stay there.

Rigging the crawfish with a small hook through the tail works best. It allows it to stay alive a while and move somewhat freely to attract hungry bass. Many anglers use a Carolina rig with great success.

They’re not sold in every bait shop and are even considered an invasive species in some states so transporting them to different bodies of water can be frowned upon. Your best bet is to catch them yourself in the body of water you plan to fish. You can either flip rocks over and catch them with a net as they flee or simply use a crawfish trap. For bait use a dead fish or even some chicken.

3. Worms

Rigging a live wormBass love and will eat worms or night crawlers all day long. The only problem with fishing with them is your hook will often get picked clean by a swarm of sunfish and perch before a bass even has a chance to see it. So before you go casting them out, make sure your not in a vicinity of a school of sunnies.

When you rig a worm you want to poke the hook through the body a bunch of times to ensure the worm does not going flying off when you cast it. Leave the both ends over hanging an inch or so so they can wiggle and attract bass.

You can purchase night crawlers at any bait shop or find them yourself in the ground and under rocks. After a rain you can often find them in the grass at night, hence the name “night crawlers”.

Night Fishing For Bass

Night Bass Fishing

Night Bass FishingAs the night sets in and the water’s surface becomes still, bass tend to head for the shallows in search of food. This is a time when bass fishermen can have some really big success, some even say its prime time. Although night fishing can take a little getting used to, the results can be well worth the effort.

Night fishing for bass is at its best during the summer months. This is especially true after a calm day with blue bird skies, days when bass generally do not feed as much. These daytime conditions can lead to an action packed evening.

Lateral LineThe great thing about fishing for bass at night is that bass don’t need to see a lure to know its there. Bass can feel movement and vibrations in the water through nerve endings on the sides of their bodies. The nerve endings run along each side of a bass from head to tail and are referred to as a bass’s lateral line. What this means for you when your selecting a lure is: think noise.

When your fishing at night you want to use lures that make noise. Whether it be a rattle or a lure that uses the surface to create popping or splashing noises. This will allow bass to locate the lure easier, but be sure to use a slow retrieve. Since bass will be relying on their lateral line more than their eyes, reeling the lure too quickly can make them miss when they go to bite.

Surface lures are very popular for night fishing because usually the water is very calm, allowing them to achieve their optimal presentation. Not only that but their sounds and vibrations can travel a lot further in calmer waters. Here are few Lures you should definitely try first.

  • Surface Poppers: These are great because they can retrieved very slow, and in most cases when night fishing that can be the key to getting strikes. You can speed them up but unless bass are very aggressive its not recommended.
  • Walk-The-Dog Lures: If dead slow isn’t doing the trick then you can pick up the pace a bit with a walk the dog lure. This will allow your to retrieve the lure quickly for short spurts then slow it down or stop it and see if it triggers a strike. It’s also just a different action than a popper and sometimes thats all it takes.
  • Crawlers & Wobblers: The best, most popular example of this is the jitterbug. These lures wobble back and fourth as they are reeled across the surface. It’s a very steady and repetitive movement that bass can home in on very easily. They also allow you to cover more water faster.

So if your planning to try night fishing for the first time here are a few tips that will help you have a more comfortable and more successful experience:

  • Silence is key: Do your best to keep quiet. Bass are used to quietness at night with calmer water and less boat traffic, so unnatural noises can spook them.
  • Flashlights: Pretty obvious but you don’t realize true darkness until your in the middle of pond or lake in the middle of the night. You should always have a couple standard flash lights but the best tool is a headlamp. Its great, hands-free lighting for tying lures, unhooking fish, or looking through your tackle box.
  • Take Notes: Certain hours can be better than others for fishing during the night and it differs from lake to lake. Keeping track of the time of your catches can give you great data for future trips.
  • Keep it simple: Finding tackle and other things should be as easy as it can be when your fishing in the dark. The last thing you want to be doing is fumbling through tons of stuff to find what you need. Leave unnecessary equipment at home and only bring what your really going to need.