The largemouth black bass is probably the most popular freshwater game fish in the United States. Thanks to successful stocking programs, it is now found throughout the U.S. With a pugnacious nature, they will eat almost anything that can fit in their mouths and are fun to catch. However, with the popularity of largemouth black bass as a game fish, successfully fishing for them requires more than luck. The fish in your local lake have more than likely been heavily fished, so you will need to use methods that other anglers are not trying.
Largemouth black bass can be found in the shallows from pre-spawn to mid-fall. This water can often be clear, sometimes so clear that most bass anglers will steer away, believing it unfishable. There are steps you can take to turn clear water into productive bass fishing water. Learn to sight fish instead of relying on a fish finder. You need polarized sunglasses with either brown or yellow lenses. Polarized lenses will cut the glare, and yellow and brown lens color enhances contrast. Look for shadows and shapes that resemble fish. You will often find them close to some type of cover. Also, remember that if you can see a bass it can see you. Dress in drab-colored clothing and avoid red, yellow and white. When largemouth black bass are in clear water, they are alert and will spook easily. Do not make sudden unnecessary movements and remain silent. Cast beyond the fish, bringing the bait back past it using a fast retrieve. Clear water allows the bass to better inspect your lure. You want the bass to make an instinctive strike. Select lures that are natural in appearance and action. Learn to skip-cast your baits. The sound and action resemble baitfish feeding, and that will incite a predatory response from largemouth black bass.
If you find yourself in turbid water, it does not mean lack of fish. Check the turbidity by lowering a white lure into the water. If you can see it a foot or more deep, you can catch largemouth black bass. You will need to fish the shallows, because sunlight will not penetrate deep into murky water. Use lures that are large, flashy and loud. Some bass anglers carry steel wool to polish spinners. Buzzbaits with clackers fished slowly as well as load-rattling crankbaits will be the lures of choice in murky water. Soft plastics can work. Choose soft plastics in colors that contrast the water or have contrasting colors on the body and tail. If the water color is yellow, use a brown or black bait. The bass are going to have a harder time locating your bait, so fish slowly.
Dragging is a technique most effective on a clear or sparsely vegetated bottom. It will be difficult to work through dense vegetation. The rig consists of a bullet sinker, bead and swivel. The bait is usually a soft plastic, but a live bait can be used. The sinker drags along the bottom, kicking up clouds of mud, and the bead clicks as it contacts the sinker. It creates a visual and audible attractant for largemouth black bass. Also, with the sinker dragging on the bottom, you can feel its composition.
Many bass anglers see timber as good places to lose lures. These anglers are missing out on good fishing opportunities. Timber provides effective cover for largemouth black bass. The shade will keep the fish cooler in hot weather. The branches and shadows offer ambush points. To effectively fish timber, you need to get in it. This means casting your lures into the thick of it and banging the branches and trunks of trees with crankbaits. To minimize lure loss, invest in a lure retriever. Drop jigs and soft plastics in the middle of a stand of timber or downed tree. Think of an animal like a lizard working its way through the tree. How would it do this? You need to work soft plastics in the same fashion, crawling over and around branches and trunks.