Like other forms of fishing, bass angling can seem pretty simple. The reality, though, is that bass fishing is not quite as easy as casting a lure and reeling in the fish. There certainly are times when fishing is good and catching bass is easy, but there are just as many, if not more, times when the bass are not biting as readily. Learning some tips, tricks and ideas should help put more bass in your boat.
Small Lures Equal More Bass
The rule of thumb is that big lures catch big bass. Anglers who only want to catch big bass often follow that rule. But anglers who just want to catch bass are not doing themselves any favors by using big lures. Instead, they should use smaller lures, which will catch bass of any size. One of the best small lures is a jigworm, which consists of a 1/8- to 1/4-oz. mushroom-head jig and a plastic worm of 4 to 7 inches threaded on the hook of the jig. The best places to throw a jigworm are around drop-offs and weedlines. Spinning tackle and 8-lb. test line is best for fishing jigworms. Anglers should cast them out, let them fall to the bottom, and then bump them along the bottom or retrieve them through the water column.
Throw a Jig and Pig for Big Bass
Jigs and pigs are a standby lure for anglers targeting big bass. There are two parts of the lure: the jig, which has a skirt and weedguard, and a pig, which is a plastic trailer made of pork or plastic. The pig is threaded onto the jig. Jigs and pigs can be fished year-round from the top of the water to the bottom of the lake. The most common method for presenting jigs and pigs is to cast, pitch or flip them into cover, let them fall to the bottom, then bring them back to the boat. However, some anglers find good success by casting jigs and pigs and retrieving them steadily around vegetation or cover, such as a dock. Other anglers skip jigs and pigs under overhead cover like trees that hang over the water. The most common size for a jig and pig is three-eighths of an ounce, though heavier jigs may be necessary to maintain contact with the bottom in deep water. If you are fishing shallow water and the jig falls to the bottom too fast or gets wrapped in vegetation, switch to a lighter version, like one-quarter of an ounce.
Find Fish Fast
In any body of water at any given time, there likely are active bass somewhere. It is up to the angler to find them. One of the best ways is to cast a 1/2-oz. lipless crankbait. Use a fishing rod that is 7 feet or longer and fling the lipless crankbait as far as you can. Because of the bait's aerodynamic shape, it is one of the longest-casting lures in your tacklebox. Focus on places where you can cover lots of water, like along drop-offs, over large weed flats or along weedlines. Reel the lure quick enough to keep it out of the vegetation, but every once in a while let it contact the vegetation. When it feels like the lure is about to become snagged, give a sharp jerk to pop the lure off the vegetation. This will cause the crankbait to move in an unpredictable pattern and likely will cause a bass in the area to bite.
Rig a Worm Wacky-Style
Texas rigs and Carolina rigs are the most common ways of presenting a worm, but rigging a worm wacky-style creates a presentation that many bass haven't seen before. To rig a wacky worm, impale the plastic worm through the middle of its body so there is an equal amount of worm on each side of the hook. Rigged this way, the worm falls through the water slowly and seductively and undulates through the water as you retrieve it. Wacky-rigged worms are especially productive around boat docks and shallow vegetation, but anglers are advised not to forget about the wacky rig when they move to deeper water. One of the best areas to fish a wacky worm in deep water is along a weedline. It takes the worm a while to reach the bottom, but it will attract bites from bass at all levels of the water column. If bass do not bite and the worm falls all the way to the bottom, retrieve it slowly with frequent pauses. Wacky-rigged worms are best fished on spinning equipment and 8-lb.-test monofilament line.