30 Bass Fishing Tips you need to catch more bass

Bass. Is there really anything else left to discover? After hundreds of years of fishing for the most iconic fish in the USA, can we shed any more light on our favorite species?

Is there any new technique, product or discovery that will see us catching better bass and more bass, more often? We could debate these questions for hours.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. The chance to discuss bass and read the ideas and experiences of others simply doesn’t get old.

We can compare our knowledge and experiences to others, discount or adopt, applaud or ridicule, try immediately, or store in the bass filing tray for later.

We’ve used spears, arrows, sticks with string. We’ve used handlines, traps and shotguns. In the modern age, it’s a rod and reel, and boy has the technology made a difference.

Whatever way you have fished for bass, and by whatever method, these tips are for you.

If you’ve heard it all before, then great. Your knowledge is being reinforced. If you take one tip you can employ in your neck of the woods, then it’s been an essential read.

For the noob, your guaranteed these tips will increase the size and quality of your bass catch. Let’s talk bass tips, if nothing else, it beats the news.

Today we’ll focus on cold season bass, lures by season and a bunch of other handy tips from tournament pros.

30 Bass Fishing Tips and Techniques

How to Catch Bass in cold Season

Picture of large mouth bass caught in a boat

1. Understand Local baitfish

When the temperature hits fifty and below, we all know bass tend to go off the chew.

Don’t let it stop you trying, just change tactics and add patience. A good understanding of the local baitfish is essential.

Check what’s in the area and go live. Yep, it will be slow going and you’ll be able to knock off a few chapters of War and Peace while you’re waiting for a hit.

However, the hit you get may well be the bass of a lifetime.

2. Keep your focus while waiting

Tip two relates to tip one. When you’re waiting for what seems like days, you can lose focus.

Your reel screams, you rush over and grab your rod and strike like your life depends on it. Of course, you rip the bait and hook clean out of its mouth.

To be honest, I can’t tell you how often I have heard this story.

Keep focus, watch your rod tip while your reading War and Peace, and when you get that huge hit, let it take the bait. Let it go until you feel real pressure, then strike.

3. Use a Baitrunner Spin Reel

Tip. A Baitrunner spin reel can be the perfect selection for this style of fishing. It can really help you avoid the ever-so-common scenario mentioned in tip two.

Just be aware, Baitrunner is a Shimano technology trademark. Other reels with the same feature/technology go under different names.

See Also: Best Spin Reels For Bass

4. Know The Local Ecosystem

Tip four also relates to tip one. Although mentioned in tip one, understanding the local ecosystem and food chain is critical when fishing live baits, especially when the mercury heads south.

This is why it gets its own tip.

Your chances are increased significantly when you understand the baitfish, where and what they’re doing.

While there are some very good rules of thumb, it’s pointless telling you what bait when and where, as this can be so local as to differ within the one system.

Research it. Ask the locals. Do your own investigations. Yes, shad slow down and die off when the water cools down, and bass love the easy feed.

However, is this all there is to know about your local bass spot during the cooler months?

5. Check the contents of its stomach

Further to tip three. When you get a bass during the colder months it will pay big dividends to check the contents of its stomach.

This isn’t just for the live bait angler either. Knowing what bass are eating, or, more to the point, eaten, allows you to select lures and baits with local, seasonal accuracy.

6. See what The Bass Are eating

Bass will often disgorge the contents of their stomachs while in live wells. This is another great way to see what they’ve been eating.

It’s even better as the fish doesn’t need to die for your research.

7. Get the bait close to them

It is very important to note that bass really slow down in the cooler months. This is why it so much harder to get them to take a lure.

They’ll happily take a lure, they just couldn’t care less about following one.

They really can’t be bothered moving for anyone or anything, especially you. It’s very important you get the bait right in front of them. Your fish finding skills are very important now – i.e., your sounder.

Having found the lair, a bass will attack your live bait with the same ferocity as usual.

Their aggression on attack doesn’t change, just their desire to get there.

8. Try a skirted jig

While your live bait is set and waiting, it’s a great idea to try a lure. A skirted jig is hands down the best option lure for when it’s cold.

I might get some argument here, but I say a skirted jig, because a jig is easy to work, and can be worked at any depth or location.

The great joy and panic come when your jig is attacked at the same time as your live bait.

It’s a great and exciting dilemma to have to deal with. Losing both is not uncommon.

Fishing for Bass – Lures by Season

Picture of an old fishing boat by a river

9. Any Lure can work

Look. To be brutally honest, wrap some tinfoil around a sinker and 3/0 and chances are you’ll get a Bass.

The bass is an opportunistic feeder and highly aggressive. Sometimes I think they strike out of pure hate and anger just because you got into their space.

This is very much the case during spawn and post spawn.

My buddy had a Texas rig resting over the side of the boat. He was arguing with me about what color worm profile to use.

As the boat slopped about from the wake of other boats passing by, the hook went in and out of the water – barely an inch.

The hook was monstered by some bass. Owing to the surprise, hilarity, and panic, the fish was lost.

However, this bass aggressively attacked nothing but a shiny hook and a bullet sinker in an inch of water.

It was spring. That’s important to note. They really don’t seem to care what they eat at this point of the year.

While bassers and lure manufacturers have discussed developed and refined the life out of bass lures, I’ll tell you straight – just about any lure you have in your kit has a good chance of landing a bass.

I’ll cop some flak for saying it, but it’s true. Having offered that bit of wisdom, let’s talk about bass lures.

10. Springtime bass lures

For the pre-spawn period, I prefer soft plastic in a craw profile. I didn’t discover this, by the way, I was told. I did it and it worked.

Bass are looking to eat high protein craws to support egg development before they lay. Expect to catch females on craw profiles.

11. use spinner baits in spring

Spring. For the spawn, I love spinner baits. Like really! Again, this was a tip from an old guy that only ever fished spinner baits (so he said).

Again, it proved a sensational tip. Incidentally, it’s the only time I use spinnerbaits, so it’s a real treat.

I was stunned at the size of fish these seemingly smallish baits would attract.

Turns out, the bass you are hunting are simply defending the nest. They’re not that hungry at all.

They simply want to kill anything that threatens the kids. Choose a profile that mimics a crawfish or salamander, for example.

12. Use Your Favorite Popper

The springtime post-spawn is when I hit the topwater. Pull out your favorite popper or hard stick bait or minnow.

Dad bass is keeping a watchful eye over the bass kids, which are swimming around just below the surface.

A noisy popper looks and sounds like a threat to his children, so you can expect a very aggressive hit from a big male bass.

13. Use Shads

Don’t forget about mommy bass come post-spawn. She’s particularly hungry, indeed ravenous.

A lure shaped like a shad is ideal when worked in deeper water and slowly. Truth is, just about any lure profile will be effective in this scenario.

14. Bass Lures for Summer

Bass lures for summer. Understand your local area first. Who’s swimming about acting like bass food!

Having said that, cast a Jerkbait, swimbait, soft plastic worm or craw. Cast a jig, a crank either lipless or bibbed. Get my drift yet?

15. Water Temperature and Geography

In the summer my lure selection thoughts are more about the geography than anything else.

I think of the structures, the weather, the water depth, color and amount of sunlight – direct and ambient.

This is what I use to make my lure selection. Crucially, the time of day is a big determining factor.

I love the topwater at dawn and dusk, but anything goes in between these hours but a deep diving crank is my go-to when the sun is really hot, and the bass have headed for deeper waters to take refuge from the hot shallows.

Above all, however, it’s the water temp that can make all the difference. Bass are like baby bear, they love the temperature just right, 70 to 75 degrees.

My only exception to the tricks above is when I have a new lure I simply can’t wait to get wet, or if I’ve been given a local hot tip about a lure that’s getting hammered at the moment.

16. Use Buzz Baits & Swimbaits for the Fall

Bass lure fishing in the fall. I’ve always been a big fan of buzz baits for the fall. Indeed, for the first half of the fall, it still is – depending on my location of course.

However, my focus has now turned to swimbaits…big ones.

Winter is coming. Big bass are looking to fatten up for the lean months, there’s plenty of food about, and big fish love a big lure.

Grab a selection of swimbaits that take your fancy, based on your local knowledge of local baitfish.

Big swimbaits are taking bass fishing by storm. It’s because they can attract a much larger class of fish.

Because bass are so aggressive, even smaller bass will attack a larger swimbait.

17. Winter Bass lure Tips

Winter Bass lure fishing is most successful with the J’s, jig and jerkbaits.

Again, it’s not so much about the lure but how we work it. We really need to slow it down.

When the water is really cold, don’t give up just yet. Sometimes, only a blade will do.

When the water temperature drops to 40, don’t go home, even though you’re half frozen. Rig a blade to your leader and work as lazily as you can.

18. Use a lure that mimics a dying shad

Another great winter lure tip is to use a lure that mimics a dying shad. As the water becomes cold, shad will die and sink.

If you use a lure and technique to replicate this, you will often find your lure is struck on the way down, not on the retrieve.

So, be ready, because your line is slack at this point and you’re not expecting the hit.

Pro Bass Fishing Tricks – Best Way to Catch Bass

Picture of a man holding smallmouth bass in his hand

19. Upsize your Baits

If you want to catch bigger bass you should upsize your baits. There’s a very strong likelihood you will get fewer enquiries, however, the strikes you get are more likely to be a much larger class of fish.

20. Go hard baits post spawn

Go hard baits post spawn. Crank the depths or hit the topwater in the shallows with a stickbait or a similar approach.

21. Invest in good winter bass fishing gear

In the winter months, invest in great winter gear that keeps you super warm without hindering movement.

Yes, that sounds obvious to the point of why bother. However, after it was suggested to me, I recalled countless winter sessions when I had been desperately uncomfortable on the water.

Usually, these trips had also resulted in poor outcomes.

The pro suggested that if you’re freezing and hindered by inappropriate clothes, you lose focus, think negatively and fish poorly.

He was absolutely right. I could think of all the times where I didn’t change a lure because the physical movement would make me colder or more uncomfortable.

And the countless times we didn’t change spots because it would put us in the wind, or the chill from the boat ride would be too uncomfortable.

Rug up and stay loose with the right winter clothes. It really does make a difference to your fishing.

22. Research new locations

When you want to fish bass all over the States, it’s important to do your research before you head off to a new location.

Tactics you employ for catching smallmouth in the north may not be appropriate for smallmouth in the south.

Yes, they’re the same species. However, it’s critical we remember that our habits and behavior are heavily influenced by our local environment.

Bass are no different.

23. Sharpen your hooks

You significantly diminish your chances of hooking a fish if your hooks are blunt. Yes, an obvious statement, again.

How many of you have been struck hard by a fish but not hooked up? All of you, right?

Now, how many of you have sharpened your hooks before you cast the lure? Hmmmm.

One of the main reasons we fail to hook-up after a hefty strike is blunt hooks. Sharpen your hooks.

Bass have a bony mouth and it takes a sharp hook to penetrate securely.

24. set specific plans and targets

Practice fishing. I can hear you all say, “but isn’t going fishing practicing fishing?” Only sort of.

Schedule a session and set yourself specific plans and targets and stick to them. Focus on an approach and system.

This is the best way you can go about developing or honing your bass skill-set in particular disciplines.

For example: Make tomorrow the day that you’ll practice skipping your lure under jetties and wharves using your baitcaster. On this fishing trip, this is all you will do.

The focus is on the skill as opposed to the fishing. You’re practicing, not hunting. However, the bonus is, you may well catch a fish too.

25. Invest in Quality Materials

Not all soft plastics are created equal. Pros will suggest you spend the extra coin for quality materials and construction.

How often have you noticed when you’ve tied a Texas rig and the hook point has come through the plastic too easily, or struggled to penetrate at all?

The cheap stuff is not worth it, you’ll end up foul hooked on structure or even worse, lose a prize fish.

26. Persist if the conditions are perfect

Think there’s a big bass there? Then persist. If a structure you’re casting looks perfect, and the conditions are perfect, there’s a very good chance the spot is holding big bass.

A bass will lay in its hide until it gets exactly the right presentation or angle for attack or, typically, angry enough to monster your annoying lure.

27. Try a finesse rig

When the fish are quiet, like, let’s go home quiet, try a finesse rig. Lighten up and try again, it can make all the difference to a slow day, especially in the winter.

28. Brave the cold

Make the effort, brave the cold and fish the winter for bigger bass and more of them.

The main reason is that there are so few anglers dedicated enough to take on the elements in cold winters, which means you’ll have the water to yourself.

You can have your pick of the spots that most likely hold good bass.

29. Dropping pressure brings bass

Keep an eye on the weather. If there’s a front coming in get on the water ASAP.

Dropping pressure brings bass (as well as other fish) on the chew. You can have the session of a lifetime. Yes, it can be that good.

30. Fish on the full moon

Full moon? Hit the shallows. There’s a very good chance you’ll pick up serious smallmouth.

When I say shallow, I mean as shallow as two feet of water. You’ve hit perfection if there’s a significant deep drop off close by.

Conclusion

There are a million tips and tricks for bass fishing and no doubt a great number of them a pretty darn useful.

Of course, library loads have been written about this iconic scaly American, and no doubt there are more insights to come.

I’m expecting there’s a fair number of you that will have picked up a hint or too from the insights above. Use them, enjoy them or discard them.

If they work, however, make sure you pass them on. Tight lines bassers.

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Sean Ward

Sean Ward

Hey there, my name is Sean – OnTrack Fishing is my site. I’m based in the UK yet I’ve been fortunate enough to catch bass in the States, barramundi in Australia, trout here at home and carp on the Danube delta. If I’m not fishing, or talking about fishing, then….I’m probably asleep.

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