If you’re new to fishing, the largemouth bass is an excellent fish for beginners. They put up a spirited fight, they’re plentiful across North America and, if you know what to look for, they’re not too hard to catch. Use this guide to get started on the right foot, and before you know it you’ll be reeling them in like a pro!
Picking A Rod And Reel Combo
A five foot (about 1.5 meters), medium action rod is a good all around fishing rod for a beginning bass angler. Once you have a feel for casting the medium action rod, you can always pick up lighter or heavier action rods for different situations.
A spin-cast, or closed face reel, is also a good place to start. The simple push button design is easy to master, which makes them perfect for beginners.
Another popular choice is a spinning setup. These open faced reels tend to cast a little farther and more smoothly than their closed face cousins. Unless you want to spend half of your day picking apart backlash, stay away from bait casting rigs. These are very smooth casting and often more expensive reels, but are best left to more experienced anglers.
There are a lot rod and reel manufacturers out there. The best way to pick one that fits you, is to head on out to the sporting goods store or tackle shop. They’ll usually let you try a few of them out to get a feel for the different lengths and styles. The staff should be more than happy to answer questions and help you pick out the right one.
How To Find Largemouth Bass
Now that you’ve picked your weapon, it’s time to hit the water. Knowing where bass like to hide can make the difference between an action packed outing, and getting skunked. Bass fishing tips and techniques can vary a lot, depending on where you live; but in general, these are the places that are most likely to hold bass:
• Structure- This refers to anything that causes the contour of the bottom to change. Try fishing around submerged logs and brush piles, drop-offs (sudden depth changes), or pilings. Rock piles and tree stumps are also a good bet.
• Cover- Any place a bass hide. Too many people confuse structure with cover. Popular types of cover that bass look for include weed beds, lily pads, undercut river banks, and docks. Also, a single dock is far more likely to hold big bass than several docks grouped together.
• Points- An inside bend in a stream or a rocky outcropping are good examples of points. Hungry bass love to hang out here, especially on the side furthest from the direction of the current. A point makes for an outstanding ambush point. Float a lure or live bait past a point and there’s a good chance you’ll find some bass hiding there.
Live Bait Or Lure?
With hundreds of brands, styles, and colors of fishing lures available, your choices are nearly endless. Each type of bass lure has its own special fishing technique, so there can be a pretty big learning curve with artificial lures. Jigs and crankbaits are probably the easiest to learn to use effectively.
For a novice bass angler, live bait is a much easier (and usually less expensive) way to go. If you’re fishing on a tight budget, you can even catch your own live bait without spending a penny. As your bass angling skills improve, you can always add artificial bass lures to your tackle box a few at a time.
Largemouth Bass Fishing From A Boat
If you already have a boat, you’re ahead of most beginners. Largemouth bass prefer relatively shallow water. Most of your fish will probably be pulled from depths of fifteen feet or less. While they prefer shallow water, they also like to stay close to deeper water in case they need to make a quick escape form a hungry pike or other predator. Fish a minnow or crankbait along the edge of a drop off, and you might very well hit paydirt.
Don’t spend too much time in one place. If you’ve found a likely spot, try casting in a fan pattern. If your first couple of casts don’t produce a strike, move the next one over a few feet and try again. Do this several times, then move on. That’s the beauty of fishing from a boat. You can move from one spot to the next much more quickly than you would from shore; so you can cover a lot of water in a short period of time.
Shore Fishing For Largemouth Bass
If you don’t have a boat, don’t worry, you’re not sunk. You can find plenty of big bass from the shore if you know where they like to hide. Weed beds, stumps, and fallen trees are always a good place to start. Watch for bait fish to be active near the surface. That’s often a sign that there’s a big bass nearby. You can also try dragging a plastic frog or lizard across the tops of lily pads. When it drops off the edge of the pad, hold on tight. Lunker bass often find this technique irresistible. They will explode out of the water to hit your lure!
Learn The Lingo Of Largemouth Bass Fishing
One of the best ways to pick up bass fishing tips is to listen to the seasoned veterans. By learning the common bass fishing words and phrases, you’ll be able hold up your end of the conversation and understand what the old timers are talking about.
Get Out There And Have Fun!
As you continue to fish, you’ll start to develop your own bass fishing techniques. You’ll learn to read the conditions, and find your own favorite spots. Who knows? You might even decide to try some tournaments.
Just remember to fish responsibly. Make sure you leave the lake with everything you brought there. Don’t keep any fish you don’t plan to eat, and make sure the ones you do keep are within the size limits. If you take a picture instead of taking the fish, he’ll be even bigger when you come back to catch him again!
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