How to Catch Largemouth Bass
Largemouth bass are a popular freshwater fish that can be found in lakes, rivers, and ponds across the United States. Ranging in size from less than a pound to well over ten pounds these fish are revered for their aggressive nature and strong fight. No matter where you live largemouth bass can found in most bodies of water and provide anyone the chance to spend more time outdoors chasing these fish.
Choose the Right Fishing Pole
Largemouth bass can be difficult to catch and using the wrong fishing pole can make your days at the lake frustrating. You can find a fishing pole combo (rod and reel) at your local retailer for around $20 to over $300 for a custom lightweight pole. No matter your budget, you'll want a pole that's strong enough to handle a medium sized fish and one that will allow you to "set the hook." As you begin fishing for largemouth bass find a pole that you can comfortably afford. You can have the most expensive gear in the world but if you're not presenting your lures in the right areas your pole of choice won't help. Look for fishing poles that are between six and seven-feet tall. Also important, look for fishing poles that are medium to medium-heavy action. A rod in this category will be nimble enough for most situations as you learn how to find the fish.
Does the Fishing Reel Matter?
Choosing the right reel for largemouth bass fishing can seem daunting. There are hundreds of options across the market but try to keep it simple. For most people, a spinning reel is perfect as they learn more about bass fishing. These reels are easy to use, easy to clean and easy to reapply line. When shopping for spinning reels try to find one that has a 5:2:1 gear ratio or higher. This gear ratio means that every time you spin your reel handle in a complete circle your spool (the cylinder holding your line) spins 5.2 times. In layman's terms, a higher the gear ratio allows you to reel your lure in quicker. This allows you to have better control of your lure when fishing and lets you fish slower or faster depending on the situation.
Find the Right Location
Once you have the right equipment, you need to find the right location. Largemouth bass prefer areas with cover, such as weed beds, fallen trees, and rocks. Look for these areas in your local lake or river and cast your line near the edges or openings in the cover. Largemouth bass frequent these areas as they hunt for smaller fish and other prey. Different styles of cover will prove more effective throughout the year. During the spring you'll probably find more bass near weeds and grass lines as species of fish begin spawning in these areas. Bass will cruise along these grass lines looking for easy meals as they ambush their targets. Later in the fall the bass in your lake may prefer rocky banks and areas as they look for warm rocks to keep their metabolism running. Early morning and late afternoon tend to be the best times to fish for largemouth bass as they are more active during these times. One feature that's always helped us find more fish is spotting any differences in the cover your fishing. Try to find "cuts" in grass lines, or holes in a group of lily pads. If you see a large rocky bank find spots where the rocks are larger or smaller. All of these areas provide ambush points for largemouth bass as they hunt.
Vary Your Techniques
Once you've found a good location, it's time to start fishing. One of the most important tips for catching largemouth bass is to vary your techniques. Some bass prefer a slow, steady retrieve, while others respond better to a quick and erratic motion. During the spring your options are quite endless. The fish in your lake should be looking for shallow protected water as their spawning season begins. Weightless worms, lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits can all be very effective this time of year. As summer nears and the water warms up some largemouth bass will look for deeper water to provide a more stable environment. When the fish move deeper so should your technique. Deep diving crankbaits, drop shots, and Carolina Rigs all excel in these deep water situations. In the fall you're often given the best of both worlds. Fish will be shallow as they look to fatten up before the winter while some fish will remain in deeper water hiding in submerged trees or rocks. Winter bass fishing can be difficult. Largemouth bass are cold blooded and rely on their environment to regulate their body temperature. The cooler water also lowers their metabolism and energy levels. During this time of year slow fishing techniques like dragging a Texas or Carolina rig across the bottom of the lake often work best. What's most important is to experiment with different techniques and lures until you find what works best. Largemouth bass rarely eat the same lure and presentation day after day. What worked today won't always work tomorrow. Stay patient and be willing to try different techniques as you hone your craft.
Finally, it's important to practice catch-and-release fishing to preserve the largemouth bass population. In some states largemouth bass fishing is regulated by seasons to try and protect the species as they spawn. Remember to handle the fish with care, snap your awesome photo and release them back into the water. If you decide to keep a fish for consumption check your local regulations and only keep what you need. Most governing bodies prefer when anglers keep smaller bass so larger, more aggressive fish have a chance to proliferate. By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to catching largemouth bass on your next fishing trip. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start fishing!