Bass fishing is one of the most popular forms of angling in the world. It is both exciting and intriguing as there are literally thousands of different types of approaches you can have to catching bass depending on when and where you fish.
There are also thousands of different kinds of bass fishing lures and it’s important that you have a deep knowledge and understanding of how to effectively use these lures in order to maximize your chance of catching bass with them.
Every angler wonders, at one point or another, how to attract a largemouth bass using different methods and techniques. In this article, we’ll explain some of the basic tips and tactics you can use to get a bite.
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Understand the Bass Diet
The key to becoming an expert angler involves studying bass and gaining a deep understanding of what they like to eat. The diet of a bass will change throughout the year in any location where you might catch them. They often go after smaller insects and other creatures during the summer, but bass are known to target shad, minnows and other types of bait fish in the fall, spring and winter.
It’s crucial to understand the types of prey a bass will seek out in different regions throughout the year. Some areas or lakes might have an overabundance of shad while others might have a large population of bluegill. It’s a good idea to do enough research so that you have a good understanding of what the bass are eating in the lake or river where you plan to fish.
Match the Hatch
If you’ve been fishing for any amount of time, you’ve likely heard the term “match the hatch” at some point or another. This is a phrase used by anglers to describe the need to select a lure or bait that’s similar to what the fish will be eating at a certain time of year. The term was made popular by trout anglers who regularly track the hatch of different types of flies and other insects, but it still applies to bass fishing, too.
Once you’ve done enough research, you should have a good understanding of what bass will be looking to eat at certain times of the year in the particular body of water you’re going to be fishing. Using this information, you can select a lure that closely resembles the prey bass will be looking for, or one that gives off a distinct noise, vibration or other characteristic that’s similar to what bass are expecting.
Choosing the Right Color
Choosing the best color for your next bass fishing trip is often something that beginner or novice anglers don’t quite understand. While it is important to select a lure that has the same colors as the type of fish you want to mimic, it’s also essential that you utilize the right kind of color depending on the water clarity and other factors.
Things can change for bass anglers who are used to fishing in clear water if there is a massive amount of rainfall before or during your fishing trip that muddies-up the water. If bass are not able to see the lure very well, they will usually rely on their other senses to detect certain types of prey. However, by using the right color scheme, you can pick up a few more bites when the water is significantly murky or even when it’s exceptionally clear.
If you’re fishing in muddy or dark water, it’s a good idea to use a lure that’s made with brighter, flashier colors like lime green, chartreuse, bright red or others. These colors are able to attract a largemouth bass to bite better than more natural-looking colors because they are easier for bass to see when there is low-visibility in the water.
Likewise, if the water is extremely clear, these same bright colors will be a significant disadvantage and might turn fish away from your lure. If you’re fishing in very clear water, it’s better to go with a lure that has more natural tones like dark green, brown, or shad-colored lures.
Vibration is Key
Many anglers mistakenly think that bass rely mostly on their sense of sight to locate prey during feeding times. While this is true to an extent, bass often utilize their sense of touch and “hearing.”
Bass don’t actually hear in the same sense that humans do, but they do have certain organs that they use to detect vibrations in the water. When most types of fish swim through the water, the constant flapping of their tail creates a vibration. By detecting these vibrations, bass can pick up on where a small bait fish is, which direction it’s headed, what speed it’s moving and a number of other characteristics, including how large it is.
Expert anglers know that the ability to tap into a bass’ sense of hearing is essential to leveraging certain types of lures in the right situation. If you use a lure that has a blade, such as a spinnerbait or any type of blade bait, you can tap into the bass’ ability to pick up these subtle vibrations with a lure that creates its own vibration.
There are also other kinds of lures that will put off a smaller or larger amount of vibration as they are retrieved through the water. These lures might have a better ability to attract a bass when the water is muddy and visibility is low, or at night when bass won’t be relying on sight.
You can often grab the attention of a bigger bass by using a larger lure, or one that creates more of a disturbance in the water. If you make the mistake of fishing with a small lure all the time, don’t expect to catch many trophy-sized bass. Monster largemouths almost always seek out bigger prey to satisfy their appetite instead of exerting extra effort to chase down a bunch of smaller creatures.
The silvery, translucent-looking scales that many fish have give off a distinct flashing appearance when the fish swims through the water. This flashing sensation is also produced when the fish rapidly darts to one side or another or makes any sort of sudden movement. By replicating this flashy appearance, you can significantly leverage your ability to attract bites from bass.
Some lures are made with a shiny-colored finish while others might even be made of actual metallic material in order to give off the same kind of flash that bass look for when they are hunting small shad and minnows. A spinnerbait is a good example of a lure that utilizes a shiny metal blade to give off both vibration and flash as it moves through the water.
There are some newer lures that are crafted with built-in flashing mechanisms that are made to tap into a bass’ instincts. Lures like the Shimano World Minnow are an excellent example of one that utilizes small, well-made pieces to simulate the flashing motion that a bait fish gives off as it swims.
When it comes to fishing crankbaits and other types of minnow-like lures, serious anglers often look for one with a wider or tighter wobble. This refers to the level at which the lure moves back and forth as it runs through the water and might often look more or less realistic depending on the type of bait fish you’re trying to emulate.
Sometimes, when the water temperature is cold and bass might be more lethargic, you can entice them to bite with a slow-moving crankbait that has a tight wobble. When bass are more aggressive in the spring and fall, you might select a lure that offers more of a wobble or even one that darts from side-to-side and closely resembles a minnow hunting for food as it swims.
As we’ve stated earlier, bass don’t necessarily hear lures the same way we do, but certain sounds can help attract a largemouth bass to investigate a lure or even take a bite. Lures that are made with internal or external rattling sounds are good for times when the water visibility is low and bass are relying on their other senses besides sight to find a meal.
You can also have success using lures that produce clicking sounds such as a jig that’s being worked across the rocky bottom. This tends to sound like a crawfish feeding along the bottom, which is something most bass can’t resist trying to eat in any lake or river where they can be found.
Cause a Commotion
Sometimes, you want to use a lure that creates a splash or loud commotion on the water surface to gain the attention of any nearby bass. Topwater lures are designed to do this and bass might view them as anything from a wounded minnow to a large insect or frog working its way along the top. A buzzbait is a good example of a lure that is incredibly noisy, but also very successful in drawing strikes from hungry bass.
The key to attracting a largemouth bass is tapping into the bass’ instincts using various methods or mechanics. By understanding the different characteristics that will attract a bass and get one to bite, you can seriously increase your catch-rate and land some true lunkers in the process.