Every week, professional bass fisherman and ScoutLook Pro Staff member Scott McGehee, will be offering new tips and techniques to help you improve your fishing tactics.
If you are putting up the boat for winter or an extended period, make sure that your batteries are fully charged. When I have my boat sitting unused for any length of time, I hook up a timer to my built in charger. By having the batteries fully charged, the timer will top them off by coming on for an hour a day. This will help insure that the batteries will still be good for the next season.
As the bass move deeper for the winter months, your electronics will play a big role in locating and catching bass. Keeping the screen clean, makes it much easier to see the display. I keep a bottle of screen cleaner in the boat and use if often during the day. I use commercially available cleaner that I buy at office supply stores. Use the enclosed cloth or the one that came with you depth finder to prevent damage to the screen.
Water temps are just as important in the fall as they are in the spring. Falling water temps will key the bass to start feeding up for winter and once they get low enough, the bass will transition to the winter patterns.
Fish fast in the fall. The aggressive nature of fall bass makes it possible to cover a lot of water by fishing fast moving baits. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to burn a spinnerbait. During the fall, Iíll fish a spinnerbait either just under the surface or even waking the surface. The fast retrieve generates some explosive strikes.
Fall is in full swing, so bass fishing right now is all about baitfish. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits and swimbaits will be your most productive choice of baits. Your color selections should be a variation of shad pattern. My favorites are either a Sexy Shad, Sexy Shad Chartreuse or Tennessee Shad.
Dull hooks are one of the leading causes of missed fish, especially on a worm or jig. Once Iíve gotten a hook stuck in a piece of wood or rock, Iíll always change it out to a new one. It takes a little time; but once you get a bite, the last thing you want to see is that fish get away. For jigs and spinnerbaits, I keep a triangular file in the boat. If they feel dull, a couple of passes with the file will bring the edge right back.
Spinnerbait blades will tarnish and get dull looking over time. You can change out the blades or throw the bait away, but you can also clean the blades. I use a product called Nevr-Dull to polish mine. It doesnít scratch the finish and makes them look just like new.
One of the best ways to catch more fish is to improve your casting accuracy. By being able to put you bait consistently in hard to reach spots; youíll get more bites, which will result in catching more fish. You should also practice using a side arm, underhand and pitching casts so that you can fit the type of cast to the presentation required in each fishing situation.
The falling water temps and shorter days of Autumn will trigger the bass to start feeding up for winter. The bass are keying on shad during this period, so itís a great time to throw a crankbait or spinnerbait. Look for shad on your depth finder or on the surface and fish the areas with the highest concentration of bait.
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year to fish swimbaits. Since most of the baitfish are large at this time of year, the size of most swimbaits make them perfect for fall. I'll stick with natural colors, such as shad patterns for most lakes and fish baits with some chartreuse in stained water.
Just because the pads are dying out for winter, it doesn't mean that they don't still hold fish. Bass will relate to the pad stems and can be caught by using either a buzzfrog, buzzbait or even a Rat-L-Trap.
As the water temps fall, most of the aquatic vegetation will begin to die off. The bass will still be relating to the vegetation, but they'll be much easier to locate since you have less vegetation to cover. Fish the remaining small clumps and you'll load the boat!
The long hot summer is finally coming to an end. Cooling water temps mean the fish should be moving shallower and getting ready to start feeding up for winter. Fish the same migration routes that you used during the pre-spawn period to locate these migrating bass.
If you're not a deep water fisherman, there are plenty of great opportunities for summer time bass in smaller ponds. The fish will still be in the deepest water, but in most cases this is 12 feet of water or less. Fish the brush in this relatively shallow water and you'll find great concentrations of bass. It's also a great way to build confidence in off-shore fishing that you can apply the next time you're on a bigger lake.
Late summer bass will often suspend in the water column. One great technique for catching these suspended fish is to swim a large worm in deep water. Often the initial bite comes on the fall, so count down the bait to determine what depth the fish are suspending in and then swim the bait at that level.
Moving water will provide some great summertime fishing. Because of this, I'll fish rivers with current whenever I have the option during the Summer. Laydowns along the shore and even shady spots from trees and high banks will give the bass a place to sit and ambush prey that is washed past by the current.
Just because it's hot right now, you shouldn't totally discount fishing shallow for bass. I've often found good quantities of quality bass in less than 5 foot of water with the water temps being in the high 90's. Pads, docks and heavy cover that provide a shady ambush place for bass are key to shallow bites in high water temps.
When fishing a topwater bait such as a Zara Spook, I'll always use monofilament line because it floats and won't pull the front of the bait down. This makes the bait easier to work. If you want a little more buoyancy in the line, you can coat the first 5 feet of you line with chap stick.
Stroking a jig is a great summertime technique for triggering deep bass to bite. When you are stroking a jig, you use a long sweeping motion (I'll move the rod from the 4 o'clock position to straight up) to hop the jig a long ways off the bottom. This give the bass a longer fall time to react to the bait. This technique is particularly effective on summertime ledges and humps.
If you're having a hard time getting a crankbait deep enough for summer time bass on deep points, try Long Lining. In this method, you cast the bait as far as you can and then use the trolling motor to spool out the rest of you line, effectively making a longer cast. It will take time to do, but you can get you baits considerably deeper. This is the technique that Jeremy Starks used to win the Bassmaster Elite Series event on Douglas Lake in May. He reported getting his bait 30 to 40 feet deep.
Last week, I told you about using a straight worm to get a faster fall rate to trigger sluggish bass. Another great way to accomplish this is to use a larger weight on your Texas-Rigged worms. Don't be afraid to go up one or even two sizes and experiment with fall rates until you find the speed the bass want.
Summertime water temperatures will often make bass sluggish and harder to catch. I use a lot of straight worms (such as Zoom Finesse and Trick worms) during this time of year. They fall faster, since they don't have legs or tails to slow them down in the water. This faster fall rate will often trigger a bass into a reaction bite when he really wasn't interested in feeding
Summertime bass will often be located off of ledges in your lake. This is the time of year that your electronics can really pay off. I use my Lowrance HDS units combined with Lowrance's StructureScan to locate schools of fish along these ledges. Spend some time this summer learning to use these tools. Deep crankbaits are the best way to catch them once you've found a school.
Docks make great cover for bass during the summer months. On bright, clear days, the bass will use the shade of the dock as cover to ambush prey. Fast moving baits, such as crankbaits and spinnerbaits, fished along the shadow lines will often trigger a reaction bite.
Summertime means lily pads and fishing hollow belly frogs. I modify my frogs by adding brass bells to the body. These bells will rattle and clang together as the frog comes across the pads, as well as adding weight that make these baits easier to throw. You can purchase the bells at almost any craft store, in a variety of sizes. I mix and match the sizes to get the amount of noise and weight I want for that day.
Bigger is not always better! When fishing a Texas-Rigged worm, it's important to match the hook size to the bait you are throwing. A hook that is too big of a hook will turn in the fishes mouth and lower your chances of catching a fish. For a small (under 5 inches) bait; I'll use a 1/0 hook. For a 6" bait; I'll use a 3/0 hook. And for 8" worms and larger; I'll use a 5/0 hook.
Summertime means schooling bass! For schooling fish on top, I like to throw a buzzbait early in the day, move to a chugger type bait, such as a Splash It or Pop-R, later in the morning and then use a crankbait or rattletrap later in the day. When those schools go down, try a deep crankbait or a Carolina Rig to trigger them to feed.
As water temps continue to rise approaching summer, it's important to remember that the key feeding times will be early in the morning and late in the day. These are the times when light levels are at the lowest and it offers bass a better opportunity to ambush their prey. If you've only got a limited amount of fishing times, concentrate your effort during these times.
Most of the county has experienced a very mild winter and water temps are way above normal for this time of year. It's not too early to start looking for bass in their deeper summer time spots. Main river and lake ledges are key summertime spots. Target them with Carolina Rigs and deep diving crankbaits.
Once the bass recover from their spawn, they'll begin the migration back to their summer time haunts. You can target these fish along the same paths they took to the shallow water during pre-spawn. Follow your creek channels and bluff back out to the deeper water and you'll find fish this time of year, somewhere along those paths.
Around this time of year, most lakes will see a bluegill spawn. This spawn offers bass a much needed food source to help them recover from their own spawn. Target hard bottom areas such as sand, gravel and rock since this is where the bream beds will be.
Post spawn is often the hardest time of the year to catch a bass. The fish are lethargic and worn out from the rigors of the spawn. During this tough bite, I'll stay in the same areas as the spawn, since most of the bass won't leave the areas immediately. Target docks, weed lines and heavy cover since these are the types of areas that the bass will congregate to rest up after the spawn.
After the bass have spawned, you'll start to see large schools of bass fry in your lake. Since bass will feed on these groups of fry, keep an eye open for the schools. You'll often trigger a strike by running a spinnerbait through these schools. If that doesn't work, I'll use a Texas rigged worm thrown to the center of the school.
One of my favorite baits during the bass spawn is a stick bait, such as a Senko or Yum Dinger. Most of the time, you can Texas rig these baits and fish it weightless. But when fished with a weight, they are even more productive. They are great around docks, weeds or any wood cover.
In most of the country, the bass are spawning. This is a great time of year to catch the largest fish in your local lake. The bass are shallow and vulnerable, so it's important to return these fish to the lake after you catch them. Studies have shown that catching a bedding bass doesn't interfere with the spawning process as long as the fish is returned to the bed. Get your pictures, measure the fish for a replica to be made and let her go.
With the spawn approaching and the larger bass being venerable, it's a great time to catch that trophy of a lifetime. But we need to remember that a successful spawn will lead to better fishing in the future. Catch that trophy fish and get your pictures, but please release the big girls. That's the kind of genetics we need in all of our fisheries. Today replica bass mounts allow us to have a memento of that catch and still allow the fish to survive and reproduce.
Today we're on the 3rd day of Spring. For most of the country, that means the bass are moving up to spawn. Think about where the fish spent most of the winter and where they spawn in your lake. During this pre-spawn time, the fish will be staged along the creek channels and points coming into the spawning areas. It's a great time of year to find large concentrations of bass in concentrated areas.
Watching your water temp gauge can tell you which areas of the lake have the warmest water and where the best fishing will be. If you fish from shore or don't have a water temp gauge, you can still find these areas by how green the vegetation is. Grasses in the warmer areas green up first, so that's where you should concentrate your efforts.
Spinnerbaits are great for springtime bait for pre-spawn bass. I'll use a big bladed spinnerbait, such as a number 5 Colorado blade that I can slow roll. The heavy thump of that big blade, combined with a slow retrieve, drives sluggish bass crazy and it's a great way to catch large bass.
Warmer temps are right around the corner. This is a great time to check up on your fishing gear and boat. Clean your reels and replace that old line from last season, repack the wheel bearings in your boat trailer and make sure those trolling motor batteries are charged up.
Changing line is very important. Since I'm normally changing anywhere from 5 to 10 spools at a time, it can get pretty expensive. I keep this cost down by using a backing on all of my reels. You only need fresh line for about the last 1/3 of a spool, so only change that part of the line.
It's important to know the composition of the bottom of almost any area you are fishing. This knowledge will help you determine what baits to use and also help locate spawning areas during the spring. One of my favorite ways to get this information is to use a Carolina Rig. The heavy weight gives you a great feel for the bottom and what type of cover is there.
Any time I'm fishing, I like to keep what I call a "Rapid Response Bait" handy on deck. I use this bait to throw at any fish I see that comes up feeding in the area that I'm fishing. Some of the best baits for this are Rattletraps, crankbaits and topwater baits. This bait will often add an extra fish to my livewells during the course of a fishing day.
Always pay attention to everything going on around you while you are on the water. On a recent trip to the Harris Chain in Florida, I saw one area of the lake where there were several groups of gulls feeding. I stopped and found out that there were shell beds under the areas where they were feeding. Because of this, I was able to find an area with a concentration of bass that were also feeding.
A Wacky Worm Rig is a very effective finesse technique for finicky bass. It's also a very simple rig to use. Simply hook any straight worm through the center and fish it weightless. The worm will fall straight down in the water column and when you twitch the worm, it moves sideways and bends in the middle. When you release pressure on the line, the worm straightens and continues to fall. This erratic motion is something that the bass don't see as often as a normal presentation.
The hottest bait of 2011 (and probably of 2012 as well) was the Alabama Rig. If you haven't heard of this, it's basically an umbrella rig that allows you to throw up to 5 baits at once. Using Flukes or Swimbaits, the Alabama Rig looks like a school of baitfish swimming by. It takes a heavy action rod and 65 pound or higher braided line to throw but many anglers are reporting catching up to 5 bass at a time on it. Look it up online and give it a try.
If it's too cold to fish, now is a great time to work on your fishing equipment. Either clean all of your reels or send them out for cleaning. This maintenance will prevent problems when warmer weather rolls around and you won't lose fishing time.
For the new year, make a resolution to learn a new fishing technique every month or two. Learning new techniques will make you a more versatile angler and you'll catch more fish because of this versatility.
Just because your lake is frozen over, it doesn't mean you can't get some use out of that new rod or reel you got for Christmas. Use this time to learn or practice your flipping and pitching techniques inside the house or garage. Practicing now will shorten the learning curve and lead to more productive time on the water in the spring.
Today is the official first day of winter but for a lot of the country, the bass have already entered their winter patterns. Prime areas for winter bass are creek channels and bends and bluff walls. Remember to slow down and fish as slow as you can stand. The bass will be very inactive will need a long time to decide to eat a bait. Patience is the key in winter.
Jigs are great baits for cooler water. They can be fished slowly and have great action from their trailers even when they are stilling still. In clearer water, I prefer natural colors like a green pumpkin or watermelon red. In more stained water, I'll use black and blue or brown and orange jigs and trailers.
As the water gets colder, jerkbaits are a great choice for bass. I prefer suspending baits in cooler water so that I can make it sit still in the strike zone longer which will often trigger a bite from sluggish bass. Vary your hesitation times between twitches until you determine the depth and speed (or lack thereof) that the bass want.
Maintenance on your boat's trolling motor batteries is critical to a long life. Battery life can be extended by fully charging your batteries after each use and checking the acid levels on a monthly basis. While checking the acid levels, it's also a good idea to inspect the connections and clean any corrosion off of the terminals.
Inspect your rod eyes for damage on a regular basis. The smallest nick or crack can cut or damage your line and you won't generally see this damage until you break off a fish. One easy way to check the eyes for damage is to run a Q-Tip around them. If there is a rough spot, it will snag the cotton on the Q-Tip.
When fishing a plastic worm, it is not always necessary to use a "Cross his eyes" hard hookset. With today's lower stretch lines, sharper hooks and better rods, this type of hook set will often snatch the hook out of the fishes mouth. If you're missing fish with your normal set, skin hook the worm and just reel up hard when you get a bite. This will pull the hook point into the fish's mouth and you'll land more bass.
Most people will tell you that you should set the hook as soon as you feel a fish pick up a plastic worm. I find that most of the time, bass will hold onto a bait a lot longer than you think. By hesitating a second, you can give the fish a minute to get a better grip on the bait, while you determine which way he is swimming and get ready to set the hook. As long as you don't put pressure on the bass, he won't put the bait down.
When fishing top water hard baits, such as a Zara Spook or Pop R, you should always use monofilament line. Since this line floats, it will not pull the nose of the bait down. This will make it much easier to work it with the correct action.
In stained water, I'll add a touch of color to almost all soft plastics by using a dipping dye. The most common color is chartreuse, but you can also add red, blue, green and pink. This flash of color acts as an attention getter and will often trigger more strikes.
Soft plastic swimbaits, such as the Zoom Swimming Fluke and the Reaction Skinny Dipper, are very versatile baits. You can fish them weightless so they run on the surface or wake them just under the surface. By adding a weight, you can fish them deeper in the water column. I use them almost any time that the fish are feeding on shad or other baitfish.
The easiest way to go from catching a few fish to catching a lot of fish is by learning to recognize patterns. Pay attention to the depth, type of cover, water temp and bait that you catch each fish on and that will lead you to other fish. The quicker you pick up on these clues, the more fish you will catch during the day.
There are two situations concerning the drag that can cause you to lose a fish. First, many drag systems will stick after having sat up for a while. By simply pulling some line out before you use the reel, you can unstuck the drag system. The second problem is caused by the drag backing off while your rods are being transported. Either situation can be avoided by checking the drag when you pick up a rod for the first time each day.
One of the hottest selling baits this year has been the square billed crankbait. These baits are perfect for fishing shallow cover where the bass are hanging out in the Fall. The shape of the bill makes the bait deflect off of cover and often triggers the strike.
One of my favorite baits for the fall is a buzzbait. Bass are very aggressive during this time of year and since they are chasing baitfish, a buzzbait will often trigger huge strikes. Fish the back ends of pockets and around any cover that offers the bass an ambush point. Remember to always use a trailer hook to improve your catch ratio.
Fall fishing is all about the baitfish. Bass will be moving shallow and feeding up for winter. You can target fall fish using faster moving baits that imitate shad or herring such as spinnerbaits or crankbaits. Match the colors of your baits to the type of baitfish that the bass feed on in your area.
A lot of the country is in drought conditions this year. If you're in one of those areas and your local lake is low, take this opportunity to learn areas that are out of the water now. Taking some pictures and comparing them to what you see on your depth finder when the water is back up is also a great way to learn how to understand your sonar data.
Summertime means schooling bass and one of the best ways I know to catch schoolers is to use a floating worm. I normally use a Zoom Trick worm rigged with a 3/0 EWG Gamakatsu hook. If you rig this worm straight, you will be able to work it with a "walk the dog" presentation that will drive the bass crazy. To make it walk, point you rod down and with a little slack in the line, twitch the rod fairly aggressively. With a little practice, you'll have it walking in no time. This technique is most effective with a hesitation between twitches.
Bass are sometimes very sensitive to noise so there are several things you can do to keep the noise level from your trolling motor down. First, make sure all of the nuts and bolts of the motor are tight. Any slack will make an abrupt noise that will almost always spook the fish. Secondly, check the prop for nicks. These nicks will make the prop make more noise in the water. Also, make sure that you don't have in line or weeds on the prop or inside of the prop hub.
Although I'm not a huge fan of adding scents to your lures as an attractant, I do believe that scent plays a role in getting a fish to bite and keeping them on the line long enough to get the hook set. Buying lures with scent built into them is easier and neater. I will also use dipping dye on a lot of my lures, not only to add some color to the tail, but also to add scent. I'm also very careful about what scents I get on my hands during the day from food or chemicals. I always fuel the boat the night before I'm fishing to keep that scent off of my hands.
These super hot days of summer are perfect for fishing a hollow body frog if you live near a lake with pads or other surface vegetation. When looking at a huge body of pads, it's important to narrow down the area to fish so that you can cover only the areas that are holding fish. I will look for areas with deep water nearby and areas with irregularities such as points or cuts in the pads. For more frog fishing tips, check out this article I did for Bassmaster.com: http://www.bassmaster.com/node/108945
Shade is an important key to locating bass in the summertime. Bass use this shade as a ambush area as well as a way to stay cooler. Often they will hold in areas along the shore that have no cover other than shade. Target these areas with reaction baits, such as a spinnerbait, crankbait or fluke.
Summertime is one of the prime times to throw a very deep diving crankbait such as the Norman DD22. One way to get your baits to dive deeper is to use lighter line. I'll often throw these baits on 8 or 10 pound monofilament line. Dropping the line size one step (for example from 12 to 10 pound) will pick you up 1 to 2 foot of extra depth on a long cast.
One popular technique for catching deep fish in the summer is a football jig. You can use these in places you would normally throw a Carolina Rig. It gives the fish a different profile and look and will often trigger bites in areas where the bass have turned off of the Carolina Rig
Summer time means schooling bass, so you should always keep baits available to take advantage of these schools if they pop up close to the boat. My personal favorites are a Zara Spook, a Rattletrap and a Zoom Super Fluke.
When choosing a topwater bait, you should take the surface conditions into account. On calm flat water, I'll throw a chugging type bait such as a Pop-R, Splash-It or Skitter Pop. When there is a ripple on the surface, use a prop-bait like a Devil's Horse.
Summer time bass relate to reservoir and river ledges. Using your electronics, especially the side scan feature like I have on my Lowrance HDS units, can help you pinpoint the exact locations that the fish are holding and the depths that they are relating to on the ledges. Once you've located productive areas, find similar areas and they'll typically also hold bass
As the bass leave their post spawn patterns and enter a summer pattern, you'll typically need to move deeper to catch bass. But that doesn't mean that there aren't any shallow fish left. I recently fished a tournament in Tennessee that I caught between 70 and 80 keepers during the two days of the tournament in less than 6 feet of water. These fish were related to thick bushes and baitfish that were using that cover. Once I found those fish, I could run down the lake and catch bass off of every piece of brush that was in the right depth.
Some of the hottest baits on the market today are swimbaits. There is no question that these baits catch large fish, but they do take a lot of patience. When fishing a swimbait, you should keep in mind that you are not going to get as many bites as you might on other baits, but they will keep you in the top of the standings in your tournaments.
Floating worms are great for catching Spring time, shallow bass. I generally use a Zoom Trick Work and Texas rig it weightless for this technique. It is most successful using a "walk the dog" action with long pauses between jerks. You can vary the fall rate by changing hook sizes. Use a 3/0 EWG for slower fall rates and a 5/0 EWG for faster fall rates.
Line twist is the biggest problem most people have when using a spinning reel. To help prevent this problem, always manually close the bale on your reel. Using the reel handle to close the bale will introduce line twist.
Use the correct line type for each type of fishing. Generally, you will want to use monofilament for crankbaits and spinnerbaits, fluorocarbon for worm fishing or bottom bouncing baits and braid for applications such as fishing a frog or punching grass mats. For more detailed information, visit blogs.clarionledger.com/smcgehee/2011/03/02/fishing-line-selection/.
When fishing with a crankbait, it is important that the bait runs straight. This allows it to reach its maximum depth and have the correct action. If you have one that runs to one side, take your pliers and bend the attachment eye slightly to the side that is running low in the water.
When worm fishing, using a lighter line will generally get more bites, so use the lightest line that the cover allows. You want to use a weight that is just heavy enough to feel you bait contact any cover. This will allow the bait to fall slowly and get more bites.
Catching bass off their beds takes patience and observation. Pay attention to how the bass react to your bait when you put it into the bed. By observing their reaction to your bait, you can tell what aggravates them most. Once you know this, it's simply a matter of repeating that action until the bass looses patience and eats the bait.
As the bass prepare to spawn, they will migrate from their winter hideouts to the spawning areas. Look at you lake and determine where those areas are and look for areas that they will stage on the way into shallow water. Points and secondary points are prime areas for the bass to stop and group up on the way to spawning pockets. You can also find these fish in the same areas on their way back out after spawning.
Changing your fishing line is critical to landing big fish, but it isn't necessary to change all of the line on each reel. To save money, only remove about 2 ½ times the amount of line that you would normally use for your longest cast. Leave the remaining old line on the reel as backing. It will take less line to re-spool that way.
If you are having trouble hooking up with a crankbait or all of the fish that bite it are being caught on the back hook only, you should swap out the front treble hook to a red treble hook. The red color refocuses the bass's attention and will cause him to take the whole bait into it's mouth.
One common problem with fishing any of the many versions of buzz-frogs such as Stanley's Ribbit or Zoom's Horny Toad is that the fish will often hit the bait but not take it into their mouth. Most of the time, this problem is caused by your color selection. If you are getting bites but not hooking up, swap the color you are using. If you are fishing a light color bait go darker and if you are fishing a translucent bait to a solid color. The strikes are telling you that your are throwing the right bait, you just need to change things around to find the right color.
Often while fishing a soft plastic bait in heavy cover, you will want to peg the weight. This keeps the weight and bait close together and attached, which makes it easier to penetrate the cover. A lot of fishermen use a toothpick or rubber insert to peg their weights but I prefer to use a Sinker Stopper. Sinker Stoppers are small rubber pieces that you thread onto the line above your weight and pull down to the weight to hold it in place. I use them rather than any of the other methods because they don't damage the line and you can change weights and hooks easily.
When choosing a weight size to use with a Texas-rigged worm, a good rule of thumb is to use the lightest weight that you can use and still be able to feel the cover. Heavier weights will allow you to penetrate cover better or get to the bottom quicker, but they restrict the amount of time that a bass can see the bait falling in the water column.
To get your soft plastics to penetrate heavy brush or matted grass, use tungsten weights instead of lead weights. The smaller profile and harder surface of tungsten weights allows the baits to slide down in the cover easily. You should always peg you weight while fishing in heavy cover to keep the weight from going to the bottom but leaving your bait caught higher up in the cover.
With spring just around the corner, the most important tool in your boat is your water temperature gauge. Bass will be looking for the warmest water they can find during the pre-spawn time of year. Differences of 1 or 2 degrees will often trigger the bass to feed since they need to eat more to prepare for the upcoming spawn.
There are hundreds of colors available in soft plastics today. Narrow your choices down by using a couple of simple guidelines to determine what the fish will bite. In clearer water, use translucent and natural colors such as watermelon seed, watermelon red or red plum. In stained water, use colors such as green pumpkin, black or Junebug that don't allow light to penetrate the lure. In muddy water, you can use a brighter color such as chartreuse or orange for better visibility.
If you're fishing after a front passes through, look for the heaviest cover around. Bass will pull tight to that cover and be reluctant to bite, so fish it thoroughly and slowly. You can get them to bite but the bait will have to practically hit them in the head and create a reaction bite. This heavy cover can be brush or heavy grass. Another area to look for a post-front bite would be muddy water.
Most of the time when a fish breaks your line, the line failure occurs at the knot. Regardless of the type of knot you tie, you should always wet the line to reduce friction before you tighten down the knot. Also inspect the knot to make sure it is seated right on the hook and the line above the knot was not damaged. Practice tying your knots during the off season, so that when you hook that fish of a lifetime this coming spring, he won't get away.
When selecting spinnerbait blades, take the water color into consideration. Typically, you will use a Colorado blade in muddy or heavily stained water because it has more thump to it, making it easier for the fish to locate the bait. In clear water, you will normally use a willow leaf blade which has less thump, but reflects more light since it spins more times at the same speed.
When setting the hook on a Carolina Rig, always sweep the rod to the side, never up. This allows you to pick up more line and you don't have to lift the heavy weight off of the bottom.
Sound is an attractant for bass. When using a plastic worm, put a glass bead between the sinker and worm as a noise maker. When the weight hits the bead, it makes a clicking sound similar to the sound crawfish make when feeding.
When fishing a Carolina rigged worm, if you are unsure that the tic you just felt on your line is a fish, reel in line quickly. If it is a fish, the rod will load up and you can set the hook. If there is no pressure, you can stop reeling and not totally ruin the cast.
Winter time doesn't have to mean an end to all things fishing related. It's a great time to clean out and organize your tackle, research a new fishing technique, send out your reels for cleaning and repair or to just catch up on reading those fishing magazines. You can also practice or learn to pitch or flip inside the house. A paper plate makes a great target; just remember to cut the hook off to protect those pets.
For a better hook-up percentage on a Texas rigged worm, rig it exposed instead. To do this, instead of burying the hook in the work, take the hook all the way through the worm and just bury the point of the hook. That way, when the fish bites down, the hook pops loose.
When bass fishing during the winter months; remember that the bass are cold-blooded, so their metabolism is slowed way down. Fish slower and expect to get fewer bites than you would in warmer months. Preparing yourself mentally for a slower day makes it easier to concentrate on the bites that you do get. Remember, you might not get as many bites, but winter is a great time to catch larger fish since they require more food than the smaller bass.
"Fishing tournaments in different areas of the country and all times of year; you are exposed to all types of weather. Whether it's an approaching thunderstorm, snow storm, tornado or the hottest day of the year; the weather is the most critical part of determining the current fishing conditions. Accurate information is critical and ScoutLook has the most complete and accurate information available."View Full Bio