Are you tired of not having your own fish tale to share with fellow anglers? Don’t despair. Catching bass fish ban be complicated! It takes skill, the right equipment, some knowledge and, above all, patience.
There are so many videos and articles out there claiming to clue you in on the secrets that it can lead to information overload, especially if you are a beginner bass fisherman. There are so many factors that come into play, and each one can bring you one step closer to that trophy catch.
Bass fishing can be addictive, but it is always more fun when you have a stringer full to bring home. Knowing the ins and outs of the types of bass fish, their preferred habitat, and what they like to feed on will help you when you venture out on the water.
In this article, we broke down all the basics for you beginners and added seven tips to boot.
The Different Types of Bass Fish
(and How to ID Them)
The smallmouth bass is a brownish-green color, has a vertical barring on its sides and a white belly that does not cover highly on the sides. They prefer clear-water lakes with cooler temperatures and rocky areas.
Guadalupe, Alabama & Spotted Bass
This type of bass has a broken, lateral stripe that is similar to a largemouth bass. Its jaw does not extend behind the eye when its mouth is closed. On its whitish belly are spots that form rows of stripes. You can find the Guadalupe bass fish in flowing waters, such as the Guadalupe River, and the spotted bass fish in the Ohio River basin and in the Mississippi River basin, in the Gulf states from Texas to Florida.
Unlike the spotted bass, the largemouth bass has a lateral stripe that is more definite. When its mouth is closed, its jaw extends behind the back margin of the eye. Largemouth bass often like to seek cover among logs, rock ledges or even manmade structures. While they prefer clear, quiet waters, they can still be found in other habitats.
As the name states, the yellow bass is a silvery-yellow color. It has distinct lateral stripes that are broken above the anal fin. Its dorsal fins are jointed and this fish doesn’t have a tooth patch near the middle back of its tongue. You can find the yellow bass in its native states, Oklahoma, Texas and Mississippi, but they are also known to be found in Arizona, Wisconsin, Iowa and Tennessee.
The white bass has faint stripes and only one that extends to the tail. It is a body deep fish, more than one-third of its length. Unlike the yellow bass, the white bass does have a tooth patch near the middle back of its tongue. The white bass fish is native to the central U.S. (west of the Appalachians,) including the Great Lakes, and river systems in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys. They can also be found in the Red River in Texas.
The striped bass fish can be identified by its many distinct stripes, many of which extend to its tail. Its body is slender and less than 1/3 its length. The striped bass has two distinct tooth patches on the back midline of its tongue. The striped bass is native to a variety of habitats, including bays, shores and estuaries.
Hybrid Striped Bass
Like the striped bass, it has several (sometimes broken) lines extending to its tail. Unlike the striped bass, though, it is body deep, greater than 1/3 its length. Similar to the striped bass, it has two tooth patches on the back midline of its tongue. The tooth patches may be distinct or close together.
Where Do Bass Fish Live?
Difference between Cover and Structure
Cover and structure are two words commonly used to describe where bass fish live. Knowing the difference between them can help you catch them much more easily. Cover refers to physical objects such as stumps, vegetation or sand on the bottom of the lake. Structure refers to physical contours of the bottom of the lake, such as drop-offs, ledges, walls or islands. Bass fish like BOTH sufficient cover and structure.
When to Target Them
One of the most important things to consider when bass fishing is the season and migration patterns. During summer, the bigger bass will only come out to feed a couple times of day, typically early in the morning or late at night. While in winter, however, they will adjust that feeding schedule to go out during the warmer parts of the day. Keep in mind, though, that bass fish will migrate to different locations depending on the season. Use resources such as books or videos to learn more about their migration patterns. The best way to learn is to go out yourself and study the way they react throughout each season.
Water Temperature and How It Affects Bass Activity
Believe it or not, water temperature can vary by 10 degrees depending on where in the lake you are positioned. Depending on the time of year, this could make a drastic impact on where you can find bass fish. For example, during spring, the north end of the lake will warm up more quickly, meaning bass will be in more shallow areas in the north part of the lake.
Temperature also affects a fish’s metabolism, so understanding the temperature will be key to finding the best location to catch bass — no matter what time of the year it is.
How to Match Their Food to Your Lures
Although all varieties of bass fish are likely to eat anything they see moving in the water, they do have favorite meals. Usually, you can find bass eating smaller fish such as shad, minnows, panfish and perch. They also eat other creatures like crawdads, salamanders, frogs and. surprisingly sometimes, even snakes, birds and mice.
When choosing the bait you’ll use to entice bass fish, keep in mind the colors of the bait this fish may be drawn to in a typical scenario. If you see a lot of frogs hopping nearby, you would probably be safe to use green bait. Keep in mind the time of the year and what they eat seasonally as well.
Lucky 7 Tips for Bass Fishing
1. Keep Your Hooks Sharp
Bass fish have bony jaws, and the last thing you want is to get a bite but miss setting the hook because it’s too dull. Use a file to sharpen your hook each time you catch a fish and before each fishing trip for your best chance of catching fish. It will only take you a minute, but will make a big overall difference.
2. Use Red to Fool the Fish
Using a pink or red spinner bait can trick the fish into thinking the bait they are pursuing is injured. The fish will bite at it, and you will raise your chances of catching a bass fish you can tell others about.
3. Make Your Bait Seasonal
Bass fish change their tastes with the seasons, so match up your bait accordingly. Early in the year, they like crawfish — so opt for pinkish colors. Later on in the year, bass prefer shad, so use lots of silver and chrome colors.
4. Face the Wind When You Cast
Your instinct may be to face against the wind in order to gain distance, but facing the wind may raise your chance of catching a bass. Fish swim with the current, so they will find your bait before they find the boat. This will also prevent them from hearing extra noises that may scare them away.
5. Use Stealth Mode in Your Approach
Catching fish is like hunting anything else in that you need to be stealthy in your approach. Before the first cast, slowly turn your motor down to keep noises to a minimum. Just about any noise you make in the boat will create a vibration in the water, alerting fish to your presence. This will keep them from wanting to eat in that area, or at least not eat aggressively.
6. Shoot for 50 Degrees in Spring
The biggest fish always lay their eggs first, so they are the ones getting up early to feed. This is your chance to be there when the large mother bass fish is looking for food.
7. Be Patient
Rather than excitedly yanking your bait off of the bed, be patient. Gently twitch the bait and wait for the bass to come attack.
Catching bass can be challenging, but having knowledge about the types of bass fish, their favorite habitats and their typical feeding schedules will make a world of difference in your game. No matter which state or lake your ideal bass is swimming in, they all tend to like cover andstructure.
Once you find the perfect place to cast, be sure you face into the wind since bass swim with the current. Keeping your hooks sharp will keep you from missing what could have been a great catch.
Finally, patience is key! It’s the best piece of equipment in your tackle box. Gently twitching the bait will cause bass to attack and get caught on your hook. Keep these tips in mind on your next fishing trip, and remember that going on the water and paying attention to their patterns will be one of the best ways you can learn.
We wish you “Happy Fishing!”