Learning the many different bass fishing techniques will not only make you a better fisherman but will increase you enjoyment of bass fishing as well.
Many non-fishermen think bass fishing is a guy sitting in a boat or on the bank with a cane pole (we use rods!!!), a line with a worm on a hook tossed lazily in the water. The fisherman is laid back and napping while waiting for a bite. When you think about, it that's not a bad way to spend a day, especially if
you have some sandwiches and beer to keep you company.
However, really serious bass fishermen know a day on the lake or floating a river is a an active hunt for a moody, wary prey that will test an anglers skill and patience and often call upon every bass fishing technique they know.
During the course of one day a bass angler may toss topwater lures
early morning, fish plastic worms later, burn or helicopter
spinnerbaits, work jigs in rock or flip them in grass, drag a Carolina
Rig deep or delicately jiggle a
drop-shot rig there and maybe even fish crankbaits shallow and deep. There are numerous bass fishing techniques that hold promise of catching our prey once we find them.
Some of us find this to be beyond fun while others feel this is beyond maddening because it requires identifying and using the best bass tackle and best bass lure for each bass fishing technique. But this is a great part of "fishing" enjoyment and such a multi-faceted approach to bass fishing will improve your chances of "catching"!
Remember, getting there is half the fun and "getting there" is all the great stuff that's the "fishing" part of "catching" bass!
Bass Fishing Techniques
Fishing a plastic worm is an old, basic and popular bass fishing technique. It is "arguably" the most most successful bass catching lure ever. It was fished early on "Texas style", or Texas rigged. This rig is comprised of line, a bullet sinker, worm hook and plastic worm. When rigged weedless it's an excellent method for fishing heavy cover including grass, rock and brush. Baitcasting gear is used by most to insure a good hook set.
Over the years numerous modifications for the Texas rigged plastic worm have been devised. There are now many different hook types for worms, different worm styles and even worm technique dedicated rods. Generally speaking worm fishing requires fairly stout gear, medium to medium-heavy baitcasting rod and reel, that will drive the hook into the bass' mouth with the hook set though many do fine with spinning gear.
A technique that is beautiful in its ease of use. In fact, it is probably the number one bass fishing technique in popularity for fishing soft plastic. Dragging is a technique which utilizes a Carolina rig. The rig is made up of a main line, a sinker, bead(s), a brass "clacker", a swivel, leader and a plastic lure.
Though originally developed as a technique for catching a quick stringer of "keepers' using small artificial plastics it has evolved into a fishing technique for catching lunker bass as well. Many anglers seek the big bite using plastics that are 9" to 11" in length.
Dragging is suitable any time of year, though spring just before to just after spawn is prime time. It is best applied to clean, hard bottoms devoid of vegetation including points, ledges, humps and weed lines. It's not the best when used in thick aquatic growth or gnarly wooded cover.
"Draggin" is also good in deep water, 10´ to 30´ deep. It is very weedless. It can be used with either spinning or casting gear, is a great technique for covering lots of territory and can be fished slow.
This is a bass fishing technique developed on western reservoirs for catching finicky bass in clear, deep water. It was designed for light tackle and small soft lures. It is simple and very effective.
In its original and most basic form a drop-shot rig consists of light line, usually fluorocarbon and a small bait-holder hook tied directly to the line with a Palomar knot so it stands straight out from the line. The rig has a sinker attached to the bottom of the tag end of the line from a few inches to a few feet below the hook.
The basic technique has evolved rather quickly into a system that utilizes of all kinds of rods, reels and soft plastics used in many different situations and water bodies, even in grass! Using it "under" matted grass is sometimes referred to as a "hog shot" application. Another recent patented modification is being called the "Wiggle Rig" and uses an elastic leader.
Recently many bass anglers have dropped fishing grubs from their bag of bass fishing techniques. If you're one of those you have taken a very effective weapon from your bass fishing arsenal.
Grubs can be fished in so many ways and in so many conditions they should be considered a staple bait by every bass fisherman. Though at their best rigged on a leadhead they are effective when used for drop-shotting, split-shotting, on Carolina rigs, Texas rigged for grass or fished as topwater "buzzers" and even like a crankbait.
Thought of as "primo" smallmouth bass lures for clear water situation they are just as effective on largemouth bass.
A bass fishing techniques that has become very popular. It can be very effective when used in tough, extreme conditions in winter, during cold fronts, in the hot days of summer and around spawn. The rig is simply a plastic lure, usually a worm, on a jig head with a long shank hook. The worm is rigged weedless by burying the hook point in the worm.
The presentation is one requiring pinpoint lure placement and a delicate touch in imparting "shaky action" to the lure. Many different lures can be used such as small jigs, tubes, creature baits, worms of numerous sizes and craws.
There are even "shaky head rods available. I use a G.Loomis 6´ 10" "mag-lite", "extra-fast" action rod. However, any rod that has a stiff butt and light tip will do. A spinning reel is best for this technique.
This is a finesse bass fishing technique aimed at getting bass to bite in cold weather. It is simple in its design. It requires line, a splitshot placed securely on 6 to 10lb line a ways up from a light wire hook and a plastic bait. A rod that is light and sensitive 6´ 6" to 7´ long and with a good backbone and a spinning reel is the best tackle for this.
This is a technique that might ultimately save you from a cold day on the water without a strike.
Dead Sticking and Wacky Fishing
Dead sticking is a recently popular bass fishing technique designed to capitalize on the habit of larger bass to lurk under balls of baitfish and wait for a wounded or lost shad to head for the bottom seeking safety. The larger bass simply wait patiently and vacuum up all the unfortunate shad attempting to hide among the rocks after losing contact with the bait ball.
Their only safety is in numbers, in the ball itself, and getting separated from it is certain to place them in the sights of a patient bass.
The technique uses a straight tail worm, often a Senko, weightless or on a jig head. The goal is to get the bait to drift, after casting to the edge of the bait ball, slowly down toward the bottom where it remains motionless till scooped up by a patrolling bass.
The "dead stick" rig is very much like a "Wacky" rig but differs in its presentation and hook style.
Wacky fishing has proved successful around flooded bushes, in shallow grass and dropped down bluffs. As it falls the ends of the bait (almost any straight tail worm will do) undulate up and down. In fact, though tradition calls for long, straight lures, there are today many different type of lures being used in this technique as well as a wide range of hook styles.
Fishing swimbaits is a technique that can catch bass almost anywhere, anytime. This relatively new and realistic bass fishing technique revolves around a style of lure that is growing rapidly in popularity because of its record of success.
They are available in lengths as short as 3" up to as much as 12" and can weigh as much as 8oz. Many are jointed. Some have but a single top hook. Others have both top hook and a bottom treble hook. Hollow body paddle tail versions must have a hook rigged to them. These are usually weighted, offset style hooks.
Though many are extremely close in appearance to the real thing and paddle tails contribute greatly to realistic action it remains imperative that they be rigged correctly and presented so as to mimic the movement and behavior of real baitfish and other forage fish. Failing to do so will diminish the effectiveness of this great bass fishing technique.
To fish a tube is to fish a chameleon for tubes are seen as many things by bass. They can appear as baitfish or crawfish and are fished on Texas rigs, on the end of Carolina rigs, on split shot rigs, flipped and pitched.
"Skipping" tubes is an outstanding bass fishing technique that gets your bait where the big bass hide under overhanging shore side vegetation and deep into the back of boat slips.
Jig fishing is a bass fishing technique that catches big bass. The jig itself is an extremely versatile lure that can be fished 12 months out of the year. It is a cover specific lure and is most effective when used to fish some type of cover or structure such as rocky bottoms, tree tops, weeds or brush. These are also the areas many anglers avoid with a passion. This is a mistake as these are the places big bass hang out.
Learning to fish a jig properly is a difficult skill to master as it requires focus and an awareness of what your jig is doing at all times. Why? Strike detection is very difficult with jigs. They are not usually jarring or even a "tick" of your line but are most often noticed as a mere heavy feeling or a sideways movement of your line.
Float and Fly Fishing
A bass fishing technique developed for targeting suspended smallmouth bass in clear waters 55° or colder with 48° being the prime temperature. The water must be clear for this is a "sight feeding" technique.
The traditional set up consists of a main line of 10lb Fireline, a float, three way swivel, a leader of 8lb or 10lb fluorocarbon line and a tiny 1/16 oz or 1/32 oz fly. The rod is usually 9´ or 10´ in length with a stiff butt but a medium middle section and a tip that allows for working the tiny lure in a subtle, enticing manner. I use a 9´ 6" Bass Pro Shop FnF rod and have found it to perform well. There are many others in a wide range of prices available however.
This is very much a "finesse" bass fishing technique and hooking up a smallmouth of 2-4lb's on a noodle rod is an absolute "hoot"!
Using "slip floats" for finicky bass when small baits on light line are demanded is a great bass fishing technique. This technique allows for fishing deep water and enables longer casts because there is no long length of line beneath the float to make casting difficult. You can hover over structure, easily adjust your depth, and use any number of artificial or live baits when float fishing.
Slip floats are used by some when Float-N-Fly fishing though purist most likely see this as an aberration. Others use this approach for suspending wacky rigged lures in the face of bass buried in weeds.
These are but a few of the more popular bass fishing techniques. There are wrinkles to each and you may even have your own "modifications". If so, please share them with us and we'll include them in the articles section on this site.
Carolina Rigs, Many Shapes, Many Sizes.
Carolina Rig Fishing, How Is It Done?
When, Where And How To Fish Jigs
Jig Anatomy, More Than Meets The Eye
When, Where And How Do You Fish A Drop-Shot?
Plastic Grubs - Dynamite Lures That Catch Bass Many Ways
Shaky Worm Fishing. The Cure For The Common Case Of Bass Lockjaw.
What's A Floating Worm And How Do You Fish One?
Swimbait Lures Are Sweet! But They Require Correct Rigging And Presentation Tp Be Effective.
Fishing Tube Baits Is Productive Year Round But they're Great In Spring And Fall
Wacky Rig Fishing? What The #~%+*& Is That?
When You're After Finicky Bass Sometimes You Can Catch Them Fishing Bobbers When Nothing Else Will