How To Catch Big Bass

Luck Rarely Plays A Part

All Anglers Want to Know How to Catch Big Bass

The Holy Grail Of Bass Fishermen

Even if we've caught a five pounder, we want a six, then a seven, next an eight. Each time we go we hope to catch the biggest bass ever caught. At least the biggest largemouth bass or smallmouth bass we've ever caught; our personal best.

For many it's a goal they have yet to reach. Not even a five pounder for crying out loud. But big bass are different from all those two, three and four pounders you may have caught. Sure, you may stumble upon a really big bass every now and then. You know the saying, "even a blind hog finds an acorn, blah, blah".

But if you want it to become a habit rather than an occasional stroke of luck you're going to have to adjust your thinking and your approach. If you want to catch a ten pound bass, the next big bass threshold after five pounders, you will have to seriously focus on changing the way you bass fish and learn how to catch big bass.

Going For The Numbers Or That One Big One?

Most of us are 'numbers' bassers. We go out hoping for for a good day, meaning multiple fish. If a hawg of five pounds or bigger shows up in the mix then all the better. But back at the cabin over a beer it's usually all about, "I had 10 today" or "I had a twenty-one bass day". Even if we think we know how to catch big bass we don't target them. Why? Because we also know that doing so can very well mean no bass!

As with most bass there are no absolute rules for how to catch big bass. There are just too many ever changing variables affecting daily patterns of bass behavior. What's true one day is not the next. So embrace whatever lures, techniques and time on the water you can that will increase your odds of catching a big one. Some of those things are found below.

Before moving to them remember that knowing how to catch big bass first includes understanding the nature of the prey you seek.

  1. Big Bass Will Most Always Be Around Prime Cover Close To Deep Water
  2. Big Bass Are Lazy and Won't Chase After A Bait
  3. There Is Some Truth To The Belief That Big Bass Eat Big Baits
  4. Big Bass Spend Much Time Suspended Over Deep Water Structure and Structure

Targeting Big Bass

Anglers who target only big bass have several things in common, though each will also have their personal techniques, lures and presentations developed from time on the water. They know where the biggest largemouth bass hang out, how to use stealth in approaching them and what lures, presented correctly, will make them strike. Nevertheless, what follows are some general tips on how to catch big bass that will help those of us less proficient at doing so.

  • They fish largemouth bass dominated lakes, focusing on any lake known as a big bass lake, as well as rivers and ponds with histories of big bass.
  • These big game hunters of the bass world have accumulated knowledge of the when and where of how to catch big bass. They know the most likely times and places to find them.
  • They know, probably most importantly, that big bass take over the prime spots for their home and do so because that is where they find food, or quick access to it, and security.
  • Hunters of big largemouth bass understand that mossbacks have, as they've grown older and larger, transitioned away from handing out in shallow water to deeper edges with immediate access to even deeper water.
  • They've learned the migration routes big bass travel from their deeper water haunts to their more shallow feeding grounds and fish them along the way. Sort of like the Minutemen picking off the Redcoats during our Revolutionary War.
  • Big bass are edge bass. They locate on the outside edges of structural features like humps, rock piles and drop offs that are situated so as to provide a dividing line between shallow and deeper water. Right where big bass want to be.
  • Hawg hunters know a choice big bass location is an edge, breakline or point that intersects with a creek channel, gully or old stream bed. Finding such a spot is a key ingredient in the equation of how to catch big bass.
  • Seasonal influence on big bass patterns are a subject of debate among big bass hunters. Some feel big bass are such loners they don't follow the pack relative to bass patterns. They march to the beat of their own drum so to speak. Others subscribe to the belief big bass move like wolf-packs following baitfish over deep water. Nevertheless: Dedicated big bass hunters will skip fishing nests in spring when bass are spawning and focus instead on breaklines close by. They know that is where the lunkers are more likely to be. Big bass will be staging here in eight to fifteen feet or so of water close to spawning grounds before moving up to spawn. In summer they know to look for big bass in either deeper water or deeper into cover. One most important summer cover type being grass, deep or shallow. They pursue bass into coves and creek arms in the fall months as the bass are pursuing baitfish. But instead of going for quantity by fishing the 'jumps', as many anglers do when fishing in the fall,they fish deeper and with large fishing lures that will stand out attracting the attention of big bass. When the time arrives for winter bass fishing many big bass anglers will move to fish vertical walls, bluffs, as they know the chances are good that some of the biggest largemouth bass will be found. Here, they will use both vertical and horizontal presentations while positioning their boat next to and parallel to the bluff wall.
  • Knowing how to catch big bass, really large bass, includes fishing live baits. Big hawg hunters include shiners, crawfish and creek minnows in their arsenal of largemouth hawg temptations.
  • They are, for the most part, believers in the idea that big baits catch big bass and tend to confine themselves to large fishing lures fished very sloooowly.
  • This one is something most of us can't do. They have learned how to catch big bass by spending a great deal of time on the water.

Noteworthy Largemouth Bass Facts

Statistics maintained for many years by numerous groups clearly establish the following two nuggets of information to be true and contrary to what most bass anglers believe.

Best Fishing Times

The hours of day when most big bass are caught is between noon and 2:00 PM.

Best Fishing Days

January, February, March and April are the months within which the greatest number of lunkers are caught.

How To Catch Big Bass Hawgs??

Arm Yourself With The Right Tackle For The Job At Hand

No matter what you're doing be it changing a tire, repairing a mower, fixing the toilet or switching treble hooks, success is all about having the right tools. Same goes for bass fishing, especially big bass fishing. Part of knowing how to catch big bass is knowing and using the best tools for doing so. Your rod, reel, line, lure and hook should be "in balance".

Rods - Length, Action, Power and Type

Is there a particular size rod most appropriate for big bass fishing? Rod length is first and foremost a function of the individual anglers size and secondarily that of its application. While a 7' 6" rod may work well as pitching rod for me, at 6' 3" tall and 245 pounds, it may not work as well for an angler that's 5' 6" and weighs 140 pounds. So as for length, choose one that works best to minimize the torque a hooked bass has on your hands and wrists.

Additionally, while long rods are seen as the best choice for Carolina Rigs, fishing in and around confined areas like docks, laydowns or overhanging cover calls for something shorter. But longer or shorter varies with each angler. A rod should be a length that works best in each individual's hands.

As for fishing rod action and power when you're focused on catching big bass; clearly a whip like, light action rod will fail to meet the demands of the task. Does that mean you need a rod stiff as a pool stick? No way, but as heavy as a flippin' stick? Sure, for jigs and big plastic worms and swimbait rods for big bass swimbaits of course. The best fishing rods for hooking and landing big bass weighing seven, eight to ten or more pounds demand backbone and a fast tip. Rods rated as heavy and some brands rods rated as medium heavy (all manufacturer's ratings are not the same) are the tool of choice of most big bass fishermen.

Mini Glossary

Torque as used in regard to using a fishing rod, not its construction, is the amount of pressure or force exerted on the angler by a hooked fish. Simply put, the longer the rod, the bigger the fish, the higher the "foot-pounds" of pull exerted on the lever arm formed by the rod and hand. This means long rods require more lifting force by the bass angler to raise a hooked bass.

Action is simply the extent a rod bends, specifically the point where it ceases to bend under pressure. Sometimes referred to as taper, as the degree of taper determines action.

Power is the strength of a rod relative to handling lures of different weights. Heavy rods handle big, heavy lures for example. The power, or weight, of a rod determines the lure and line weights that can be used with it.


Line plays a significant role in the how to catch big bass equation. The specific type, whether braid, fluorocarbon or monofilament, depends on the specifics of water color, structure and cover you're fishing. However, those anglers that have committed to catching big bass and who, as a consequence, know better than most how to catch big bass, choose line strength of at least 12lb. More likely, depending on the specific lure being used, most will be found spooled up with braids of 25-30lbs, fluorocarbons of 17-20lbs or a braid/fluorocarbon leader combination.


What are the best fishing reels to use when targeting big bass? Bait casting reels are the dominant type for numerous reasons, though their cranking power and design functionality, which enables anglers to cast more accurately, rank at the top. A baitcasting rod and reel setup is better suited for casting and retrieving a big bass lure. Additionally, they enable the angler to better play a large bass or pull them from heavy cover.

Spinning reels should not be disregarded as big bass tackle. There are today numerous spinning reels quite capable of handling really big bass. If any of you watch In-Fisherman on television you will see Doug Stange catch big fish of every kind (I'm talking even pike and muskie that weigh in the high teens) on Pflueger Supreme spinning reels and small swimbaits. The largest Pflueger Supreme reel is rated for 12lb line and has nine ball bearings! There are, however, heavier duty spinning reels more suitable on the market.

If you try a spinning reel in your quest to learn how to catch big bass, the most important consideration is its drag. Those found in today's higher end spinning reels are extremely reliable. Make sure it has a superb drag system. Next, consider the number of ball bearings and the material from which they're made. The more the better. Finally, turn off the anti-reverse and learn how to "back reel".

What Are The Best Bass Lures For Big Bass?

If your focus is on how to catch big bass and you embrace the concept that big baits catch big bass, and they do, then look to swimbaits, large tubes, big jig and pig combos and big plastic worms. Of course big bass are caught on small baits too but by using bigger profile lures competition from all the smaller bass is minimized.

Get large fishing lures close enough to a seven or eight pound hawg and the little bass are going to get nosed out. Remember to fish big baits slowly, as slow as a slug in a hurry. Big bass won't chase a lure that zips by.

We'll look at how to catch big bass with some of the most noteworthy baits and their presentation techniques on subsequent pages.

Knowing How To Catch Big Bass Includes Knowing How to Set the Hook On Really Big Baits

Here in the South we haven't fully adopted the huge lures used out west, in some Texas lakes and in Florida. However, they are making their way into southern arsenals as big largemouth bass of eleven, twelve and fifteen pounds are being discovered in both private and public waters. We're learning the way we've traditionally set hooks; reel down, feel the bass them wham will often result in lost bass. That's particularly bad in a part of the country where the really big largemouth are as elusive as a cure for baldness.

Reel First! Reel First! Reel First!!

The proper technique, according to our fellow bass anglers in our western states, includes keeping your rod parallel to the water and pointed towards your lure as retrieved. As soon as you see or feel a strike don't jerk set, start reeling, not to feel the fish but to begin your actual hookset. As your rod loads up and while keeping your rod low, make a forceful, strong sweep set to your side. At the same time turn your body to the side on which you're sweeping your rod.

It is the instinct of bass to turn after taking baitfish. In the case of a lure this action results in the line and lure sliding to the corner of its mouth. Right where you want it.

By employing the reel and sweep technique with big bass baits you are taking advantage of the bass' natural reaction.

Return To Big Bass Fishing From How To Catch Big Bass

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