If you really want to catch more Bass then you will to need know about his habits, his likes and his dislikes. The more information you have about your adversary the better equipped you will be to not only find where he is hiding, but to get him into your hands. Hopefully the following information will help you gain an understanding about this particular fish.
What determines if a Bass is active or non-active? The top thing that determines how active Bass are is water temperature. Water temperature really has a lot to do with a Bass’s body functions. If the water is cold then the Bass will be less active because they will try to conserve energy by moving less. They will also tend to eat less often and usually wait until the food offering is worth the energy they will have to expel in the pursuit of the meal. In warmer water their metabolism is higher making them eager for the pursuit and since they are eating more, the offering doesn’t necessarily have to be that big.
Bass tend to be active when the water temperature is between 65° and 75°. Higher than that and the Bass may be stressed by lower oxygen levels in the water. Lower temperatures and the Bass will be less active due to the reason stated above.
Water clarity and Bass; Water clarity will affect how active Bass are as well as help you determine what types of baits you will use.
Clear Water: If you are fishing clear water then Bass will tend to be more active and they will also be more sight oriented. This means that you can use lures that will refract light in the water to catch the Bass’s attention. During bright days with clear water and water temperatures in the optimum range, you will be able to retrieve your lure at a higher rate of speed and you will still get the hits you are looking for. You can use top-water baits such as the spooks and prop baits, you can fish Crankbaits with no rattle and bright colored jigs to get at the mid-depth range, and you can fish the jig with trailers and power worms to reach the bottom depths.
Cloudy Water: In discolored cloudy water the Bass will be more apt to sit and wait for the Bait to come to them. You’ll have to get your offering right where the Bass is laying in wait to get him to hit. Cloudy water makes it hard for Bass to see their prey so you will probably want to use darker color baits as well as something that makes a bit of noise to attract his attention. On the surface, you will want to use baits that will make more noise such as the poppers or buzz-baits and retrieve at a slower rate in order to give the Bass time to locate your lure. For the mid-depth range you can use Crankbaits with a rattle or Spinnerbaits and for the bottom depths you can crawl a dark color 7” worm set up with a bead between the hook and the sinker. This will make a little noise every time the sinker strikes the bead during your retrieve. This is also good to keep in mind for dark or overcast days.
What are some things that Bass like?
Bass like to eat; Bass are predatory when it comes to eating. This doesn’t mean that they are on the hunt for their food, but rather they will lie in wait for an unsuspecting meal to come close enough to ambush. Optimum water temperature and water clarity will determine just how far a Bass will go to get his prey. If they can see their meal from their ambush point they will usually strike. Obviously though if the water temperature is cold or the water is cloudy then you will need to get your lure closer to the Bass in order to entice him to hit it.
Bass like to feel safe; Bass want to be in a position where they can easily escape from their predators, namely fisherman. What makes them feel safe? Cover. Cover can be any number of things from weed beds, fallen timber, sunken trees, quick change of depth, docks and large rocks just to name a few. All of these things will help a Bass escape when he feels threatened. Even Bass that are sitting in shallow water will feel safer if there is deep water close by.
Bass like to ambush; Bass love it when they can see their meal approaching, but their meal can’t see them. They will just sit there and when a bait-fish swims by… boom, instant meal. There are so many things that will offer Bass places to ambush their prey such as pilings, tires, submerged or emergent weeds, and pretty much any object that will break up the bottom and offer Bass places to hide. All of these different things are called structure and bass love structure.
Bass like transitions; Transitions are the areas where two or more structure features meet. Where shallow and deep water meet, shady areas and sunny areas meet, weeds and open water, submerged trees and rocks… you get the idea.
Keep all of these thing in your mind when exploring the next body of water you are fishing and you are sure to find yourself holding some nice fish in your hands. As I always try to inform my fellow amateurs, to turn a good of fishing into a great day of fishing, bring a good fishing partner, the camera and practice catch and release.
Tight lines, the Amateur Angler