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Bass fishing is not difficult, considering the fish are typically willing to take the bait. However, understanding their behavior can help you make the most of the little time on your hands. This list of behaviors includes the perfect time to fish them. So, when is the best time to fish for bass?
- When Is the Best Time to Fish for Bass?
- Best Time of the Year to Fish for Bass
- Practical Tips for Seasonal Bass Fishing
- Related Questions
When Is the Best Time to Fish for Bass?
Generally speaking, the best time of the day you can go out to fish for bass is in the early mornings or late evenings. So, ideally, you want to set out either at dawn, before the sun fully rises, or at dusk, when the sun has set.
These times are ideal because they offer low light conditions which are more suitable for bass. Bass has adapted to hunt and feed in low-light environments. This means that your best shot at getting them to take a bite at your bait is in similar conditions.
Your chances of catching big bass are increased when you know the ideal time of day to fish for them. You can easily determine the lures that give you the best results. Within 24 hours, there are four ideal periods for bass fishing.
Here is a list of these periods and tips on how to maximize them:
You want to set out early in the morning to maximize the fading darkness. Around dawn, just before the sun is out, bass is out hunting. You can take advantage of this period by using baitfish like shiners and minnows.
You can also use artificial lures like plugs and topwater poppers for fishing along the vegetation and the shoreline if you prefer artificial lures.
Towards sunset, as it gets darker, bass will be out again. They will want to use the favorable low light conditions to hunt. Just like in the morning, you can also try topwater lures, especially in summer, except when it is unusually cold. In cold conditions, bass swims deeper and can get lazy.
However, you will have to determine the retrieval speeds that are most effective where you fish. This is because of the varying retrieval speeds that draw in bass from one location to another.
Nightime is also an excellent time to go fishing for bass. This is because of the darkness and reduced presence of anglers. Bass also tend to feed more heavily at night than during the day. Remember that bass feed in low light conditions and not total darkness. So you should have a source of dim light when fishing. However, very cold and dark nights may prove unproductive.
Best Time of the Year to Fish for Bass
The behavior of bass varies as the seasons’ change. This means that the most ideal time of day to fish them can slightly vary depending on the weather conditions. Here is how bass behaves across the various seasons:
Winter can be a pretty challenging time to go fishing for bass because of the cold. The prime time to go bass fishing during winter would typically be in the afternoon. This is because the air and water temperature are highest around that time of the day, encouraging more activity.
You also want to pay attention to water heating patterns. Continuous rising water temperatures are a good indicator of increasing bass activity.
Bass is mostly inactive during winter and barely feed. By spring, the weather becomes warmer and bass are out to recover lost energy. An ideal time to go bass fishing during spring is late afternoon and early evening. The weather and the water are typically warmer around this time.
This time of the day also provides the low light conditions that bass find the ideal for hunting and feeding. However, early on in the spring, it might be preferable to fish for bass in the afternoon.
Summer is the best season to fish bass, as bass are usually very active after their spawning. The prime time to bass fish during summer would be dawn and dusk. During these times, the water is cooler and the light intensity is lower.
During summer, bass tends to feed heavily on nights with a full moon. It is best to avoid fishing for bass on the days following a full moon.
By fall, bass is preparing for winter again. The foremost time to fish would be early in the evening when the water is still warm and the sunlight has reduced sufficiently. You can attract them with lures like:
- Crankbaits, and
Practical Tips for Seasonal Bass Fishing
Every season has special weather conditions which affect fish behavior in many different ways. This implies that each season requires specific fishing techniques to maximize the weather condition and fish behavior. Here are some bass fishing tips for each season:
Fishing bass during winter can be pretty challenging, even for expert anglers. However, it is possible. Here’s how to increase your chances of getting a good catch in the dead of winter:
Use a Fish Finder
During winter, bass tends to move away from the shorelines and deeper into the water, making it more difficult to find them. For this reason, it is advisable to use a fish finder to help you pinpoint the exact location of the fish.
If you cannot get a fish finder, you can also use manual methods to find the fish. Experts suggest that during winter, bass fish will likely be found about 20 feet deeper than the usual depths they are found during summer. So, simply cast your line about 20 feet deeper to find them.
Approach and Presentation
Winter fishing for bass requires strategy and finesse. Following the drop in temperature levels, the bass becomes more sluggish as their metabolism slows. This means they are less likely to hunt fast-moving bait to conserve as much energy as possible.
It is advisable to use drop shot techniques or the bottom fishing technique to present your bait. Also, the bass strike may be very light, almost imperceptible, so you must be alert and retrieve slowly to avoid losing your catch.
Lures and Baits
Bass in winter would not chase after intimidating bait or baits that would put up much of a fight. Hence, you would want to use lures and baits that are small enough to entice them to bite. You can achieve this by downsizing your lures.
Slow-moving and bottom lures such as jigs, spoons, and blade baits would do the trick when bass fishing in winter. Also, when selecting colors, it is essential to stay as neutral as possible to avoid presenting baits that look intimidating. Use colors like brown, green, gray, and black instead of bright colors like red and orange.
Most anglers agree that springtime is the ideal time to fish for bass as the warming waters increase bass activity and hunting. You should pay attention to the following when fishing in springtime to get a good catch:
Identifying the Location
With the temperature gradually getting warmer, bass begins to leave their winter hideouts to rapidly warming areas and structures to hunt before the spawning seasons begin.
Hence, you are most likely to find them around shallow areas like creeks, coves, and areas with structures like docks and fallen trees where baitfish are also more likely to be located.
Approach and Presentation
Spring usually coincides with bass spawning and post-spawning season, so you must ensure stealth and patience when presenting your bait to avoid spooking the fish.
If the water is clear and you have a good view of the nest, then the drop shot technique will work best because it allows you to leave your bait right in their midst. However, when fishing post-spawn, the fish are back to active hunting, prowling around cover to ambush unsuspecting bait. Thus, it is advisable to pitch around areas with cover.
Choosing Lures and Baits
While the choice of bait and lures is flexible regarding spring fishing, it is always important to keep in mind where fishing takes place. Experts advise having a variety of baits and lures in case you need to change your tactics while fishing.
Examples of baits and lures you should have include spinner baits, jigs, crankbaits, and other lures that come with a lot of action for post-spawn fishing.
Just like fishing in weather that is too cold, fishing in weather that is too hot may pose a challenge. Here are some tips to help you make the best of your summer fishing:
Finding the Fish
During the summer, when temperatures are high, and oxygen in the water is easily dissolved, bass activity tends to decline. Your best bet is to take advantage of the early morning and late evening hours when the temperature is more favorable for bass activity.
However, if you must fish at noon, then pay attention to shady areas that are likely to be cooler and richer in oxygen. This includes areas with covers, floating vegetation, drop-offs, high current -provides more oxygen and food- and rocks -which provide pockets beneath which fish can hide.
Selecting Lures and Baits
Bait selection when fishing during winter is quite flexible; however, you should still pay attention to factors like water clarity and fish visibility. Topwater lures work pretty well when fishing around thick grass and vegetation during the summertime.
When fishing in clear or open waters, use lures with natural appearances and colors because bass are intelligent creatures, and anything unusual would deter them from biting. When fishing in murky water, use baits with bolder colors like red, orange, or white because they are easier to see.
Choosing Quality Equipment
Irrespective of the season you are fishing, quality fishing gear plays a vital role in the number of fish you will be able to catch, as well as your overall experience.
When fishing in rocky areas or areas with heavy vegetative cover, select studier fishing lines with high abrasion resistance, such as fluorocarbon lines and strong rods. This is to prevent breakage should your line get caught on rocks and debris when retrieving.
Here are some tips to make fishing for bass in the fall an enjoyable experience:
Understand the Fish Behavior
During fall, bass hunts more comfortably than in summer months due to reduced recreational activities on the water. Also, as the temperature declines and the water gradually cools, they will likely be more active and frequently hunt in preparation for winter.
As hunting peaks, especially during early fall, bass would be typically seen where prey is, usually in shallower waters. Hence, pay attention to riverbanks, lakeshores, ledges, and drop-offs.
However, as winter looms in late fall, they migrate deeper into the water in preparation for winter, as these areas have more oxygen. This means you should fish in areas like the back of creeks, shallow flats, etc.
Approach and Presentation
When fishing for bass in early fall, you need to be able to match their increased activity and aggressiveness by making energetic presentations too. However, as the temperature declines towards late fall, you may need to make calmer presentations.
Selecting Lures and Baits
Bigger lures with a lot of action are usually preferred during the fall season as they appear more appealing to the bass in search of large baits. This triggers the hunting sense in the fish and makes them bite more.
Topwater baits, like spinnerbaits, jerk baits, jigs, and crankbaits, might come in handy during this season. When late fall approaches and bass activity begins to reduce, you might not necessarily need to reduce the size of your lures because some bass might still be hunting.
Is Fishing for Bass Better in the Morning or Afternoon?
Fishing for bass is better in the morning during spring and summer, except on days after a full moon. While in spring and fall, bass fishing is better in the late afternoon.
What Attracts Bass the Most?
Baits like minnows, shad, or shiners are some of the best attractants for bass in terms of bait, especially if they are alive. They are highly versatile too.
With this valuable insight, you can change your approach to fishing bass and maximize your time. You can fish bass all-year round as long as you understand the best times to go fishing.