Set Your Hook

Bass Fishing For Beginners

Every time I do some research about bass fishing I encounter the exact same thing: ONLY enough information to be confusing! The authors of the best bass articles toss around terms like “crankbaits” and “fight of the fish” and “structure” and “going deep” as if they’ll mean anything to somebody just getting started in bass fishing.

Or, the article is for the every-day bass fisher but was written by an author who spends 95% of the time fishing in bass tournaments.

Largemouth bass

Let’s talk about just some general “rules” about bass fishing to begin with and in future articles, I’ll build on this knowledge for more tips or techniques about how to land bass.

1. When you’re just getting started, go for a lightweight rod and reel set up.

Yes, you are running the risk that it won’t be big enough to handle monster bass, but be honest: as a beginner do you really think you’ll be catching any monster bass at all?

The advantage to a light-weight set up is that you can really feel the way the bass hits the bait and how it fights. Because, at the end of the day, bass are fighting fish and the fun is in the fight!

2. Buy a selection of baits but don’t get anything too cheap or anything too expensive.

It’s better to buy several different types of baits so you can figure out what works best for the bass and what you like the best. I’d recommend getting a natural colored and a bright colored lure for each bait type and get at least three different types.

Smallmouth Bass

Remember that you will lose some lures and you’ll also spend money on something that you’ll never use. That’s the name of the fishing game! The idea is to spend your money wisely until you know what you really want to spring for.

Once, when I was fishing on Ashurst Lake, near Flagstaff, AZ, in high-wind conditions. Not willing to not fish, I headed into town to buy some new bobbers. (Bobbers will travel along the lake surface in the wind so you can see when you need to take out slack or re-cast.) I wanted to try a “new” type of bobber that was an egg shaped middle with a plastic point coming from the top and one from the bottom. And, of course, they were four times the cost of the regular round red and white bobbers.

Instead of loading up on them, I bought one package. After having tested them, THEN I went back and stocked up on sizes, colors, and bobbers with rattles in them.

The moral of the story: new tackle is good but spending money on the right type of tackle is better.

3. You’ve got to find the fish before you can catch them.

As with any game fish, finding the fish can be harder than actually catching them. Bass will follow their food source. Ask anglers who are catching fish where they were at — if they won’t tell you their hidden hot spot, try and find out what the water conditions were like.

  • How deep were the bass?
  • What types of structure was there? (Channels, drop offs, underwater islands, etc)
  • What type and amount of cover was available?

Another great way to find bass is to subscribe to your state’s fishing report. The report here in Arizona says what was caught (size & quantity); what time of day; what was used; and in most cases, where they were caught (deep water, shallow water, in cover, etc.)

And, at the end of the day, remember that learning a new style of fishing can be frustrating but to stick with it will pay off in some great fish-tales in the end!

Readers Weigh In:

  • What are your tips for people just getting into bass fishing?
  • Do you have any sure-fire bass tips?
  • What’s your favorite type of fish to go after?
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