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Fishing as a general sport is fantastic. It gives you a great excuse to get out in nature to enjoy the beauty that the wilderness has on offer. Nothing compares to the buzz you get when a fish bites and your reel tares off line from the power of the fish on the end of your hook. Perhaps the reason we all love fishing so much is because it triggers some kind of ancient hunting instinct from deep within.
Bass fishing is an extremely popular and rewarding fork of the sport and the thrill you get when you hook up to one is incomparable to anything else. Many people enjoy the sport that these fish bring and once you catch your first, you will likely be “hooked” on catching them for life. People go crazy for bass fishing, with boats, rods, and reels designed specifically for bass and bass only.
Why do we love this species so much? Especially when most of us catch and release bass rather than taking them home to eat? Sure, largemouth bass meat is tasty, but the majority of bass anglers simply enjoy catching them for their incredible sport. It is easy to catch a sub 4lb bass from most waters across the U.S however it is a little more difficult to land a fish of 6lb plus. The big largemouth bass are much older, and they are wise to most anglers’ tricks which makes them considerably more difficult to catch.
A good bass angler will have a certain amount of cunning to catch something sizeable, and this is where the addiction to the sport comes in. You will need to get creative if you want to catch a 6lb plus fish from your local water and this challenge is what brings so many people into the world of bass fishing year after year. After all, half of what we enjoy about fishing is the challenge, right? Whether you are the bass angler or the avid carp angler, the challenge is what keeps us coming back and the reward of a monster fish is what drives us on.
If you are hooked on the sport of bass fishing you will want to learn everything there is to know about the species themselves and all their feeding, breeding, and movement habits. Getting to know the species you are targeting will help you adjust your fishing, so you have the best chances of hooking up to the old wise beasts you are after. In this article, we will be looking at when the best time is to fish for bass, so you can cast your lure with confidence next time you are out on the bank.
What is the Best Time of Year to Fish for Bass?
You can catch largemouth bass all year round, but some parts of the year are more productive than others. Bass also change weight throughout the year too, so knowing when the bass are at their heaviest is the best time to target the species if you are looking for a specimen. Everything from water temperature, spawning habits, and weather can affect bass behavior and how they feed. In this section, we will cover everything there is to know about bass feeding throughout the year, and when the best time to target them is.
The easiest time to catch bass is when the water temperature starts to rise to around 60-degrees Fahrenheit. Largemouth bass switch on for spawning at this point, and as the water temperature changes so do their feeding habits. During the pre-spawn bass start feeding heavily to prepare for spawning. During this brief feeding period, the bass are ferocious, eating anything that comes their way. They also tend to be at their heaviest weight, so this is the best time to catch that specimen you’ve been searching for.
You will find bass spawning during late winter in the southern parts of the U.S and in the late spring in the northern parts of the country. Where you live will determine when is best to catch the pre-spawn feeding frenzy, but the water temperature is a tell-tale sign. Bring a thermometer with you when you head out fishing and check your water temperatures to get a rough idea when the bass in your local water are likely to start spawning.
Make sure to check the regulations in your area before you head out to fish the pre-spawn. In some states, you will find a bass fishing season that restricts fishing for bass during the spawning period. Most of the time, you can hit the pre-spawn period before any closed-seasons start, and more often now, fish spawn during open-seasons due to weather changes.
Another time of the year to consider for bass is the period after spawning. Bass are usually at their lightest during this time so don’t expect to catch anything too large, but they will be hungry! After spawning out the bass lose a lot of weight and get on a well-needed feed. Bass will feed ferociously during this time in a bid to put the pounds that they have lost back on. It is not uncommon to catch the same fish twice during this period simply because they are so famished!
Once the bass have spawned, the females take a few weeks to regain their appetite, but once they have it back you can expect heavy feeding for the next four weeks.
What is the Best Time of Day to Fish for Bass?
The best time of day to fish for bass is early morning or late evening when the sun is low in the sky. Bass tend to feed less when the sun is high in the sky and intensely shining on the water, so mornings and evenings are the perfect times to target them. Of course, bass can be caught at any time during the day, but your best chances are when the sun is off the water. If it is a dim day with clouds in the sky masking the sunshine, you can expect to hook up to bass all day long.
Bass tend to bite during lunch time as well, so instead of having your trail snack or sandwich at lunch, it may be better to fish on through midday. There seems to be a feeding period between 11:30 A.M and 1:20 P.M especially if it is an overcast day or you are fishing in murky water. If it is the height of summer and the sun is beating down on the water though, you shouldn’t expect any midday feeding.
In the summer months, bass tend to move out to deeper water, and they can be found around oxygen-producing underwater vegetation. On overcast days they can be found in shallower water that has a lot of vegetation like pads, and reeds, this is the best time to throw a lure to a bass as they tend to be more active. You may also find the bass hiding on ends of the lake that are naturally cooler. Areas of water that are shaded all day tend to hold fish consistently because it provides a safe haven from the steadily increasing hot waters in the sun.
During these hotter months, you really want to look out for changes in weather conditions that affect the temperature of the water. Rainy days, overcast days, and periods of cold will all help lower the temperature of the water and bring the bass back on the feed. Shaded areas are great fish holders, if it is hot, they will be in deep water, if it is cooler, they will be in shallow waters. Search the banksides, vegetation, and naturally cooler areas in the early morning and the late evening for the best chance of hooking into a hungry bass.
During the fall, the bass tend to move out from the deeper waters and feed more aggressively in the shallower waters. It is much easier to get a bite at this time with your best chances being dawn, dusk, and the middle of the day. As the water temperatures drop even further in the fall time, your best chances are to fish during the hottest part of the day (around 12 P.M). At this time the bass become more comfortable in the warmer shallower parts of the lake which makes them easy pickings for the roaming angler.
During the winter, the bass move back into deeper waters where the water temperature is much more stable. The deeper areas of the lake tend to become the warmest and they hold their own stable environment compared to the shallower sections of water. You will rarely find bass in shallow water during these months unless there is a large feeding opportunity in the warmest part of the day.
Once again, as the temperature drops, you are best off fishing in the warmest times of the day when the shallow water warms up enough for the bass to warrant feeding. Times are tough during the winter and you will need some real skill and cunning to hook up to anything sizeable. Most fish become lethargic and sluggish and aren’t usually actively feeding.
The bass’s bodies slow down, and they require a lot less food to sustain their energy, so your only real chance of hooking into something when the weather properly turns is to run a lure right past a bass’s face. It is all about locating the fish more than anything in the winter, and only if you find them will you have a chance of hooking up to anything. Find the fish and actively fish for them in the middle of the day. If you find them then you may entice a bite with a bright colored lure with a slower action than usual.
Bass are most active during pre-spawn and post-spawn periods when the water temperatures are around the 60-degree mark. They can be caught all year round as long as you fish for them in the right conditions and during the right times of the day. Water temperature affects the bass’s behavior and feeding patterns and as the seasons change so do the bass. Make sure you are fishing affectively for the season because what works in summer won’t work in winter and visa versa.
Tight lines and happy fishing!
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