Can you learn by not catching a bass?
Every time you go bass fishing, it’s a learning experience adding a little more to what you already know or think you might know. No matter how good you are, you won’t catch bass on every outing.
As you head off down the lake, what makes you stop on a certain spot? Was it where you caught fish before? It looks good or was there a calculated reason based upon current and seasonal conditions?
Stopping on that first spot, what technique did you use? Was it a reaction bait because you’re hyped up to be fishing or a finesse technique just so you can catch a bass? Again, why did you use that technique? Was it embedded deep in your memory from past catches or a bait you heard was good. Did you put some thought into what you’re doing or just use your instinct?
Fishing the first spot you don’t get bit, thinking this is a great spot, I catch them here every time, or it looks really good. Switching to the second technique, no bass, third technique, no bass. Maybe it’s time to look for another spot.
Pulling up to your 15th spot and you still haven’t caught a bass, this is getting tough. What now? Did you make mental notes of the types of places and the techniques you used or did you just fish.
If you first start with the seasonal patterns, you’ll have an idea what the bass are doing – at least it will give you a starting point.
Let’s look at summer bass. They move from their spawning areas out to deep water. Pretty simple, just locate a spawning area and follow it out to deep water and locate the bass at point or another or maybe in between.
Besides going from shallow to deep summertime bass feed mainly on bait fish like shad, minnows, pond smelt, bluegill etc.
Now we know where they are, and what they are eating it should be easy, right?
Those are only a couple of pieces of the puzzle, but key pieces. Using what we know about the bass’s movements and habits, we can narrow down the areas and presentations. This is true for every season.
Have you ever wondered why the top pros are so good? It’s because they don’t waste time doing what the bass aren’t. They have a good idea where the bass are, what they are doing, where they are going and what baits they will be likely to eat.
Weather is another piece of the puzzle and to make it as simple as possible, low light, wind and clouds will generally increase the bass’s activity level moving them shallower, especially in the summer. When you have these conditions take advantage of bigger and faster moving baits.
While you’re fishing try different things but keep them in the realm of what the fish might want. Try different colors, shapes sizes and presentations until you find what they want. It may take all day or maybe a couple of days then it will be rewarding when you figure it out.
The point to the story is using your head will help you catch more bass. Study, fish, study, fish and pay attention.
If you’re looking to learn more, check out the latest issue of Bass Angler Magazine