Ready to join the growing number of sportsmen who have set their sights on catching that big bass? Thousands of new anglers are gearing up to hit the lakes, streams and rivers in search of the largemouth bass. This magnificent game fish can be as elusive as that winning lottery ticket.
Bass are part of the sunfish family. Other members of this species include spotted bass, smallmouth bass, rock bass, bluegill, and pumpkinseed fish. These bass, including the largemouth, are identified as warm water bass or black bass. Because of its "spirited" nature on the line, the largemouth bass is a favorite game fish for the casual weekend angler, as well as, the tournament fisherman.
As a new angler, your greatest challenge will be locating the "hideouts" of the largemouth bass. What makes the bass such a great game fish is that they are hard to predict. They are sensitive to environmental and seasonal changes. As water temperatures or levels change, so will their resting places. Other factors affecting their location might be season, weather conditions, amount of daylight, and food availability.
So, where is the best place to find the big "Kahuna" of bass? Different bodies of water will yield different results. Let's take a look at each:
Ponds can yield satisfactory results, but the bass tend to be small to medium in size. Weeds and reeds are the natural habitat of bass. When fishing ponds, look for areas of weed beds near the shore. Bass will tend to congregate near or in these weedy areas, but also like to hide around sunken logs, large rocks, or deep holes.
Natural lakes must be divided into two categories - lakes in the Southern states and lakes in the Northern states. The lakes in the north tend to have a wide array of topography - rock bluffs, weed beds, holes, sunken logs, reefs, islands and reeds. Bass aren't as plentiful in these lakes because these waters do not contain the plankton and algae that they like to feed on.
On the other hand, Southern lakes, especially shallow ones, breed some of the largest bass in North America. In these lakes, the bass will congregate in the shallows around the weedy and reedy areas. It's around these areas that you have the greatest probability for a strike, so cast your bait or lure in that direction.
Streams are often overlooked as a source for good bass fishing. They can be a great place to also find smallmouth bass, which prefer cooler waters over the larger and warmer bodies of water. The same principles apply in streams as in ponds - look for the sunken structures and along the steep banks. Anywhere that the weed beds change into rocky areas is an excellent location to find bass. One note of caution: bass will not congregate in flowing water, so don't waste your time in the middle of the stream in the current flow. Cast your line where the current is blocked, like large rocks of downed trees. This is where the large bass will be hiding out.
For the new angler, practice makes perfect. You don't need to start your fishing career on the big lakes. Try the smaller ponds to get accustomed to your new gear and to start to master your casting and retrieval techniques. Try different baits and see how they feel on the end of your line. Determine whether a spinner, streamer, soft bait or crankbait works best for you.
Trust me - you will catch plenty of bass along the way. They may not all be trophy winners, but you will learn to get a "feel" for a bass on the line. To help you gain a better feel for the fish, try using an ultra light combination rod and reel. Even the one pounders feel like trophy fish, and the experience you gain will be priceless.