If you want to become a serious bass angler, you need to understand how changing seasons effect the behavoir of bass. Winter, spring, summer and fall each hold their own general patterns and being able to quickly identify which seasonal stage the fish are in will make catching them a whole lot easier. Learn how bass transition from one season to the next and how to follow their movement.
Everyone thinks “a bass is a bass no matter where you go“; Lake Fisherman will say that bass relate to the same cover and that bass move the same way on any body of water. Well, myself, and a lot of river rats know that’s not true!!
That first cast a smooth underhand pitch with a Pumpkin “Big Jig” and a brown grub trailer. The bait slides into the water with hardly a splash, slides down the old log, and “TIC” the line jumps and bait swims to the side you set hard and a fat 5lb bass fish breaks water “what a feeling”.
As everyone has noticed for the past several weeks, old man winter has been gone on vacation, or something. We have been enjoying spring - like weather during what should be the onset of our cold weather season. In fact, it has been so nice outdoors, I have not considered deer hunting or duck hunting, two of my favorite cold weather endeavors. Instead, I have been focusing on my bass fishing, which has been pretty good. It looks like things are about to change. According to the weather forecast, we are in for a bit of seasonal weather, in other words, it’s gonna get cold and stay that way for a while.
While most youngsters are enjoying school being out for the summer, there is another type of school going on, summer school. I don’t mean your traditional classroom education type of summer school, I am talking about summertime schools of sand bass fish and hybrids. The action is fast and fun. Richland-Chambers reservoir is loaded with sand bass and an abundant supply of food for them to eat, shad. Each year about this time, the "sandies " can be found chasing shad to the surface and create a feeding frenzy that literally makes the water boil. They are a blast to catch, even for we "serious bass anglers".
As daytime temperatures begin reaching the 70's and 80's, the surface water temps also begin to rise. As any "bass minded angler" can tell you, it won't be long until those green creatures of the deep begin their annual migration to the shallows to spawn (lay eggs). It is during this time that most of us dust off our gear and head to our favorite lake. When bass are shallow, they are the easiest to catch.
As the days begin getting warmer, our thoughts move from the hunting season to the fishing season. Most of us have broken down our firearms, cleaned and oiled them down and stored them away until September, when dove season opens. Of course, spring turkey hunters still have one or two out, but other than that, hunting season is over, its time to go bass fishing. With the warmer days and nights, come warmer water temperatures. That equates to the fish moving into shallower water on our local lakes, creeks, rivers and ponds. This is a time when most fish become active again and easier to catch.
Ok, the forecast calls for lows in the 20's and highs in the 30's. Winds will be 15-25 mph. Unless you are really on a great pattern and catching lots of bass fish or you have a tournament to fish, chances are you'd rather stay in the warm confines of your home than be out on the water. I know I would. So what's a guy or gal to do? You can only wipe the boat down so many times.
Not soon enough, the ice will be melting, the water will start to warm up from a uniform 39 degrees, and it will start to stratify. If you are like me you can't wait to get out and start catching the first bass of the year. I hope this article helps you get started with Spring or post-Winter and pre-spawn bass fishing with success. As always, we will start with location and then move on to equipment and techniques.
Fishing for bass during the late fall and winter months can be a daunting task.
During the regular season there is identifiable structure to fish. Vegetation in bloom and shaded areas offered by the sun will produce fish during the heat of the day. Winter, however, does not give you any of those visible signs. So what do you do? Well, once again, you must turn to your understanding of bass and its lifestyle during these "lean months". When I use the word “lean,” I am referring to the food chain, which can be drastically reduced by the elements.
Spring is upon us and my fingers are itching to get bass fishing!
Due to local DEC regulations, we are not permitted to fish for bass on Long Island for a few more weeks, so I will discuss the techniques I use for upstate New York and Connecticut.
Despite a short, mild winter, the bass will begin their annual movement towards the shoreline in preparation for feeding and bedding. Males will bite more readily close to the shoreline, however the larger females will hold back, usually at the first or second drop-off. This annual ritual is probably the best time to catch that lunker fish you have dreamed about.
Tips for early spring largemouth bass fishing 1 to 4 weeks after a lake thaws out after the winter freeze. Look for shallow coves or bays that are protected from the wind, with dark bottoms, located in the north, west, or northwest corners of the lake. These Coves and Bays will be the first to warm up, because they receive the most sunlight at this time of year. In these areas insect activity will begin earlier, which will attract baitfish, which in turn, will attract BASS!
Looking back on my first days of Bass fishing, I can remember how simple my thought process was... choose a lake, bring my favorite rod, favorite lure and try to catch fish. I never considered; time of year, water temperature, weather changes, oxygen levels, water clarity, water depth, pressure changes, location of bait fish and all the other variables that play an important role in Bass fishing. Today, I can't even fish from the shore without trying to assess all of the many variables which effect the feeding habits of bass. It's an ongoing educational course that we'll never graduate from. Bottom line, the more we know and apply, the more productive we will be on the water.