Largemouth Bass Tips (Tricks To Catch More Fish)
Use these largemouth bass tips to learn more about what makes these predators feed, spawn, and thrive in multiple environments.
The largemouth bass is probably the most well-known freshwater fish species among anglers today. I got hooked on bass fishing some 35 years ago and have never stopped pursuing them.
Even though I now focus on more saltwater species I always make time to catch this amazing fish. My son actively fishes for largemouth bass in lakes and ponds around the South Florida area just like I did years ago.
I have to admit since starting to fish for bass again more in recent years I now remember why my obsession grew so much all those years ago.
There abundance and aggressive feeding makes them a great fish to chase for both new and seasoned anglers. In this guide, we are going to explore just about everything we can about the largemouth bass from habitat to some of the best baits to use to catch this awesome sport fish.
Keep reading to find out why this fish is chased by so many anglers from around the world. These are just some largemouth bass tips to help you, but there are countless more.
Please comment on your experiences with these fish and provide any tips and tricks you would like, so you can help others get hooked on largemouth bass to.
Species: Largemouth Bass: Micropterus salmoides
Habitat: Found all over the country in lakes, rivers, and ponds.
World record: George Perry 22 pounds 4 ounces, Manabu Kurita 22 pounds 4 ounces.
Feeds on: Small fish, crayfish, worms, crickets, snakes, small ducks, and other small pray.
Do largemouth bass change color?
The typical color of a large mouth bass is a dark green on the back with olive or brown on the sides and a light belly, sometimes the belly is completely white.
If you have caught enough bass you would have noticed that not all bass are colored the same. Some are darker or lighter than others. Some fish possess almost no patterns, while others are brilliantly striped and marked.
If you have caught largemouth bass in really clear water with sufficient cover these fish typically will have darker and clearer markings.
Fish caught from deeper water typically take on a more faded look. There are more factors for sure to the coloring variations of a largemouth bass and we would love for you to discuss more about this in our comment section.
Largemouth bass tips:
- All bass are not the same color.
- Fish caught in deeper water typically look more faded.
- Fish caught in clear water have darker clear markings.
Growth rate of a largemouth bass
Like other fish, largemouth bass size will be determined by the quantity of the food source available and size of the fishes habitat available. With an average food source bass can exceed 2 pounds the first year in growth, however the norm is around ½ pounds a year.
It is interesting to note that bass being studied typically do not grow well in muddy water due to the fact they depend a lot on eye site to feed. Water clarity should be at minimum 15 inches and preferably up to 24 inches for best growth. You can read a great study done by James T. Davis and Joe T. Lock on bass growth rate by going here.
This is not to say you cant catch and find bass in dirty water, because you certainly can, some great days on the water have come from dirty, cold water.
Largemouth bass tips to remember when facing dirty water. Fish shallower and tighter to cover like logs, trees, and stumps. When water has been stained for more then a few days bass will tent to strike as food becomes harder to spot. So when your bait is presented close to fish they will take the opportunity to eat.
Geographical Range of largemouth bass
In the beginning the largemouth bass originally were stocked throughout most of the united states east of the Rockies and into Texas lakes and rivers.
Because of the wild popularity of the largemouth bass its Geographical location can now be found in most parts of the world. Their current range includes the entire United States minus Alaska, Southern Canada to Northern Mexico and Central and South America.
Japan is home to some monster largemouth
Japan has some great largemouth bass fishing that encompasses all of Japan including several islands around Japan. Introduced back in 1925 the fish are thriving and reproducing in great numbers.
These fish are doing so well that it is now home to a world record bass. This fish weight in at 22 pounds and 4.97 ounces that was caught on Lake Biwa by Manabu Kurita’s.
This fish under IGFA rules has tied George Perry’s giant bass. In-fisherman wrote an excellent piece on Japan bass fishing. You can read more about that here.
Largemouth bass tips:
- Bass normally grow about 1/2 pound per year.
- Bass can be found in almost ever part of the United States.
- Japan is home to giant largemouth bass.
- Bass can tolerate very cold conditions with proper water depth.
What do bass eat?
Bass are very aggressive feeders and will not hesitate to take down prey that is much larger then itself. Bass will eat anything from other fish to baby ducks and everything in-between. Let’s get into more detail about some of the common forage largemouth bass feed on.
Bream / Sunfish: A very abundant fresh water fish that is in the sunfish family.
This food source of the largemouth bass is native to North America and is commonly found east of the Rockies.
Largemouth bass tips: Match the hook size to the bait your using. Smaller bait, scale the hook size down. Larger baits, scale hooks up.
This fish lives in most lakes, rivers and ponds and are a favorite pray to hungry bass.
Fisherman can easily catch these fish by using light line, a small bait hook and some bread or earth worms.
You can easily fill up a bucket in no time.
Be sure to not to overcrowd your bait bucket and use an aerator to keep your bait in good shape for longer periods of time.
Shad: Shad rank at the top of my list when you can find them. Largemouth bass and just about any other game fish that feeds on other small fish can’t resist these baits.
We have had 100 plus fish days when finding shad on the water. You must throw a cast net on these baits to get them. Keep in mind these baits are hard to keep alive so do not black out your well with them.
Largemouth bass tips to remember when fishing live bait, change out your water often and don’t over crowd your buckets when fishing from the bank.
Gizzard shad typically run in large schools and you can see them popping at the surface. You’ll also see them getting chased and crashed by predatory fish making their location well known.
Finding these shad can be a gold mine for catching large and quality fish. If you do not have access to a cast net, that is okay, try matching the hatch as best as possible with artificial baits.
If the shad are in the 3 to 4 inch range throw lures that closely resemble that size as well.
Shiner: Shiner are a well known bass prey. If and when you can get large golden shiner there isn’t a much better bait. Typically, bass anglers will make a trip to their local bait and tackle store and get a few dozen shiner that are put into a bucket with freezing ice cold green water and off they go.
Problem is when they go from that ice-cold water to much warmer water they go into shock and die rather quick. On the other hand, wild gold shiners are a thing of beauty when you can find them.
Typically, these bait fish will hang around weedy areas and when you can catch one there are plenty more around to get.
Largemouth bass tips: Wild Gold Shiner are a think of beauty and cant be resisted by large bass.
Catching them is not hard once you find them. Use light line and a small gold hook baited with some small bread. If you do have a wild shiner spot, be sure to keep chumming the area with oatmeal and bread to keep these treasures from leaving.
We have shiner spots that have produced for years by not harvesting to many and continually feeding them.
Largemouth bass tips to remember if you want your bait to to go deep. Try hooking your live bait right above the anal fin and slowly lift your rod up to force the baits head down.
Frogs: Frogs are a natural food source for largemouth bass. Frogs lay many eggs in and around the water’s edge in lakes and ponds, and rivers. These eggs soon turn into what we know as tadpoles. It typically takes between 6-21 days on average from egg to tadpole depending on water conditions.
Largemouth bass and other small fish have no problem eating these at every stage of the life cycle.
Crayfish: Bass love crayfish and so do we when targeting largemouth bass. Crayfish look like tiny lobster and can be found in lakes, rivers and ponds. To find these baits you will need a small net or you could use your hands if need be.
Slowly left up rocks, small logs, and other structure that can be moved around the water’s edge. If you spot a crayfish after lifting a rock, you will want to position the net behind the crayfish because they do swim backwards using their powerful tail.
Largemouth bass tips: Keep an eye out for small snakes and other little creatures you may not be interested in catching or seeing when lifting rocks for crayfish.
Once your net is in position take your hand or stick to scare the cray backwards into your net. Keep in mind we have sometimes found more than just crayfish when lifting rocks and logs. Keep an eye out for small snakes and other little creatures you may not be interested in catching or seeing.
Crayfish will reach adult size in about 4 months and can have a lifespan from 3 to 8 years. Typically, by the end of June crayfish begin their annual molting. Molting is the shedding of the crayfishes hard exoskeleton that will leave the new body soft for a short period.
Largemouth bass tips:
- Bass will eat almost anything it can get down its throat.
- Bass love other small fish, crayfish, frogs, worms, and even small ducks.
- Match the hatch if you cant find live bait.
- Use small hooks and bread to catch shiner and other small sunfish.
Habitat of a largemouth bass
One reason that these fish are so popular is the fact they are very adaptable and can thrive in almost any warm-water habitat. These areas can consist of lakes, rivers, ponds, and small creeks. Bass can live in clear deep lakes or smaller pools within the back country.
Bass ideal habitat will be one with water temperature around 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit with adequate vegetation that can provide cover and food for the necessary growth and health of these fish. Water depth is important when temperatures fall and bass need to retreat to deeper water to ride out winter conditions.
Lakes: Largemouth bass thrive in lake systems of all sizes. From small ponds to massive lakes like lake Okeechobee. Larger lakes that support the proper food density can produce some real trophy fish.
Rivers: River systems can hold amazing bass fishing. Look for down trees, cut outs from flowing water, and any other cover that could hold bait fish and provide ambush points. Finger canals that run into rivers provide a great opportunity to catch bass.
Ponds: Ponds are ideal for starting out younger kids as finding the fish can be much easier. In small ponds look for any structure as these areas could hold a lot of fish.
Depending on the size of the pond there probably isn’t giant fish due to the size and bait population, however there could be larger quarantines of fish grouped up in smaller areas.
Be ready though because it’s not uncommon for small ponds to have a few larger fish, especially if they were transported in from outside lakes.
Largemouth bass tips:
- Bass ideal habitat will be water temps around 65 to 90 degrees.
- Larger lakes that supply abundant food will grow large bass.
- In rivers look for finger canals that run into main river channels.
- Small ponds can be great for catching a lot of fish in a concentrated area.
What to look for when fishing:
Show Love to Lily PadsLily pads are great spots to target bass as they will use these areas to hide and hunt. In some months they will use the shade to cool off when water temps get to hot.
Logs and TreesDown trees, brush piles and logs make outstanding places to target bass. These natural and man made structure hold bait and bass.
RocksRocks are great place to target largemouth bass. These rocks provide shelter and warmth on cold days when the sun heats them up.
Vegetation: Bass like the ability to hide and strike, vegetation is the perfect ambush point to suck down a tasty bait.
Rocks: Rocks provide another great ambush point for bass. Rock ledges that fall off to deep water make an ideal area for bass to patrol and hunt smaller fish. largemouth bass tips to remember: Look above the water to get an idea of what is below the surface.
With the advancements in sonar and technology you can see a complete 3d image of what is under the water now.
Logs and trees: Logs and trees are iconic when searching for bass. These structures provide cover for all types of sunfish, crayfish, and bait that bass eat, not to mention it provides excellent cover and protection for bass.
Largemouth bass tips: Keep in mind that just because you find these brush piles doesn’t mean that the fish will be stacked on them. These brush piles still need to be found in the right locations.
Finding and fishing these piles that are near shallow areas could be a great find during spring months when bass move out of the winter locations and get ready to spawn. Scout.com wrote a great article on how to fish brush piles for prespawn bass.
Largemouth bass tips:
- Bass like to hide in all types of vegetation.
- Bass will use logs and down trees as ambush points.
- Spring time brush piles close to shallow water could hold large fish.
- Rocks that fall from shore could provide heat that fish like in winter months.
Largemouth bass can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, because of this they are found throughout the United States and into other warm climate countries. Temperatures between 65 -90 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for the largemouth bass. Florida Strain bass can tolerate higher temperatures that can reach above the 90’s.
Colder areas in the north that freeze typically isn’t a problem for these bass as they will seek out deeper areas and survive under the ice for up to 6 months as long as oxygen levels are good. We used small crank baits in lakes in New Jersey that didn’t freeze over within fast moving water and have produced quality fish.
Largemouth bass tips:
- Bass can tolerate a large rang of temperatures.
- Florida Strain bass can tolerate higher temperatures that can reach above the 90’s.
- Bass can survive in frozen water as long as there is enough oxygen and ice free water at depth.
- Slow your bait presentation down in colder months.
- Try fishing a Carolina rig.
Spawning Times for largemouth bass
Laremouth bass will follow a different routine depedning on the time of year it is. Let us look at some these and what It can mean to you when targeting these great predators.
Bass will start to spawn when the water temperature is somewhere between 55 and 65 degrees and typically in water depths of 1 to 4 feet.
Largemouth bass tips to remember: Always wear a good pair of polarized sunglasses to spot bedding areas easier.
If the water is very clear nesting can be done in much deeper water. I have personally fished rock quarries with ultra-clear water and have seen bass nesting in a depth of more than 10 feet.
The males or buck, depending on where you live will construct a circular nest site by sweeping the site away with its tale. Typically, the nest will be double the size of the male guarding it. You can observe the male patrolling the area within a 6-foot radius.
Females will commonly spawn 2 times and it’s not uncommon for a third spawn to happen. During the first spawn the female release half of their eggs with the second spawn releasing the other half.
Because males work so hard to protect the spawning area it is not uncommon for males to lose so much weight they will perish.
Remember, males will guard the nest and keep the spawn area clean of silt until their eggs hatch.
In the Southern part of the United States eggs hatch around 2 to 4 days and this has a lot to do with water temperature.
Males will not abandon the fry once born, but will guard them until they start to roam on their own which can take weeks.
Largemouth bass tips:
- Bass spawn when temperatures get between 55 and 65 degrees in spring time.
- Females can spawn anywhere from 1 to 3 times in a spring.
- Spring time can get you your largest bass of the year.
- Throw artificial lizards, crayfish and other baits in and around nest.
- The larger fish is the female on a bass nest.
What are top artificial lures for bass?
The list of artificial baits that bass will eat is endless and we would need another full guide on all the baits you could use. But for this guide we will give a high overview of some of the more popular baits that bass anglers use when targeting these fish.
Culprit Original Worms
Plastic worms are probably the oldest method used when targeting bass and one of the most popular. A Texas rig set up with a plastic worm is one of the first rigs someone will learn and probably use to target these fish.
Color Choices are endless
A basic rule to follow is this: In muddy water fish bright color baits. In clear water fish light colors. In muddy water the fish will have hindered visibility and bright colors like oranges and yellows are easier for the fish to see. Fish worms with bright color tails like red or chartreuse.
A basic rule to follow is this: In muddy water fish bright color baits. In clear water fish light colors.
Here are our top clear water colors that we love to fish. Our number one color must be motor oil, followed by pumpkin-seed, and smoke.
A basic way to fish this rig is to cast out and let the rig sink to the bottom. Watch your line as it falls as a lot of strikes happen on the fall and you will notice your line tic or stop suddenly. This is the strike. Pay attention when worm fishing as the strikes can be very subtle.
When your worm makes it to the bottom. Pause a second then slowly lift your rod up and let your worm fall back down. You should also give your rod tip a shake when you lift your rod to give some extra action to the worm. Then let the worm fall, this is where most of your strikes will happen. Watch and fell for strikes at this point.
Live Target Swim bait.
Swim baits have made huge strides in how they look and swim. Live target makes a fantastic bait that both looks real and swims real. Check these baits out here.
Some largemouth bass tips for working the live target swim bait. Let the bait sink to the bottom then lift your rod tip and crank up then let the bait fall to the bottom. The strike will happen on the fall so be ready.
Spinner and buzz baits
BOOYAH Double Willow Counter Strike
Spinner baits are great baits that can be fished at all water depths. Buzz them on top or fish them at the bottom with a slow retrieve while holding your rod tip low. The same principle on color apply to the skirts of these baits. Muddy water fish bright color skirts. In clear water fish light color skirts.
These baits are very versatile as you can hit all areas of the water column. Buzz them on top by holding your rod tip up so the blades just break the surface or are right below the surface to throw a wake. Fish them off the bottom in certain situations and you could crush the fish using this method.
Crank baits and Hard baits
Crankbaits are staple go to lures that every bass angler should have in their arsenal. This baits come in all different patterns and depth ranges.
A great largemouth bass tip is to slowly twitch this stick baits right above the surface to trigger strikes. if you have weeds or grass that sits below the surface a foot or more this method can produce big time.
You should have a mix of these baits that run from shallow to deep in crayfish pattern, shad pattern and sunfish pattern. Stick baits like the original Rapala are deadly when twitched then paused around the surface in certain situations.
Largemouth tips to remember when targeting largemouth bass
Look at water color
Match the hatch
Keep Hooks Sharp
Spring time turn to the shallows
Always wear your polorized sunglasses
Match your hook size to the size of your livebait
When walking the bank stay quite
Use hard stick baits at the surface
Do not overcrowd Live wells and Bait buckets
Respect the fish
Here is a list of some outstanding largemouth bass fishing guides
Chattanooga Fishing Guides – Come enjoy a professional bass fishing guide trip on beautiful Chickamauga Lake in Chattanooga, Tennessee!
Worldwide Bass Fishing Adventures: Trophy bass fishing trips in Mexico at Lake El Salto, Lake Baccarac, Lake Comedero, Lake Huites, Lake Guerrero, Lake Agua Milpa and Lake Mateos. Also trophy peacock bass trips in Brazil.
Here is a list of other websites that we feel bring great value and can help you learn about fishing and the outdoors.
Lake-link – The Midwest’s largest site dedicated to fishing! Lake-Link provides fishing reports, topographical maps, a lake database, message boards, articles, fishing tips and tactics, moon charts, and much more!
Bassresource.com – One of the largest and best resources on everything bass fishing.