At first glance, the world of bass fishing can seem overwhelming and difficult to navigate.
While your first time bass fishing should be relaxed and enjoyable, there are a few things to consider before you dive in headfirst.
You’ll need to take into account everything from bait to technique. Your first catch is a memory you’ll cherish forever, so it’s a smart idea to head off prepared.
In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know before bass fishing for the first time. But be warned - try it once and you’ll be hooked!
What you’ll need to get started:
Fishing Rod and Reel
Before you get started, you’re going to need a fishing rod. While there are thousands on the market to choose from, there are only three that are essential to begin bass fishing.
Of course, you’ll need more rods the more you practice, but at the bare minimum, you should start with three types of fishing rods.
If you choose a large spool, you won’t find yourself struggling with a twisted line. You can play about with different spinning combos once you’ve practiced a little.
Secondly, you should get your handy on a medium-heavy, 3-power, fast action spinnerbait rod.
These are great for beginners in bass fishing as they enable you to throw just about anything.
As it’s fast-action, it’s relatively easy to cast with and gets enough power for an adequate hookset.
A rod like this should be paired with a 6.1:1 - 6.3:1 reel. This number simply refers to how many times the spool turns.
Many people make the mistake of jumping straight in with a super-fast reel, but this isn’t beneficial in the long run. Start small, and work your way up.
Thirdly, you’re going to want a heavy power, fast action, 7ft - 7ft 3” baitcasting rod. This type of rod is perfect for flipping, dragging, throwing heavy rigs, and fishing really deep.
With these three rods, you have enough to cover the basics of bass fishing. However, as stated, as you learn new techniques you can expand your arsenal.
If you’re opting to start with a spinning combo, consider trying out 10lb Monofilament. This style of fishing line is widely available, inexpensive, and user-friendly.
Mono is a great line for beginner bass fishermen because it’s affordable and easy to use.
Mono is the cheapest and easiest to handle, but you risk breaking off more lures because it’s more prone to getting nicked up on rocks and wood. If you’re using your Baitcaster, consider using a 20 lb Braided Line.
A braided line is great as it can be tied directly onto your lures. However, it’s always best to add a fluorocarbon leader and tie it using a Double Uni knot either to a swivel or to the line itself.
If you have a little more experience with angling, you’ll probably find yourself using a fluorocarbon anyway.
While they’re the best for this type of fishing, they’re notoriously tricky to use and require some knowledge in dragging techniques.
They’re also a little costly, so they’re not always suitable for beginners.
If you’re just starting out in the world of bass fishing, you don’t need to go crazy in the tackle store and spend lots of money.
Consider only starting with the necessities, and you can dip your toes in a little deeper once you have some more experience.
Start with a couple of crankbaits, they’re great for catching bass and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. You’re going to need to get your hands on a deep diver as well as a shallow diver, preferably two colors of each.
You won’t need to worry too much about color when it comes to bass fishing. This is because bass responds well to both natural-looking ones that look like baitfish as well as a more vibrant colored one.
It’s a good idea to have the option of both and they work well in harmony.
You should also consider getting your hands on some spinnerbaits. There’s a lot to choose from and the market can look a little overwhelming to beginners.
It’s best to just opt for mainly natural colors with some shocking colors. If you buy spinnerbaits that have gold blades, it’s more likely to stand the test of time in all conditions.
Try and pick up some plastic worms, too. These lures are extremely popular and effective in bass fishing as they look just like their favorite juicy snack- worms.
Plastic worms are often nicknamed “the patient bait” due to how long it usually takes to get a catch with one.
Many beginners to bass fishing will use plastic worms once, not catch anything, get bored and write them off completely.
It’s important to remember that you will become more skilled with time and practice.
Some anglers recommend making irregular and unpredictable movements in the water with your plastic worm in order to catch more bass. Once you get a bite, don’t strike immediately.
First, you must allow him to swim away with the worm and only then strike. This isn’t always easy to do, however, because when the bass takes the line, instinct will make you want to catch him - Don’t! Patience is a virtue and this is the perfect opportunity to exercise it.
The larger bass isn’t as interested in plastic worms as the smaller kind, this is usually because they’re older and therefore wiser. So it’s crucial to make your plastic worms look as real as possible.
Fishing is a learning sport and no one knows it all. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don't be limited by your own worries and opinions. Try out a bunch of different techniques and experiment with things.
You will eventually find something that works for you and maybe in the future, you can guide someone else through the world of bass fishing. Go fishing as often as you can to squeeze in practice and you will soon learn.
Other Useful Equipment
It’s important to use high-quality and to remember to swap them out regularly.
Keep in mind that your hooks become dull with use, especially since bass have bony jaws that wear down the hook’s sharpness.
Weights and Sinkers
These are small heavy items that weigh down your lure or hook, forcing them to sink more quickly.
Attach 1 or 2 sinkers, 6 to 12 inches above the hook. This weight will keep your bait or lure down in the water and will help swing it away from shore.
A bobber lets you know when fish are biting because it moves up and down in the water as fish nibble at the bait.
You’ll need a knife if you plan to clean any fish (though this doesn’t apply if you’re doing catch-and-release).
If your line snags and you’re unable to fix it, you may need a knife to cut your line. You can also use your knife to chop up bait such as worms.
It’s a useful piece of kit to have on you while bass fishing. However, be sure to check local laws in your area on carrying knives while bass fishing.
Needle-nose pliers are a versatile tool that has long, tapering jaws with a pointed tip.
Among their many uses are gripping, bending, and cutting small-gauge wire. They can reach into tight places that are inaccessible to other types of pliers.
You might need pliers when bass fishing to remove a hook that has gone too deeply into the fish.
Alternatively, you can purchase a multi-tool instead of a separate knife and pliers.
A tackle box helps to keep all of your tackle organized. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
As a beginner, the best thing to do is just pick a simple 3600-size tackle box that’s affordable for you. You can always get another if your first one gets full.
First Aid Kit
When bass fishing, or any kind of fishing - having a first aid kit on hand is a must.
In this first aid kit you’ll want bandages of many sizes, hydrogen peroxide for cleaning wounds, cotton balls, a bottle with pure, fresh, clean water, a few pairs of medical gloves, first aid ointment, absorbent pads that will not stick to wounds, hand sanitizing gel, medical scissors, and paper towels.
It also never hurts to keep an epinephrine pen in case of allergic reactions.
Although this isn’t necessary, a camp chair can be super useful if you’re fishing on unstable ground such as at the side of a lake.
They can also provide comfort when you’re stating mostly in one location, in one position.
You can get inexpensive camping chairs from any good tackle shop and most will fold away for convenience and storage.
Where and How to Go Bass Fishing
Before you have any great expectations of plentiful catches, you’ll first need to figure out where you’re going to be bass fishing.
The most popular starting locations are shores and docks. If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a kayak or a small boat, even better.
However, it’s not essential. Each location requires a different technique.
Bass Fishing from Shore
A great place to start bass fishing is at the shore. It’s a firm favorite with beginners as it’s completely free, you’ll just need to take your own equipment along.
Keep an eye out for quieter locations such as parks, boat ramps, and bridge overpasses, as these can be suitable places to start bass fishing.
One advantage of fishing from a bank is that there is a lot of vegetation which allows you to practice new techniques.
If the water is deep enough, you can even learn how to drag a texas rig back to shore.
Consider looking around for areas of shallow cover where you can pitch your rig, as the more hidden you are, the more likely you are to catch a bass.
Bass Fishing from a Dock
If you’re fishing from a dock, it won’t feel much different from fishing from shore.
However, if you’re fishing from a dock, you’re going to be further away from the bank. This can be advantageous as there’s an opportunity to look for bass in vegetation and weeds.
If your dock isn’t the only one around, as a beginner it’s a good idea to learn proper etiquette.
Always remain polite and friendly to any people in neighboring docks by avoiding casting under them.
You can eventually learn to do this later when you’re confident that you can do it without getting snagged.
Bass Fishing from a Kayak
If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a small boat or kayak, you have many more fishing opportunities.
You’d have access to more areas and can venture further than just the piers and the parks. However, it’s not absolutely necessary for a beginner to have access to a small boat or kayak.
In fact, beginners may find it more comfortable to stay near shore until they gain confidence and enhance their skills.
When is the Best Time to Fish for Bass?
There are a few factors to take into account when choosing the right time and condition to go bass fishing. Some of these include the time of day, seasons, weather, and the moon phase.
Diving straight into bass fishing without doing your background research on how bass relates to their environment would be a rookie mistake.
It’s useful to know that bigger bass only feeds a couple of times a day during the summer months.
They usually do so late in the evening, at night, or early in the morning. So beginners may spend an entire July afternoon trying to get a catch but to no avail because they didn’t do their research.
Bass behave oppositely during the winter months. They will feed a lot during the warmest times of the day and very little throughout the rest of the day and night.
Bass don’t stay in one spot and will migrate to different areas of a body of water during different times of the year.
For example, they will behave differently during summer than they do during pre-spawn, and so on. The good news is that these behaviors are predictable and follow a cyclical pattern.
It’s important as a beginner to understand how to effectively fish for bass all year round.
There are plenty of insightful YouTube videos and books out there to guide you.
Once you’ve learned the migration patterns of bass, you can utilize them in your future bass fishing endeavors. Look into it, it’s worthwhile.
Bass fishing is a great way to spend time outside, hang out with friends, and maybe even experience the thrill of catching a huge fish. All you need is your fishing license, the correct equipment, and some basic tackle.
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