October 6, 2021
Bass fishing is one of the most popular ways to enjoy recreational fishing. It is so popular that there are pro bass fishing tournaments held each year. One of the reasons bass fishing is popular is because of its accessibility. Bass fishing equipment is simple, there’s no need for special poles or rods, and a variety of baits and lures are effective. Bass can also be found in almost every freshwater lake, river, or pond all across the United States.
Because of its accessibility, bass fishing can also have a level of competitiveness. Anglers focused solely on catching bass can be preoccupied with its size and weight. As the bass have a wide variety of methods, equipment, and fishing techniques that can be used, anglers can mix and match what suits them best when catching bass.
In particular, using big bait is one of the most popular ways to lure bass. As a rule of thumb, bigger bait attracts bigger bass. It is sometimes plausible for big lures and swimbait to scare away small fish. Of course, using bigger bait can be enticing as most largemouth bass are theorized to eat more calories than they expend. In that effect, using smaller bait may be more effective at closer distances to the fish.
One question that can be asked is how big is big? Largemouth bass can typically eat fish ⅓ of its size. According to a study made by Iowa State University, 10-lb bass can consume gizzard shad, bluegill, and golden shiner on the larger size. As bass can view others of its kind as prey, it can be said that they can easily swallow bass half its size. Because of this, using big bait fishing lures are one of the most effective ways of catching bass.
Also known as the trout of the south, bull shad swimbait gets its name from the American gizzard shad and has been one of the most popular and effective big baits anglers use. There are multiple bait sizes to choose from, ranging from 5” up to 11”. New anglers are recommended to start with the smallest, going up the size chart as they gain experience and finding out which suits them the best. The bait also has four different colors such as: gizzard, threadfin, golden shiner, and dirty bone. It is best to use a color that matches the fish in your area. Gizzards are the only colors available for 7” bull shad baits.
When preparing the rest of your equipment, there are a handful of recommendations. Reels that have gear that can handle heavy weights, as well as have larger spool sizes and have great drag systems, are best used. Choosing rods will vary on what bait length you’ll use. A 5” bait is best used with a 1.2-ounce rod, a 6” with a 1.8 ounce, and so on. Picking lines is the same concept. A 15 to 20lbs monofilament will work on a 5” to 6” bait. Using a 7” onwards will need a stronger line.
The next big bait is considered one of the best walking, top-water lures available. Anglers recommend the use of a 7-foot medium rod with a braided line when being paired up with the Chug’n Spook. The lure weighs about an ounce with a length of 4 ⅞ inches. Obviously, the best technique anglers can use with the Chug’n Spook is walking the dog. This technique is a common practice for using topwater lures and revolves around reeling the line in a zigzag pattern. Make sure to cast long past the area you want to fish in and to twitch the rod tip while reeling. Finally, it’s best to cast the lures in shaded areas, especially on hotter days.
The next big bait has quite a good record. It was prominently used on the 2012 FLW Tour, taking key fish that won the whole tournament. The Strike King weighs 1.92 oz while having a length of 6”. The crankbait can be launched towards long distances, making sure it gets to its maximum running depth. It sinks fast and takes little effort to crank while being responsive enough for an angler to feel where it has hit the bottom or through other surfaces. The Strike King comes in two different variations; the Green Gizzard Shad and the Clear Sexy Shad. Both are translucent. There’s no better crankbait for fishing at plus 20 feet of depth range. Pair this up with a lengthy yet strong rod in order to maximize its use.
Another bait that relies on using the depth of water, spoons use the reflections of light hitting its body in order to attract fish. For certain fish, the reflections resemble prey, especially when using specific colors of reflection. It is on the easier side to use as all it takes is a simple cast, time to settle underneath, and a quick reel. Flutter spoons, in particular, are best used during summer or fall when other baitfish are more likely to dwell at the bottom of the water. These lures are best paired with heavier rods in the range of a 7 to 8-foot heavy action rod. When choosing a line, anglers have the option of using a 20-lb fluorocarbon or a 40-lb braid. Flutter spoon bass fishing can be very effective when targeting schools of fish.
It’s easy to get lost when preparing equipment to go bass fishing. This is especially true, considering the length and variety of accessibility when choosing what to use. Of course, what’s best may not even be those featured above, because in the end, experimentation is the key. There are many factors that differentiate the effectiveness of fishing gear. Including but not limited to the weather, the type of water body, the climate, and most importantly the season, there are many ways to go about choosing the right equipment. It’s all about the anglers’ willingness to pick and choose what suits them best.