A little knowledge of Bass habits and the various modes they go through will lead you to more and bigger bass. The wily Bass and his feeding habits appear to change from hour to hour and day to day. However, there are really only three things that we need to understand in order to increase our catches.
When a Bass is hungry it feeds voraciously. Anything and everything that appears to have food value will be picked up by the Bass in order to satisfy his appetite. It is at this time that catching Bass is at its easiest. You have only to lay your lure within sight and the Bass will pounce on it. In most cases he will attack with great zeal and you have but to reel in this very much fooled and confused denizen of the lake. However, there are times that although he is hungry, he is also cautious, and it is during this time that experience and practice pays off. When fishing, it is absolutely necessary to be alert for any movement or pull on the line. A Bass is fast at determining if what is in his mouth is food or trash and will spit your bait as fast as you can blink. A typical remark by many fishermen is that they felt three bumps and then nothing. What they felt was the Bass picking up the bait, turning to run off with it, and then spitting it out in rejection. In other instances they will do this so fast that you simply won't feel it. Although frontal passage, moon phase and water current play a part in this feeding mode, look to early AM and early PM to be prime feeding times for Bass.
When Bass are preparing to spawn, or actually spawning they are very vulnerable to our baits. In this mode they are on the defensive. Any bait placed near them is looked at, not as food, but rather as an intruder that must be dealt with. Whether it is the buck that is preparing the bed for the female to spawn or the female sitting on the bed, they will attack anything that threatens that bed with extreme viciousness. However, they may do this by swiping at the bait with their head, their tail, or by simply pushing it with their body. Any tap felt on the line or movement of the line should trigger an immediate attempt to set the hook. Look for pre-spawn and spawn conditions now through March on most Florida waters. Remember also that although the female does not feed when on the bed, the male is close by, waiting and watching in defense. He will feed right on schedule. Also remember that even though the female departs after spawning, the male remains there to defend the nest from intruders.
When Bass are not in a feeding mode, or spawning, they spend their time hanging around waiting for opportunity to offer an easy meal. In addition they are very territorial, and will defend this space of theirs with quick retribution to any intruder. It is at this time the Bass can be the most difficult to catch, and it is this mode that Bass spend most of their time. The territory perceived by the Bass at this time is his immediate space his body displaces in the water. Bait placed only inches away may not seem as an intrusion to him, nor may it seem like a good opportunity as food. In order to be successful at this time the bait must be placed right in the Bass's territory. Also, when in this mode, the Bass will not chase bait. His perception of something moving away is that it's not a threat to his territory, nor is it an easy opportunity for food. This is the time to fish "SLOW". It is the most difficult technique to learn and master, but it is the one that will produce large quantities and good quality bass. The bait, no matter the kind, must be moved as if it's not moving. A two-inch jerk would be considered a lot. Most Bass will be taken when the bait is sitting absolutely still. Again, any tap, movement, or pull against the line and you must react with a swift hook set. The Bass will reject your bait as trash, almost immediately, so don't be caught sleeping.
During any of these modes that the Bass go through they will strike any properly presented bait. Spinners, Jigs, Plastics, Crank Baits and top water baits will produce if worked properly and placed where the Bass is. If you find the fish, stay alert, and fish at their pace, you will improve your catches in both quantity and size. There are no secrets; no honey holes; just a little understanding and practice will have you increasing your effectiveness on the water. Fish slowly and deliberate and keep the lines tight.
Imagination Bassin Guide Services
(Specializing on Florida waters)
Port St Lucie, Florida