Top tips for getting them hit

Sight fishing is nothing new. I can still remember as far back as the mid-1970s when we were looking for bass that were still on their spawning grounds after the season opened statewide, but it was a little more difficult because the regulations meant that spawning bass were completely protected. targeting by fishermen. At the time, many states closed their seasons to coincide with spawning. Once New York came along and made it possible to target bass all year round (in eligible waters), we were able to find them as they were in a pre-spawning pattern, on their beds, or just after thanks to new rules on the use of artificial lures and requiring immediate catch and release. Getting back to sight fishing for bass has never been so much fun, and thanks to the fisheries biologist community, we now know it’s safe for fish. Of course, you can catch largemouth and smallmouth bass through sight fishing any time of the year, it’s just that it’s more common when the fish are in the shallows during the spawn. No matter when you’re targeting them with this method, today we’re going to go over some of the intricacies of bass chasing that you spot with your eyes rather than your electronics.

Equipment for sight fishing bass

Getty Images: Yana Tatevosian

Sometimes the basics are the best way, and when you’re sight fishing for bass, that’s absolutely true. These are the basic things I like to use when the bigger bass have finally left the deeper water roosting areas and are finally on their beds in the spring.

  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Spinning rod and reel
  • 10 pound fluorocarbon line or 20-30 pound braid with 10 pound diameter
  • Soft plastic white worms and tube baits in white
  • Drab or even Camo clothing

Soft plastic tubes and larvae are the go-to choice for most sight anglers, but don’t overlook a lizard or salamander presentation as it causes extreme anger management issues in early season bass. . Slow moving bait on or near a bed of bass can trigger a strike, but when a largemouth won’t leave its position to attack (even to defend its nest), let a creature bait rest directly on its eggs will sometimes do the trick. the trick. Don’t be afraid to experiment with other lures like Texas Rig plastic worms, shallow dive crankbaits, or even swimbaits. Remember that bluegill like to eat bass roe and fry them. Mimicking one with your lure can sometimes result in an aggressive defensive bite where all else fails.

This is one of the best times, if not the best time, to use bait that appears to your own eyes since fish are acutely aware of their surroundings at this time of year. White is probably the best choice for the bedding bar, but yellow, chartreuse, black/blue, and summer crayfish also stand out.

If you plan to fish on the water (the most efficient way), you must remember that stealth is still your best friend. A good trolling motor will get you closer to the fish, but don’t forget your oars or a simple paddle to reduce noise and movement. When it comes to rods and reels, there’s no particular reason to choose spinning gear over baitcasting, it’s just that in my experience, it’s easier and more fun to fine-tune your bait near a fish with a spinning rod. I like to use fluorocarbon lines because the water is often clearer in shallow water and this line disappears better than mono or braid.

Many fishermen neglect the clothing aspect. You want to make sure you don’t stand out by using bright colors; the only loud thing there should be your voice when you’re loading a pig. Finally, there is the secret weapon. Polarized sunglasses have been the norm in fishing ever since anglers discovered how much they cut glare and made fish stick out like a sore thumb, especially in shallow water.

Cast long and slow down

Bass sight fishing

Craig Raleigh

When on the lake, try to stay away from the main shallow shores and use the polarized sunglasses to search for fish near the edges. When you spot them, it’s time to calm down and be careful. Move slowly with the trolling motor or paddles, avoid splashing as much as possible to get into casting distance. If the water is clear you may want to stay a little further than if it is stained. Quite simply because clear water fish often get scared faster. If you are fishing from the shore, tread lightly. You’d be surprised how much the sound of footsteps can carry underwater. It helps if you crouch when approaching the bank. It just makes it harder for the bass to see you coming.

Once you’ve gotten into position to target a fish, you’ll need to make sure you don’t startle it. Having it in sight is only the first order of business, now you have to place your bait close to the fish without plunging it just above the bass. In my experience, the best way to cast is to toss your offering into the air past the target area and slowly bring it back until it appears to threaten a nest or disturb a bass. Don’t neglect to throw your bait at the side of the fish, but don’t splash it on the head or you risk a big zero.

Slow your approach, make sure you don’t cast a shadow, and slow your recovery until you’re crawling. Sometimes just letting the bait sit on a nest for a while is enough to trigger a shot. This has the effect of slowly driving a laying bass mad, thinking it is a threat to its eggs. Sometimes you will catch the smaller male fish first, as they seem to be more aggressive in this scenario.

Outside of spawning scenarios, you’ll want to keep a close eye on the fish’s body language. They will give you subtle cues to tell you what they are interested in biting. You might see a sudden burst of energy, or a simple, subtle turn that shows their interest is peaking. Sometimes this may require throwing a few different lures at a stubborn fish until you come across something it likes. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box in this scenario. There’s a chance a stubborn bass has already been caught on a lure like the one you’re casting. It just means you might have to launch something different that they haven’t seen before.

If there’s a more fun way to fish than sight fishing for bass, then please let us know. Nothing beats watching a big bass gobble up your surface water or jig after a deliberate throw at them. Whether you’re a seasoned bass fishing veteran or just starting out, sight fishing is something anyone can do, and it allows for some quick action.

Please see my book “The Hunter’s Way” by HarperCollins. Be sure to follow my web page, or on Facebook and YouTube.


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