Bass Fishing 101

mtskibum16

Active Member
#1
Ok, I'm pretty (ok really) inexperienced with warm water species. Last weekend I hit a local lake that I knew had some bass to give it a go. I fished poppers all day, because that's about all I understand for bass fishing: cast to the lilies, docks, and other obvious structure, and hope one comes to investigate. I fished those obvious places and landed a bunch of (not very big) LMB.

The lack of size had me wondering about the lake itself, but also the areas I was targeting and style of fishing I was using. Then I realized I really had no clue what I was doing. So do any of you fine folks have some tips for a bass newb? Stuff like location, habits, presentations, flies, etc. Bass fishing for dummies really. I might pick up a book or two, but that won't help me this weekend.

Assume I don't know anything about bass fishing, because that's pretty accurate. :D

Here's one from last weekend. Nothing like @b_illymac posts, but it's the best I could do.

 

mtskibum16

Active Member
#3
For smallmouth you are going to get a recommendation of reading Fly Fishing for Western Smallmouth by David Paul Williams.

I bought it myself on the same advice and it's a worthwhile read. There's a big chunk about spots in other western states that I skipped over. But the rest is useful info about smallmouth behavior, locations, feeding, and so on.

Not about LMB. however.
Thanks! Added it to my list on Amazon. Unfortunately I don't think my local lakes have many/any SMB. There might be a couple, but the main target will be LMB in small lakes.
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
#4
The smallmouth book it is good one. I found a copy at Third Place Books.

Just my opinion, but at least here in western WA, things will only get better when it comes to topwater and LM.
The warmer the water the better. Early and late can be great. Fish the shaded side of structure mid day.
Let your topwater pattern sit for awhile after splash down before moving it.
SF
 

mtskibum16

Active Member
#5
Thanks @Stonefish ! I was letting it sit like you said last weekend and got a number of hits like that before the retrieve. Do you do much subsurface stuff or mainly stick with topwater?
 

Speyrod GB

Active Member
#6
A minnow pattern or wooly bugger would do well for subsurface. I have caught them on a simple crappie fly (sparkly white chenille with a white marabou wing and a silver bead size 6 3x long). I know, pretty sophisticated, but it works. I have always been told to let the rings clear before the first twitch. My patience doesn't usually last that long though.

The smallmouth book is a great book. Unfortunately I do not have any suggestions for a largemouth book. Google maybe? Top water is still the only way to go....just my opinion.

Tight lines.
 
#7
Not an expert by any means but a sinky fly(clousers) on a mono leader or a fluffy fly like a rabbit style leach on a sink tip should be part of your options.

I too pretty much only fish structure but that's just cause I like doing that the most.
 

jersey

livin' the dream
#10
Look for depression or hide outs for ambushing prey. LM will fit in a shoe box sized slot, so they can pound food as it comes by. Any point in cat tails or rocks, as stated above hit the shaded areas.

Once the sun hits the water, they typically won't come up for surface bugs. But that's not a guarantee... Also, they are scared of fast retrieves above and below water. Watch gear guys pulls frogs.... I think they bite because they get mad as hell.
 

b_illymac

Member Active
#11
Look for depression or hide outs for ambushing prey. LM will fit in a shoe box sized slot, so they can pound food as it comes by. Any point in cat tails or rocks, as stated above hit the shaded areas.

Once the sun hits the water, they typically won't come up for surface bugs. But that's not a guarantee... Also, they are scared of fast retrieves above and below water. Watch gear guys pulls frogs.... I think they bite because they get mad as hell.
I respectfully disagree. They will come up to the surface with the sun out on a 100 degree day over here. in fact I don't even pay much attention to the sun.

fast retrieves also work. stripping right when fly hits the water works as well. I think key is to be irregular in retrieve. but they will hit something burning. just the other day I had a bass almost hit my boat it was chasing my fly so fast!

to the op. dont be afraid to mix it up. I like to cover water. that means long casts along weed lines and over rock points etc. look at it like only so many big mommas in the pond. gotta go find them. when they correlate to shade they will come out from shade to strike something coming by but sometimes that zone is 4 feet and sometimes it's 6 inches (think heat of summer). now if you are casting 10 feet off cover you will be wasting time. this is for top water. another fun technique is to let fly drift under dock and then work it out.

that's just some before work ramblings. good luck.
 

mtskibum16

Active Member
#12
Good stuff guys! So like all fishing....there are really no rules. haha I was going to ask about retrieves. Slow vs fast, long vs short, do you actually pop the popper, etc. I've been wondering what their "zone" is, so thanks for some clarification Billy. That makes a big difference in how fast I can cover water or not. Hopefully this will help up my mangrove game learning to skip these flies up under docks and overhangs.

Went fishing at a new-to-me lake last night that is known for warm water fishing. The results were less than stellar. I caught one tiny bass and never had a single showing otherwise. Very different from my last outing where my fly was harassed by little guys all day. We were in a boat and really covered a lot of water and a bunch of really fishing looking water. The lake was really off color, but I don't know how much that matters and if that was normal for the lake or not. Mixed sun and clouds but mainly clouds. Quite a breeze so there was a pretty good surface chop - will that affect the topwater action? My other thought was this is the only lake in the area that people really bring the bass boats out and seriously target bass, so maybe they're just much more pressured than other lakes around here and my game is not up to par. For whatever reason, the bite was sure off for me last night.
 

spadebit

Active Member
#14
I dont have much for advice but I do recall fishing some farm ponds as a kid in the belly boat during the heat of summer. One day a friend of my dads mentioned them eating dragonfly adults. I acquired some patterns and set out.
The twitch twitch rest worked and ended up with three decent sized
fish. why I never stuck with fishing for them after that us beyond me as the topwater strikes were quite the rush.
So i suppose a question could be, if bass get a lot of pressure from topwater gear anglers or fly anglers tossing poppers, would a more natural imitation such as a dragonfly adult be a good option?
 

mtskibum16

Active Member
#15
I dont have much for advice but I do recall fishing some farm ponds as a kid in the belly boat during the heat of summer. One day a friend of my dads mentioned them eating dragonfly adults. I acquired some patterns and set out.
The twitch twitch rest worked and ended up with three decent sized
fish. why I never stuck with fishing for them after that us beyond me as the topwater strikes were quite the rush.
So i suppose a question could be, if bass get a lot of pressure from topwater gear anglers or fly anglers tossing poppers, would a more natural imitation such as a dragonfly adult be a good option?
Good suggestion. I did see a number of dragonfly adults yesterday. But to clarify, I don't think the lake is getting pressured from fly fisherman too much. I'm not overly familiar with traditional gear types for bass to know what their surface presentations might look like.
 

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