One of the most productive techniques for caching big bass in the spring is sight fishing.
But how do you find the biggest bass in clear water? After all, the big ones didn’t get big by accident. They’ve been able to find their meals better than most, and avoid predators like bass fisherman with fancy tackle and 21 foot bass boats! Pretty smart.
So how do you outsmart the smart ones? Read on and I’ll give some tips to help you do just that.
Read The Water
A big key in sight fishing is to learn to “read the water”.
Reading the water can be important for lake or pond fishing, but come in especially handy when fishing the shallow waters of rivers or streams.
Bass Fishing Basics: What to Look For
- Look for movement. The big ones tend to swim off. There are very few times where you can roll up on a bed, with your trolling motor going, and the big ones stay in place.
- If you must keep your trolling motor on, keep it on at a constant rate. Fluctuations are more likely to spook a bass – so keep it steady.
- Look out from the front of the boat. If you’re looking down, just off the side of the boat with tunnel vision, then the fish have usually already swam off.
- If you do see something green, look for other green things. A common mistake is to become fixated on a single fish for way too long when there may well be others nearby that are ready to bite.
- Once you see that bass swim away, wait. It might take a minute or so, but often times the bass will swim back. If so, you may have just found a bed and with time you can catch that bass.
Searching For A Bass Bed
It’s only natural to think that while you’re sneaking up on a fish, or at least trying to move to within casting range, that if you manage to spook it, it’s gone forever.
For all you know, the fish has hightailed it across to the other side of the pond, where it will stay until darkness sets in and it’s time to come home.
Bass are homebodies at heart. This is especially true when they are spawning, as the bed is located in a safe and protected spot.
They don’t spend all of their time cruising about the water to see what’s happening at the other end. They have more important things to do!
Bass tend to stay close to where a food supply is and where they feel protected. Here are my 5 key elements on how to use this fact to catch big bass
Five Key Elements: How To Catch Bass
Key #1 – If you spook a fish away, be patient. It will eventually return.
Key #2 – If you can locate the bed, you’ll know where it will return too.
Key #3 – You can out-wait it. After all, you are the patient one if the bass is large enough for the wait. I try not to waste time on small bass, especially in tournaments.
Key #4 – Try to wear light colored cloths, like greens, browns, light blues and even white or black could work. For sure stay away from bright colors, such as, yellows, oranges and neon colors. This will really help the bass not see you as well
Key #5 – Once the fish returns, you’ll have to sneak up on it again, but be quieter this time. It’ll likely be back to its bed.
This brings up a good question. How do you go about finding a bed?
There are different ways to go about it, but in all cases, you first have to spot a fish, which is easiest when the bass are shallow, of course. This will usually be the case since we’re really talking about fairly shallow water here when sight fishing for spawning bass.
Fish remain near their bed, where they often prefer to be, and you may see one or two of them swimming in the vicinity.
The bass has left the cozy confines of their bed – at least for the moment. In this case, once you spot your bass, your next assignment is to see where it came from. You need to retrace its steps (or whatever a fish makes). It usually won’t be a wake, so pay attention to .
What I typically do is just look for a spot that is protected from the elements, that is fairly shallow, and that has a hard bottom, consisting of sand or gravel.
Bass usually don’t like mud – they tend to lose too many eggs.
If you happen to come across such a spot, and happen to see a fish at the same time, you may be in luck.
Once you’ve located a likely spot, back off a ways and begin to cast. If you think you might have scared the fish off, wait a bit – and be ready to pounce.
What To Look For To Find A Bed
Most of the time, you’ll find a bed in only a few feet of water. This is especially true if the water is a bit murky.
- Bass will avoid bedding in a heavily shaded area however as the eggs won’t incubate in a deeply shaded location.
- If the water is super clear, bass will go deeper, but seldom more than about 15 feet.
- I’ve heard of bass spawning in 10 and even 20 foot!
- A bed isn’t merely a location. It has its own unique look, but most have certain things in common.
- A bed is in a sense constructed, or at least debris has been cleared away. In nine cases out of ten, a bed will be lighter than its immediate surroundings.
- A bed also tends to have a somewhat circular shape. If you spot a light circular spot on the bottom of the pound, you’ve probably come across a bed, whether you see fish nearby or not.
Good place to stick around for a while, especially if you see bass cruising around. Often times, as the day warms up, those cruising bass will lock onto a bed and be much easier to catch!
Successful sight fishing takes some practice. One thing you have in our favor is the fact that bass are great protectors of their nest and offspring, so we can use that to our advantage.
Remember to look for green shadows and black tails moving around, look for sunny banks with sand and be ready to find a bunch of spawning bass!