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Jacob Phelps

Bass Fishing Techniques/Presentations

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I have been getting more into bass fishing recently and want to expand that amount of fishing presentations I know how to fish. I am adding casting gear (as opposed to spinning gear) to my arsenal with the intent to learn how to fish casting gear more. I have mainly fished spinning gear for bass, with the wacky worm being one of my all time favorite things to throw. I am now seeing advantages to using casting gear. I have only ever fished moving baits (crankbaits mostly, occasionally a spinnerbait or chatterbait), but want to expand my knowledge. What are some techniques that I should know being a bass fisherman? These can be basic techniques since my knowledge is probably a bit narrow. I just started fishing bass jigs for the first time late this summer; with the fall weather I would like to learn jerkbait fishing; I would like to get into topwater fishing as well; plus I dont have much knowledge fishing spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and crankbaits.

What are some great tips you can offer concerning any of these presentations?

What are some great lures within these presentations that you have had success on? For instance, there are so many different brands and types of bass jigs, what are some that catch fish and are durable?

Please feel free to add any presentations, tips, and/or lures that I didn't mention and you feel are important to know about. Thank you all for your assistance in making me a better fisherman!!!

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I'll likely get some flak over this, but if I were starting over I'd begin with a jig. Pick one in a 3/8-1/2oz. size depending on the rod you use and learn how to cast, pitch and flip it. Use it until you can tell the difference between it bumping a rock and a tree stump, hard bottom and soft, when it catches on weeds or is moving along a limb. Learn how fast it falls and how to count it down. Then you can work on different retrieves.

You will then have a ton of knowledge you can apply to most any other bait or technique. No, they're not all presented the same, but you will have come to understand the importance of knowing what the bait is doing and what information it is transmitting back to you.

.

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Lures aren't the key to the fort of successful bass fishing.

Understanding what prey the bass are targeting and where bass are located comes before trying to catch them with lures.

Tom

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1 hour ago, WRB said:

 

Understanding what prey the bass are targeting and where bass are located comes before trying to catch them with lures.

Tom

I couldn't have said that better. But after he begins figuring this out, he will need to be working on a few techniques to catch them.

With all that in mind, however, he didn't tell us what type of water he is going to be fishing; is it a small pond with a grass/silt bottom with some hard flats mixed in? Is it a lake that has many different biomes near that you prefer to fish? We really need a good idea of where you are, and what you at this point. You say spinning gear some I'm going to make an assumption here, please correct me if I'm wrong:

Dropshot, Carolina rig, Texas rig, flukes, weightless soft plastics and senkos are all in your repertoire yes? The next move for me would be to use small poppers, 1/4-3/8 spinner bait, a smallish buzz bait, and then finally jigs under 3/8oz to start. 

Once you get a baitcaster you can start the other techniques, and I would wait with the crank and jerk baits. They can be far more frustrating than you would imagine, and require a bit of rod feel (more so for cranks) than you might think. 

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 The options are practically endless, but heres a start. Before we start talking techniques, which you can get off this site via articles, and videos. Lets get a rod in your hands first, not just a rod, but the right rod

When it comes to buying a decent casting rod for say jigs or worms, you will need a rod that not only has some backbone but sensitvity as well, what I do while shopping for one is this. 

   Take the rod in hand, lightly touch the floor with the tip and slide it across the floor "feeling" its contour, tile seams, etc. you want one that transmits the nuances/seams/etc. to your hand readily. Do this with a few rods and you will notice what Im saying easily. Some rods will detect any changes immediately, and some not so much. Buy the immediately feeling one that: you like, can afford, and fits your hand well. For a bottom bouncing rod, you want a med heavy action or heavier, some anglers boch at this, but it serves a few important purposes, even with braided line you want that backbone to pull fish out of heavy cover quickly. Also, for worms and bass jigs I prefer a long rod for it offers more leverage than a shorter rod. 6' 10" up to a 8' flipping stick are my prefference. And although, the old pocket fisherman from Ron Popiell will catch fish, I wouldnt use one for this type of angling. Go with some leverage, 7' is the norm.

Reels,... buying a casting reel can be a daunting task, but if you adhere to a few necessary "rules of thumb" this will narrow the search for you.

  Retrieve speed: "generally" the slower the speed, the more power it has. But I like a semi quick speed, to recover quickly for the next cast/pitch/flip whatever im doing. My flipping, pitching,casting reels are either 5 to 1 , or 6 to 1, I like the 6 to 1 better, even though it kinda goes against the "rule of thumb". But thats me. A 7 to 1, or 8 to 1,.. I leave for spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and cranks.

 Left or right handed; This subject comes with much debate as some anglers like left handed, some right handed, some either. I use all left handed casting reels as I started out fishing with a spinning reel that had only a left handed retrieve, and its comfy for me. Where ever you go looking for a reel, ask if you can check out both, and see whats comfy for you.

 What brand: There are a few really good reel manufacturers, shimano, lews, diawa, abu garcia browning, etc. And they all offer high end, and lower price point models. I like shimano curados myself, but again thats me. This is more of a personal preferrence type thing. A high end reel is going to cast a bit better, and If you are serious about casting gear? Id suggest getting a decent reel if possible, to make your transition to casting gear a bit easier. But keep in mind that some of the newer finesse type casting reels can get really expensive, so ask if the reel your looking at is a finesse reel, as this is not really a good "starting" point purchase.

   You should be able to find a decent reel for around a hundred dollars. I got a shimano canean to back up a broken reel, at a moments notice once, and it was $89 and it casts like a dream.  

  Hope this helps,...

Keep ya line wet!

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Like tom said the first thing a beginner needs to do is to know where the bass are under different conditions and seasons.  If the fish aren't there, it won't matter what you're throwing.  Then, start with one or two versatile techniques for the current season and learn those well. For spring I would recommend a suspending jerkbait and a jig.  Pick whatever jerkbait you can afford, but suspending rogues, pointers, and vision 110's are all great jerkbaits.  Do yourself a favor and get the jigs from seibert outdoors, they are the best jigs I have ever used and are very affordable.  Match one of his jigs a zoom super chunk, salty chunk, or pit boss.

For summer and post spawn i'd go with a Booyah popping pad crasher frog, a cavitron buzzbait, and a texas rigged ribbon tail plastic worm.   

For fall a suspending jerkbait (the same ones as in spring) and KVD 1.5 and 2.5 squarebill crankbaits are good starting points.  Later in the fall I will also pick up a silver buddy blade bait 

Winter a jerkbait, blade bait, and ned rig are the only baits I use.  A half of a zinkerz on a 1/16 ounce mushroom jig (aka ned rig) is an awesome year round bait for sheer numbers, but not always the best for size although it did catch my biggest Indiana bass. 

These are all good starting points, but make sure to experiment yourself and become well aquanted with basses seasonal movements.  The bassresource articles section is a great place to find information regarding this, and also if you have any more questions just ask.

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What is your goal for bass fishing?

Any type of fishing, fresh or salt water, the goal should be catching fish. If you are a bass angler the goal is to catch bass consistantly. We use fishing tackle to catch bass with, so the gear is important.

For me spinning tackle is useful for light line lure presentations, anything that requires less than 8 lb test line or lures under 1/8 oz total weight and very few bass lures. 8 lb test or heavier line and lures exceeding 1/8 oz that can be cast effectively using bait casting tackle, that is my preference.

Therefore I do the majority of bass fishing presentations and lures using bait casting, it's a long list.

Tom

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i like spinning for light bottom contact mostly (1/4oz plus plastic and below), jerkbaits, poppers, weightless plastics,very small crankbaits and small inline spinners.

a baitcaster takes care of the rest for me.

practice what you listed (youtube is a good resource) and also learn weighted and weightless t-rig, poppers, frogs, dropshot. that should keep you busy for a few outings ;)

some proven lures:

lipless cranks - ratltrap : straight retrieve, yoyo

squarebill cranks - KVD : bang it off of things

buzzbait - cavitron (black) : keep it above the water ;)

spinnerbait -  (white) : straight retrieve, yoyo, bang off of wood

chatterbait - zman 

plastics - zoom

jigs - elken and cadman : combination of dragging, hopping, shaking

edit: i forgot the paddletails. i like keitech fat on a weighted hook or a jighead. the swing impact version for swimjig/bladejig trailers.

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I like to break it out into a 2 x 3 grid - you have 2 types of presentation (finesse/power) and 3 depths (topwater/bottom/water column in between).  I think any lure can be categorized into one or more(depending on how you fish it) of the following, and I've included some examples - 

Topwater Finesse - Slow retrieved rat/frog, slowwwww worked popper.

Topwater Power - Whopper Plopper, Spook, Buzzbait

Bottom Finesse - Jig, Shakeyhead, Carolina Rig, Texas Rig

Bottom Power - Deep diving crankbait digging into the bottom

Mid Finesse - slow sinking swimbait, suspending jerkbait, Ned rig

Mid Power - spinnerbait, bladed jig, crankbait

Try to get confident with 1-2 techniques that cover each combination so you have a technique for any depth, with a power and finesse option, so once you find the fish you'll have something in the toolbox to go after them.

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33 minutes ago, blckshirt98 said:

I like to break it out into a 2 x 3 grid - you have 2 types of presentation (finesse/power) and 3 depths (topwater/bottom/water column in between).  I think any lure can be categorized into one or more(depending on how you fish it) of the following, and I've included some examples - 

Topwater Finesse - Slow retrieved rat/frog, slowwwww worked popper.

Topwater Power - Whopper Plopper, Spook, Buzzbait

Bottom Finesse - Jig, Shakeyhead, Carolina Rig, Texas Rig

Bottom Power - Deep diving crankbait digging into the bottom

Mid Finesse - slow sinking swimbait, suspending jerkbait, Ned rig

Mid Power - spinnerbait, bladed jig, crankbait

Try to get confident with 1-2 techniques that cover each combination so you have a technique for any depth, with a power and finesse option, so once you find the fish you'll have something in the toolbox to go after them.

Those are all good points, but the ned rig is actually designed for and usually works best within six inches of the bottom, according to ned kahde's guide to the six Midwest finesse retrieves and the majority of Midwest finesse devotees.  Not saying that it can't work in the middle of the water column, but it is typically more effective fished within six inches of the bottom.

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So the Ned rig is fished within 6" the bottom, how do you know it's at that depth without hitting the bottom first?

The Ned rig isn't any different than a dart head jig w/ worm and may be forgotten within a few years.

Tom

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What I fish with using spinning tackle:

Split shot, drop shot and slip shot finesse worms with 5 to 7 lb FC line.

Fly lined or weightless 3" to 5" worms with 5 to 7 lb FC line.

1/16 & 3/32 oz wacky and dart  jigs and nail weight 4" to 6" worms.

What I fish with bait casting tackle:

everything else!

Tom

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7 minutes ago, WRB said:

The Ned rig isn't any different than a dart head jig w/ worm and may be forgotten within a few years.

Tom

Are you saying there is no difference between Elasticel (sp?) and the plastic used by other manufacturers?  I believe there is, enough to make the Ned rig different.  Kind of like the Big O balsa crank baits being different than other plugs that were around when it came out.

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18 hours ago, DrMarlboro92 said:

I couldn't have said that better. But after he begins figuring this out, he will need to be working on a few techniques to catch them.

With all that in mind, however, he didn't tell us what type of water he is going to be fishing; is it a small pond with a grass/silt bottom with some hard flats mixed in? Is it a lake that has many different biomes near that you prefer to fish? We really need a good idea of where you are, and what you at this point. You say spinning gear some I'm going to make an assumption here, please correct me if I'm wrong:

Dropshot, Carolina rig, Texas rig, flukes, weightless soft plastics and senkos are all in your repertoire yes? The next move for me would be to use small poppers, 1/4-3/8 spinner bait, a smallish buzz bait, and then finally jigs under 3/8oz to start. 

Once you get a baitcaster you can start the other techniques, and I would wait with the crank and jerk baits. They can be far more frustrating than you would imagine, and require a bit of rod feel (more so for cranks) than you might think. 

I mainly fish a river with a lot of rocks for smallmouth bass, but try to get out to other bodies of water whenever possible.

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1 minute ago, OCdockskipper said:

Are you saying there is no difference between Elasticel (sp?) and the plastic used by other manufacturers?  I believe there is, enough to make the Ned rig different.  Kind of like the Big O balsa crank baits being different than other plugs that were around when it came out.

It's different, just not a game changer for me or anyone else I know. Can you name any tournaments won using the Ned rig. Dick Trask won several tournaments and boats using a dart head jig.

Tom

 

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19 hours ago, WRB said:

Lures aren't the key to the fort of successful bass fishing.

Understanding what prey the bass are targeting and where bass are located comes before trying to catch them with lures.

Tom

I understand that. I never said I was looking for the key. All I said was that I was looking to expand my knowledge so that I am able to switch it up in accordance to the situation. 

13 hours ago, "hamma" said:

 The options are practically endless, but heres a start. Before we start talking techniques, which you can get off this site via articles, and videos. Lets get a rod in your hands first, not just a rod, but the right rod

When it comes to buying a decent casting rod for say jigs or worms, you will need a rod that not only has some backbone but sensitvity as well, what I do while shopping for one is this. 

   Take the rod in hand, lightly touch the floor with the tip and slide it across the floor "feeling" its contour, tile seams, etc. you want one that transmits the nuances/seams/etc. to your hand readily. Do this with a few rods and you will notice what Im saying easily. Some rods will detect any changes immediately, and some not so much. Buy the immediately feeling one that: you like, can afford, and fits your hand well. For a bottom bouncing rod, you want a med heavy action or heavier, some anglers boch at this, but it serves a few important purposes, even with braided line you want that backbone to pull fish out of heavy cover quickly. Also, for worms and bass jigs I prefer a long rod for it offers more leverage than a shorter rod. 6' 10" up to a 8' flipping stick are my prefference. And although, the old pocket fisherman from Ron Popiell will catch fish, I wouldnt use one for this type of angling. Go with some leverage, 7' is the norm.

Reels,... buying a casting reel can be a daunting task, but if you adhere to a few necessary "rules of thumb" this will narrow the search for you.

  Retrieve speed: "generally" the slower the speed, the more power it has. But I like a semi quick speed, to recover quickly for the next cast/pitch/flip whatever im doing. My flipping, pitching,casting reels are either 5 to 1 , or 6 to 1, I like the 6 to 1 better, even though it kinda goes against the "rule of thumb". But thats me. A 7 to 1, or 8 to 1,.. I leave for spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and cranks.

 Left or right handed; This subject comes with much debate as some anglers like left handed, some right handed, some either. I use all left handed casting reels as I started out fishing with a spinning reel that had only a left handed retrieve, and its comfy for me. Where ever you go looking for a reel, ask if you can check out both, and see whats comfy for you.

 What brand: There are a few really good reel manufacturers, shimano, lews, diawa, abu garcia browning, etc. And they all offer high end, and lower price point models. I like shimano curados myself, but again thats me. This is more of a personal preferrence type thing. A high end reel is going to cast a bit better, and If you are serious about casting gear? Id suggest getting a decent reel if possible, to make your transition to casting gear a bit easier. But keep in mind that some of the newer finesse type casting reels can get really expensive, so ask if the reel your looking at is a finesse reel, as this is not really a good "starting" point purchase.

   You should be able to find a decent reel for around a hundred dollars. I got a shimano canean to back up a broken reel, at a moments notice once, and it was $89 and it casts like a dream.  

  Hope this helps,...

Keep ya line wet!

Thanks for the suggestions! I recently bought a 7' MH fast action casting rod and currently have an old Abu Revo S that I am using now. Will probably upgrade when it gets into the spring, most likely to a Lews Tournament MB. I spend a lot of my nights watching fishing videos and picking up what I can. Looking to ad another rod too possibly. Not sure if I should go with a medium action casting for topwater, lighter moving baits, and lighter texas rigs, or go to heavier for flipping and pitching. Considering that I don't usually flip or pitch heavy cover because the water I normally fish does not have that kind of stuff, I will probably go with the medium.

9 hours ago, IndianaFinesse said:

Like tom said the first thing a beginner needs to do is to know where the bass are under different conditions and seasons.  If the fish aren't there, it won't matter what you're throwing.  Then, start with one or two versatile techniques for the current season and learn those well. For spring I would recommend a suspending jerkbait and a jig.  Pick whatever jerkbait you can afford, but suspending rogues, pointers, and vision 110's are all great jerkbaits.  Do yourself a favor and get the jigs from seibert outdoors, they are the best jigs I have ever used and are very affordable.  Match one of his jigs a zoom super chunk, salty chunk, or pit boss.

For summer and post spawn i'd go with a Booyah popping pad crasher frog, a cavitron buzzbait, and a texas rigged ribbon tail plastic worm.   

For fall a suspending jerkbait (the same ones as in spring) and KVD 1.5 and 2.5 squarebill crankbaits are good starting points.  Later in the fall I will also pick up a silver buddy blade bait 

Winter a jerkbait, blade bait, and ned rig are the only baits I use.  A half of a zinkerz on a 1/16 ounce mushroom jig (aka ned rig) is an awesome year round bait for sheer numbers, but not always the best for size although it did catch my biggest Indiana bass. 

These are all good starting points, but make sure to experiment yourself and become well aquanted with basses seasonal movements.  The bassresource articles section is a great place to find information regarding this, and also if you have any more questions just ask.

Thank you for the suggestions!!! I wouldn't call myself a "beginner" in reference to fishing since I have been fishing all my life. However, there are many techniques to bass fishing that I don't do much or don't have much confidence in. I have recently started trying the ned rig, but haven't fished it enough to gain any confidence with it. Only caught a couple bass on it. Again, thank you for all your tips.

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2 minutes ago, WRB said:

It's different, just not a game changer for me or anyone else I know. Can you name any tournaments won using the Ned rig. Dick Trask won several tournaments and boats using a dart head jig.

Tom

 

I see your point, but I don't know if it is the best tool for 5 fish tournaments.  I would not be surprised to see it used more in MLF type events, if any of the ZMAN pro's participate.

On my home lake, it is indeed a game changer.  Not a cure all, but a technique  that produces more and bigger fish more times than not.

One of the problems is people often slap a piece of any old worm on a jig head, call it a Ned rig, and then state that isn't any good when they don't get results.

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25 minutes ago, OCdockskipper said:

I see your point, but I don't know if it is the best tool for 5 fish tournaments.  I would not be surprised to see it used more in MLF type events, if any of the ZMAN pro's participate.

On my home lake, it is indeed a game changer.  Not a cure all, but a technique  that produces more and bigger fish more times than not.

One of the problems is people often slap a piece of any old worm on a jig head, call it a Ned rig, and then state that isn't any good when they don't get results.

Actually a few MLF contestants have used the NED rig trying to catch anything that would measure and gave it up and try other presentations they had more confidence using like drop shot or finesse ball or dart jig w/ worm.

Not saying the Ned rig doesn't work, it does. What I am trying to get across is a 3/32 to 1/8 oz dart jig with finesse 4 1/2" curl tail worm under the same condition may work better, because it does for me over the past 25 years.

Tom

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20 minutes ago, WRB said:

Actually a few MLF contestants have used the NED rig trying to catch anything that would measure and gave it up and try other presentations they had more confidence using like drop shot or finesse ball or dart jig w/ worm.

Tom

How did they gain confidence in those presentations?

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33 minutes ago, WRB said:

So the Ned rig is fished within 6" the bottom, how do you know it's at that depth without hitting the bottom first?

The Ned rig isn't any different than a dart head jig w/ worm and may be forgotten within a few years.

Tom

I do one of two things, one is to time how long that particular rig (two inch of a zinker-z, (2.5 inch section, tube-z, etc. all have different fall rates) takes to sink a foot and count it down.  But I only do this if I am fishing over a lot of alegae on the bottom that sticks to your lure if it touches it.  Otherwise I do let it hit bottom first and will actually let it deadstick for several seconds to give bass that heard it hit bottom time to come over and check it out.  Every few turns of the reel I let it glide back to the bottom on a tight line to re-estabolish bottom contact and to make sure it stays close to the bottom while it changes depths.

As far as not being any different than a jig worm, i'm gonna have to disagree with you there.  A jig worm generally uses larger worms than 2.5 inches, which is the most common bait put on a mushroom jig.  Also elaz-tech is softer, more durable, and highly buoyant than regular plastic worms.  I could not afford to fish half of a senko or something similar on a mushroom jig, even though it would not catch as much fish as half of zinker-z because of it's softness.  We will just have to see if it is forgotten in a few years, I dougt it will be forgotten but it probably will be talked about less as the novelty and hype surrounding it weares off.

41 minutes ago, WRB said:

It's different, just not a game changer for me or anyone else I know. Can you name any tournaments won using the Ned rig. Dick Trask won several tournaments and boats using a dart head jig.

Tom

 

I do not think any major tournaments have been won on the ned rig, but it is not made to catch the five big fish needed to win a tournament.  It was created with the purpose of catching as many bass as possible no matter the size, which is the goal of Midwest finesse fisherman.

44 minutes ago, Jacob Phelps said:

Thank you for the suggestions!!! I wouldn't call myself a "beginner" in reference to fishing since I have been fishing all my life. However, there are many techniques to bass fishing that I don't do much or don't have much confidence in. I have recently started trying the ned rig, but haven't fished it enough to gain any confidence with it. Only caught a couple bass on it. Again, thank you for all your tips.

Oh, sorry about that.  My understanding of your post was which technique should a brand new fisherman start on, I apologize for my mistake.

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Jacob, switching up rarely works unless you are where active bass are located.

My point is this, learn about bass behavior and the behavior of their food source, then you can switch up.

If you want to give me or any else a hypothetical circumstance with some details regarding seasonal period, size of the waterway or impoundment, type of bass and general regional area, be glad to answer the question.

Tom

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11 hours ago, Jacob Phelps said:

Looking to ad another rod too possibly. Not sure if I should go with a medium action casting for topwater, lighter moving baits, and lighter texas rigs,

You may find that a topwater lure and lighter baits (if treble hooked) will require a med action, and a lighter texas rigged lure a med heavy. I use a med heavy spinning rod for these.

 These "recommendations" are in consideration of hook setting abilities and requirements

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This is a common theme on the forums  . What lure , technique , .

   Trial  , error , knowledge and perseverance effect success more than lure selection . . Bass must  be located  before they can be tricked into biting .. Theres a lot of things to take under consideration . 

 : Type of water . River , reservoir , swamp...

: Season

: Weather

":Water temp

: Water clarity

:Trending conditions . Rising water , falliing water , stable water , muddying water...

:  Forage 

: Type of bass . Largemouth , smallmouth , Kentucky ...

:: Available cover .  Weeds , rocks , timber....

: Bottom shape / structure

:Bottom composition .Hard /soft .

: Time of day

: Fishing pressure

:Thermoclne 

:Current or lack of 

: and many other factors .

 

Thats a lot of stuff to contemplate in order to solve the riddle of where and how to catch bass ,  for anglers of all levels . 

 

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A texas rig, jig and spinnerbait can catch fish in all water and in virtually every situation, learn these 3 and you shoud be fine. Then learn other techniques.

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