10 Small Things That Will Make Big Changes In Your Bass Fishing

How-To Fishing Videos
The journey to becoming a better bass angler is a series of small steps. Here are 10 bass fishing tips that will send you in the correct direction.

Fish Behavior Information:

Fish Facts: https://www.bassresource.com/fish-facts

Fish and Lake Management: https://www.bassresource.com/lake-management


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Glenn: There we go.

Keri: Hey, look at that. He's a jumper too.

Glenn: Yes, he is. He's a good one. Come here, you. You want to play today? I'll let you play. I can see just the top antenna part of a crawdad. Yeah. That's why he hit my tube.

Keri: Yeah, eating crawdads.

Glenn: He's barely, it looks like a hair that's sticking out of his mouth.

Keri: Well, hurry up it might throw it up on you.

Glenn: I stung you good. You aren't going anywhere. But look at that belly. Guess because he's got a big old crawdad in his gut. See that?

Keri: Yeah.

Glenn: See that?

Keri: And he's still eating.

Glenn: He's still eating. You greedy. Thank you, buddy. Let you go.

Hey, folks. Glenn May here with BassResource.com. And today I'm not going to talk about lures. I'm not going to talk about techniques. Today, I want to talk about 10 simple things, 10 simple things you can do that's going to help you with your bass fishing. And actually, it's going to greatly improve your bass fishing. And you guys that have been fishing for a long time, you're going to get something out of this too. There's things you guys aren't doing and I know for sure, especially one of them that you aren't doing, and it's going to really improve your bass fishing. Trust me on this one. So let's just dive right into it.

The first one is to learn how to listen. Now, I'm not trying to be your mother here. So let me explain what I mean by that. As you progress in your fishing skills and throughout really all your life fishing, you're going to have questions. You're going to keep coming up with new situations, you come up against new lures, new techniques, what have you, and you're going to have more questions. That's fine and dandy. That's great. Ask those questions, you need to.

But you need to learn how to listen for those nuggets of information. And what I mean by that is, say, for example, you asked 10 different anglers about Texas rig fishing, for example. Well, you're going to get about 70% of those answers are going to be about the same, very close to being about the same. But the rest of it, each angler is going to drop little nuggets of information, little tips, little tidbits, little things they've learned along the way that's going to help accelerate your learning. And it's up to you to listen for those little nuggets of information and stitch those together to help formulate your own answer. Okay?

The other piece of it is that there's just so much information about bass fishing. It's details, details, details, ton of it that there's not going to be one angler that is going to be able to give you everything. So each one's going to give you a little bit of different information and that's, again, you got to learn to listen for that stuff because after a while, if you talk to the fourth or fifth guy, you're going to be hearing the same thing and just is easy to tune that out, turn it off. Don't do that. Listen for those nuggets of information and that's going to really help with your learning curve.

Which brings me to my next point and that is dig into the details. Try to learn as much as you can about bass fishing. Now it can be overwhelming, I get that. There's so much stuff to learn that it's hard to figure out where to begin. So this is kind of the methodology that I go about doing it.

Say, you're new to bass fishing. One of the first things you learn is that seasonal patterns dictate fish movement, fish behavior. Cool. Let's take spring for example. Spring, you discover that, hey, this is when bass spawn. So as the water warms up and the days get longer, the fish start to move shallower, they get more aggressive, and then on or around a full moon, that's when they spawn. Great piece of information.

All right. Let's peel back another layer of the onion. Say, you're fishing reservoir, a large reservoir. Well, the further away from the dam, the shallower the water is, and that warms up the fastest. So those areas are where the bass are going to spawn first or exhibit that spawning behavior and pre-spawn behavior. So they might spawn there first then the next wave of spawning might happen mid-lake and then the third wave will happen closer to the dam. Great. That's wonderful piece of information.

Now, let's go a bit further. Now, we find out that bass like to spawn on hard bottoms, right? Hard surfaces. Well, how can you tell the difference between a soft and muddy surface and a hard surface? Well, there's certain plants that thrive on soft and muddy bottoms and other plants that do very well on hard surfaces. So learning to identify those plants, you can go into a large area, look at these aquatic vegetation, and quickly, you can kind of get into the idea of where the bass might be and eliminate all the rest. Wow. It's another nugget of information. All right.

That's part of your learning curve. You just start broad and dive into the details of any given subject and keep learning. That is key to your success. The guys who have done this are the ones that typically are better than your average angler.

That's a strong fish. Where are you going? That's a good fish.

Come here, buddy. That's a good fish. We'll take that. Alrighty, buddy. I'm going to let you go. Nice belly on him.

Let's go on to the next tip. And that is set reasonable expectations. So I know you're watching YouTube right now. There's a lot of YouTube videos out there, but also TV shows that show these guys catching fish after fish, after fish. I mean, they're whacking them. They do really well. And then you go out fishing and you catch four or five, right? It may seem like, man, what am I doing wrong? Right. I'm not doing as well as these guys. Yeah.

Stop comparing yourself to these things because a lot of these videos are shot over the course of several days. And you're seeing all the catches compacted down into 15, 20 minutes. So it seems like a bonanza, but it's not. What you need to do is compare your progress against yourself. Not against some video or not against your buddy, but against yourself.

If you learn a new technique or you're trying to learn a new technique or pick up on a new tip and you go out fishing and you end up catching one or two more fish than you normally would, or you just catch that first fish on that new technique, that's a win. That's a victory, that is progress.

And as you go out and you do more and more of this and you catch more and more fish trying out new things and learning new tips, that's going to build your confidence. And I cannot at all understate the value of confidence when it comes to bass fishing.

It's everything, it's what's going to push you through when the bite is really tough. It's going to keep you focused on learning and trying different things when you're on the water. And it's going to keep you focused when you're learning new techniques or trying new tips that you've never done before. You're like, "Man, I don't even know if I can catch a fish with this." Well, if your confidence is built up, you'll be able to push through that and learn those new things. So it's that confidence. It all begins with setting reasonable expectations and judging your progress against yourself. That is key.

Okay, let's go on the next tip, and that is find those magic spots, not the magic lures. All of us bass anglers, we like to, you know, if you're going to go on a tackle store, for example, we plan on getting a couple of items and then we walk out of the store with over a hundred bucks worth of stuff. Yep. We got that shiny object syndrome. Guilty as charged. I've done the exact same thing. I've got a bunch of tackle that has never even seen water, you know, but I bought it because I thought I would need it.

See what we like to do is we find a lure that we really like and we've had success with it. So what do we do? Well, we go out and get a couple of different colors of it, maybe a couple of different sizes. That makes us feel prepared. Now we're ready for whatever situation comes up. We feel a little bit in control.

Well, this is mother nature we're dealing with. We're really not in control of anything. And to be honest with you, the guy who has the most amount of tackle and the largest tackle box doesn't necessarily catch the most fish.

I've been in so many tournaments and I've had a lot of backseaters and I've taken a lot of friends fishing, and the guy who scares me the most is not the one with all the rods and all the tackle. It is the guy that comes on board with a couple of rods and a handful of lures. Those are the ones who seem to really be on fish and know what they're doing and catch a lot.

The reason why is because they take the time to learn bass behavior, they learn the environment and how the forage and the bass react to the environmental conditions. And that way, they're able to find those spots either on the lake or river, whatever, that tend to have higher concentrations of fish.

So the key really to catching a lot of fish is not how many lures you have. Because let's face it, you can have the best lure ever made, but if you're throwing it in water where there aren't any fish, you're not going to catch anything. So the key is knowing how to find fish and where they're at, and that is invaluable.

And we've got a ton of that information on bassresource.com. There's a section there called fish facts. There's another section about lake management. It's an encyclopedia of information that's all about forage, environmental conditions and habitat and fish behavior of both bass and their forage and so on and so forth. That kind of stuff is key to locating and finding and catching bass. So dig in, it's going to help you out a lot.

Let's move on to the next one. And that is find out what makes fishing fun for you. Okay. Now, before you say, well, duh, captain obvious, fishing is fun or else I wouldn't be doing it. I mean, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Let me explain what this is. Fishing offers so many different things to so many different people. There's a lot of facets to fishing that people find appealing.

What you need to do is figure out what your passion is and build your fishing around that. So for example, if you really like tournament fishing, then plan around a tournament schedule, maybe a couple of different tournament organizations, maybe join a bass club, get into a couple opens, pre-fish these lakes, get into it, really get into it and enjoy it and have fun, man. Tournament fishing can be a blast. And it's a great way to learn too.

Maybe you just like trophy fishing, trophy bass fishing. And so you build your gear and equipment and your lures around that, you pick the lakes that have the higher propensity for you to catch a large bass. Whatever it may be, whatever your passion is, build it around that.

But here's the key thing, guys. And even you guys that have been fishing for a long time. This is what I was talking about earlier. What happens is at some point, it's not going to be as appealing to you. Most of the time, that's what happens to a lot of guys.

I know a lot of guys who went headlong into tournament fishing and...I did it, did it a lot. You know, I was fishing 20 plus tournaments a year, fishing around the country at times, not on a pro circuit, but a lot of opens, and it was a blast. Loved doing it.

But after a while, for me at least, it got to be almost like a job. Either I'm fishing a tournament or I'm pre-fishing for the next one. I really didn't have time to go out and just fun fish or take my friends fishing or my family fishing or go explore that lake that tournaments aren't held on, whatever. And you get kind of burned out on. You hear guys talking about getting burned out on fishing, whatever that means. Maybe it's not tournament fishing, maybe it's something else.

Here's where you need to step back and reassess. Reassess your passion because all of us, our likes and our interests change over time. And it's not that bass fishing got boring. And a lot of guys do this. They go, "I'll hang it up. There's sell off their rods, equipment gear. I'm going to low, go hunting now, whatever." Don't do that. Instead, if there's something else that you'd like to do now, find that passion and reassess your fishing and build your fishing experiences around that passion.

Say, for example, instead of going trophy fishing, now you just want to catch in numbers. Or say, you just like to get outside and enjoy the outdoors and be one with nature. Maybe just like it's fun to take your friends and family out fishing, or maybe exploring new lakes. Whatever that is, just refocus and build your fishing experience around that.

If you do that, then fishing is always going to augment your interests. And it's always going to be fun. And with that, your learning will continue to intensify because you're now doing different things and trying different things. And fishing is going to be a part of your life, literally for the rest of your life. It's going to be fun. So that's key to learning, is just finding that passion and going for it.

Keri: We have another customer. This one's my customer. He's just a little guy, but hey, they're fun to catch. Right?

Glenn: Yeah.

Keri: He had to eat that jig, had to eat that jig. Look at that jig. Jig's bigger than you are. Yes, it is. The jig is just as big as you, you little heathen. You ate it, remember that. Bye bye.

Glenn: Goodbye.

Keri: He was not playing around. He was gone.

Glenn: All right. The next one is to go out and fish for other species. No, don't quit bass fishing, but you can learn a lot about bass fishing by fishing for other species.

Say, for example, take crappie fishing and bluegill fishing. You learn how to fish those things and catch them, you're going to learn several things. First of all, where bluegill live or crappie live, what their behaviors are, how they react to the environment.

Bluegill and crappie, by the way, are main staple of bass diet, especially bluegill. So if you learn how the bluegill move around and what habitat they use, well, you're going to find bass because wherever the forage is, that's what the bass are. So you learn about bluegill and catching bluegill and you get really good at it, and same with crappie, you're going to be able to apply that to bass fishing.

But also, say, the hook set on these fish. Bluegill, crappie, and even trout, for example. The hook set on these, you guys know if you've been fishing for these species. You sit back and give it a hard hook set like you do in bass fishing. All you're going to do is tear that hook out of a fish's mouth. You are going to lose a lot of fish that way. The hook set is basically really isn't anything. You just kind of lift. It's a real light hook set.

Well, in bass fishing, almost every finesse tactic, that's the hooks that you use. And a lot of guys struggle with that hook set because most bass fishing is the opposite. Reel down it, you know, pop them, give them a good, hard hook set. You can't do that with finesse fishing because you're going to rip the hook out of the fish's mouth. So you learn that hook set with these other species and you can apply it to the bass fishing.

Say, for example, let's try current, you know, fishing in a river. Say, you like to fish for brook trout, or maybe even salmon, whatever. You learn how to read the water. You figure out how these fish use eddies, use breakwaters, use current, and that can be applied to bass because bass use current the same way that those fish do. And so you'll get better at reading the water and finding those spots where those fish are stacking up and you catch a lot more. So fishing for other species, you can apply a lot what you learned from that to your bass fishing. It really will accelerate your learning curve.

The next one is to pay attention and watch pro anglers. Now, this is kind of a cool thing. They didn't have this when I was younger, but they have it now. All the top bass fishing circuits are out there, the big ones. They actually stream live video right from the pro, right? You're in the backseat of the pro's boat, watching him fish. That is absolutely of tremendous value for learning.

Now I'd be the first one to tell you, watching a guy fish, it can be really boring. It can be really boring unless you know what to watch for. This goes back to us talking about knowing how to listen. Here, you're listening with your eyes. Watch the pro, watch what he's throwing, watch how he's throwing it, watch where he's throwing it, watch his presentation. What's his boat positioning? Right? So on and so forth. Just watching with the sound off, you can learn an awful lot just by observing.

But also listen to the pro. Some of them talk through the thought process. If they're not catching fish, what do they do? Do they pick up stakes and move elsewhere or do they change lures and tactics? And does it work for them? Because that's the old adage, man. That's the whole thing that you... The debate that you hear, you know, stay in play or run a gun. See what happens. You can learn a lot by watching these pros.

And it's the same thing, if a pro is there at, say, a seminar. Say, you're at those Outdoorsman Show. There's a lot of pros that go there and do seminars. Don't miss out on that. Even if they're talking about a subject you feel you're well versed in. Again, it goes back to learning how to listen. These pros are going to drop nuggets of information, little tips and tricks that you hadn't heard of before that's going to make that whole seminar worthwhile. So go to it, pay attention to these pros. Listen to them. You're going to learn a lot.

The next tip I want to talk about is get out from behind that computer screen. Okay? I know there's a lot of information on YouTube. I'm glad you're watching this video, thank you very much. There's also a ton of information on websites like bassresource.com. You can watch and read so much in a year and not get it all. There's just so much out there. But you've got to get out on the water and apply it.

That information will stick in your brain a lot better if you get out there and try it and use it and catch fish on it. But even more so, there's things on the water that you have to learn that you can't be taught. I can't tell you how to feel a bite. Okay? Is that a stick? Is that a log? Is that a weed? Is that a bite? Only with experience are you going to be able to tell that.

You know, bed fishing for bass is learning the characteristics and the movements of a bass and where they go and how to understand how they're reacting to your lure. Experience is going to tell you that.

How to skip a bait under a dock or how to flip and pitch and so on and so forth. There's so much that you have to just do on the water and teach yourself that you got to get out from behind that computer screen.

So you don't have to plan out a whole weekend or just a day. You can just go for a couple hours after work or something like that. But as long as you get on the water, it's going to accelerate your learning curve that much more.

The next tip, get organized. You got to organize your tackle. The key thing about this is if your tackle is all organized, then you know where it is, you know how to get to it effectively and quickly, and how much you have of what, your inventory. Okay?

A lot of us, you know, we get our favorite plastic, we're out there fishing, and next thing you know, we've run out of that plastic because the fish have all tore it up. And that's, you know, now what? Right. Now what bait do I use?

That cuts down your confidence. Or if you're digging around trying to find a lure and you can't find it and you're wasting time on the water, digging around all your tackle, trying to find stuff that, cuts down on confidence. You feel like you've got to hurry up. You might miss a knot or something like that.

Being organized really helps in your thinking process and helps so you'd focus just on fishing, and it keeps that and maintains that focus, that confidence level. And that is critical to your success. So make sure everything's all ready to go when you go fishing. So you don't have to fuss with that stuff when you're on the water.

There we go. You mist them with a spinnerbait, follow up with a soft plastic stick bait. Come here, you. You're not going anywhere. I got you good. There we go. There's some moss in your face, but that'll work. That's all you got. Look at it, man. Look at this little gut. This guy is not a big, huge dude, but look at this gut he's got on him. Yeah. He's feeding up pretty good. He hit the spinnerbait but he missed it. So follow it up with a soft plastic stick bait and, pow, that works. Thank you, buddy. All right.

And then the last one I want to tell you about is pass it on. Pass on your knowledge to somebody else. Teaching somebody how to fish really teaches you more information. It really does.

When I was teaching my wife how to fish, she had never bass fished before. She'd always fish for salmon up in Alaska. And teaching her how to fish, it brought up a lot of the details and stuff that I had kind of set aside or let's sit in the back burner or I haven't thought about before or maybe dismissed. It brought all of that to the forefront and made me focus more on my, you know, paying attention to those details and on my fishing.

But also, she asked a lot of questions that I hadn't considered before. And I had to go out and find the answers to that. Or some of the questions she had asked made me realize I had some blind spots that I wasn't aware of. And so teaching people how to fish makes you a better angler.

You'll end up learning more. Even though you didn't think so, but you end up learning a lot, what you need to know and what you don't know. You figure out what you don't know. It's really important to pass it on.

Plus, you know, hey, you get yourself a new buddy or a new friend, or, you know, watching somebody learn how to fish and seeing them catch that first fish, man, there's nothing like it, man. It's so much fun. And like I said before, fishing offers so many facets. Teaching is one of them.

So I hope those tips help. They're going to make you become a lot better angler. For more tips and tricks like this, visit BassResource.com.