Sight Fishing For Bass

How-To Fishing Videos
Here's how to sight fish for cruising fish when they're up shallow. This is not a bed fishing video. Learn tricks to trigger cruising fish into biting your bait!

Hey folks. Glenn May here with I'm on Potholes Reservoir here in Washington State. Super clear water. Here in the springtime and I'm sight fishing. I'm in super shallow water, let me tell you what I'm doing here. I'm watching a fish right now. I'm using a little tube jig. Unobtrusive, but the main reason I'm using a tube jig, it's small, it's green pumpkin so it's a natural color and the hook is towards the back, so if a fish decides to just mouth it, I can still get him.

A lot of times when they're sight fishing they only pick up the back end. This fish over here, I can see him cruising around between these bushes. So what I'm going to do, when you're sight fishing, never throw at the fish. Never do that because you'll spook him. What you want to do is throw it five to ten feet in front of him. So in this instance he's going off over to the left, I'm gonna see if he gets within casting range here, because he's been wandering around. What I'm gonna do is cast in an area where he's heading. I'm about ten, 15 feet ahead of him.

And he just stopped. And now I'll give a little twitch and see if I can't get his attention. Here he comes. He's looking at it, looking at the bait, I'm just going to let it sit for a second and then give it a little pop, see if I can't get his attention. Okay he stopped, he's looking at it now. Okay, so this guy is a little skittish. I got a branch hooked up on my line and he saw the branch move and it scared him off. So he's coming around this way. I'm going to throw it back again right in that same spot because I know he's going to come back. Here he comes, as a matter of fact. Look at that, right on cue.

Now I'm going to give it a little twitch. There we go. He's back, he's looking at it again. I got his attention.

What you want to do is not make a lot of movement in the boat. As you can see, I'm remaining really still. Because if you can see them, they can see you. So you don't wanna spook them that way. This guy is a bit skittish. He's swimming all over the place. Let me try again and get in that area.

Another good thing, you need to have a good pair of polarized glasses. A real good pair to be able to see 'em very well. Don't skimp, don't do the real cheap plastic ones. In this case, you're going to want a real good, one that costs over $100. There's some pairs that cost $150, but when you're in a situation like this, you're not, you don't really care how much money you spend on them. The point is you can see underwater really well.

I'm just going to let that bait sit for a minute. Let all the rings go away and let him settle down. Kind of forget that I tossed it out there. He's swimming around in this general area, so when he gets kind of in sight of it I'm going to give it a little twitch. Try to make it a natural motion like a little bait fish or craw fish on the bottom. And he is swimming way over here to the left, so I gotta wait until he gets back in the area he's been kind of swimming in. Let's see if I can't get his attention this way.

Each fish has its own personality and you've got to kind of figure out what it is that's going to trigger him to bite.

All right, so that guy wasn't going to bite but I see another one way over here. So again, casting way out in front of him. And he's going to nose right up to it, and keep on going. Sometimes sight fishing can be frustrating. You can see what they're doing and if you see what they're doing, sometimes when you know a fish is there. I mean, how many times when you're fishing in muddy water or dingy water, visibility is down less than four feet. How many times, how many fish look at your lure and you don't even know it? But when you're fishing in clear water you can see that.

Unfortunately, you see a lot of fish that pass up your offering. So it's equally frustrating, I suppose. This guy ran out of sight. I'm not exactly sure where he went, but I can see Bluegill here.

There's a little dune right here and it's deep on each side. He might have been just crossing over when I saw him. So I'm going to keep going this way where I saw him and maybe I'll come across him. You notice I'm not going really fast because if I see him I don't want to spook him. So that's the other thing when you're sight fishing, you don't want to move too fast.

I have Power-Poles, so I can drop the poles really quick and stop the boat, so I have that advantage. But typically if you're, a lot of times what happens when you're sight fishing, you'll come across the fish and you'll see him, like right there. And what happens is you'll turn that trolling motor around and you'll blow it right on them. So in this instance, I saw him, I threw the Power-Poles down to stop him. So that's when Power-Poles come in really handy. You can stop in an instance.

Just cruising along on this flat and saw this fish. See if I can't do the same thing. He's kind of, it's hard to tell where he's going to go so I'm going to throw way up there.

I'm going to see if I can't get his attention away from me, so he's not looking at me. I got him to stop and kind of look, now he's going to continue on his way.

It's a little too deep for my Power-Poles. So I'm gonna see if I can't move the boat just a little bit. He seems to be locked in this area. He might be thinking about nesting in this area at some point. It's hard to say. As soon as I move this bait out of the way then he comes back over to where he was at. That's really strange. That tells me that he's thinking about nesting over here.

So I threw about four feet in front of him this time and stopped and he's kind of looking this direction and now he's kind of swimming around the other way.

See if I can't get the Power-Poles a little bit deeper. I'm right on edge, at the very edge of a flat. It goes off to about ten feet, very sharply, right on the edge. The front of the boat is only at about a foot and a half. Isn't that amazing?

Oh, he grabbed the tail. I threw past him and brought it right to him. I'm going to do that again. See. Now this is where you try to figure out what their triggers are. What I did is I brought the bait, I threw past him, almost across him and I threw it, I brought it right back to him, and he nipped at it. He didn't get it in his mouth completely, but he just nipped at. Kind of barked at it, is what I call it.

So I'm going to do that again. Let's see if I can't get him to hit it. This time I'm going to bring it right back and almost hit him with it. There we go. Just like that. And that's how you do it. You've got to figure out what the trigger is. That's the whole key. Watch how they react to your bait and that's what it's all about. It's all about figuring what the trigger is for this fish. Look at that. Nice one. He just, right in the roof of the mouth. Boy, he took it good. He has it good. I may have to get my pliers out for this guy. There we go. Got it.

Nice little buck bass. Let him go. But that's the key to sight fishing. Paying attention to how the fish reacts to your bait and then adapting to it to get him to strike. For more tips and tricks like this, visit