Beginner's Guide to Bass Fishing: Essential Gear and Techniques

How-To Fishing Videos
Embark on your bass fishing journey with confidence with this comprehensive guide designed for beginners. Discover the essential gear and practical techniques to avoid common mistakes, save money, and start catching fish immediately. Get tips on fishing lures effectively, including techniques for crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and plastic worms. Plus, find out why small lakes and ponds are ideal starting points. Whether you're transitioning from other fishing styles or starting anew, this video provides the knowledge and tips to make your bass fishing experience enjoyable and successful.

All right. So you wanna get into bass fishing, and you wanna learn how, and you want to make sure that you don't make a lot of mistakes and spend a lot of money, and you wanna start catching fish right away. I mean, I get all that, right? I hear that all the time. So, let's dive into really how to get just started into bass fishing, what you need, and how you can start catching fish right away.

First of all, let's talk about the gear. A lot of anglers that want to get into bass fishing are not new to fishing. They've actually been fishing for trout, or crappie, or perch, or other species. A lot of times, the gear that you have for other species aren't going to work as well for bass. Like for example, those ones that I just mentioned, they have softer mouths. And so when the fish bites, they automatically set the hook and you need a limber rod when you're reeling the fish back so you don't rip the hook out of their mouths.

Bass, they're polar opposites. Their jaws are real bony. They've got a lot of cartilage in them. And when the fish strikes, you need to set the hook. You need to embed that hook into his mouth. You can't just let them bite it and start reeling in, because they'll just open their mouth and let go. So, you need a rod that's got that hook setting power, and then to be able to fight the fish as you bring them back to you. So, my recommendation is to have a seven-foot, one-inch, medium-heavy, fast-action rod. That's got the backbone you need to set the hook. It's got the length and the leverage to be able to fight the fish and also enables you to cast the majority of lures out there.

It's kind of the jack-of-all-trades rod. Every bass angler has a seven-foot one, medium-heavy power, fast-action rod in their arsenal. I recommend starting off with spinning rods. Spinning gear is a lot easier to learn than baitcasting. And just an aside, casting, that's something you can learn to do off the water. You can learn to do it in your backyard, you can do it at a park. It's great to practice that when you're not fishing. So, when you're fishing, you're not practicing casting, you're practicing catching fish, right? So, just something to keep in mind. So, spinning is a lot easier to learn how to cast than baitcasting outfit. It also is less expensive, and there's some great rod and reel combos out there for, you know, 150 bucks or less, and it can get you out on the water.

The line I would go with 10-pound line, starting off with mono line. Monofilament's a great line to start off with, as a beginner. It's inexpensive. It's the line that used to be available all the time. Nobody else... You didn't fish any other kinda line back in the day and it's still good today. There's nothing wrong with it. And plus, if you get it tangled, and you break off, you lose a lot of line, or you get snarls in your reel, and you have to replace the line, you're not out an arm and a leg. So, start off with that, later on, you can move up and start experimenting with fluorocarbon and braid line as your budget allows.

For baits, it's real straightforward guys. I know there's a ton of baits out there, and it's confusing, so I'm gonna whittle it down to you at the very basics. Crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and plastic worms.

For crankbaits, let's make it simple. There's a whole plethora of choices out there. I want you to get two crankbaits. One's gonna be a shallow diver and the other one's gonna be a medium diver. The shallow diver, meaning it doesn't go any deeper than four-feet deep. And the medium diver doesn't go any deeper than 12 feet deep. And you're gonna get those two crankbaits, each of them in two colors. One's gonna be a shad, like a Tennessee Shad color, or a sexy shad. And the other color is going to be a natural baitfish color, such as a perch pattern, or a blue gill, or a bream color. That's it.

You'll have four crankbaits, but that's gonna cover the majority of the water column depth that most of the fish are at with natural baitfish-looking color. So, you're imitating a baitfish. Spinnerbaits, it's even easier. You're gonna want two spinnerbaits. Both of them are gonna be three-eighth ounce. Both of them are going to be white. Both of them are going to have gold blades. The only difference is, one's gonna be a double willow leaf blade and the other one's gonna be a Colorado Indiana bullet mix. I would recommend getting Strike King baits or Mann's. Both of those are very well made. They've been around the market for decades, they're quality, and you don't get around to stay in the market for that long in this industry if you make crap stuff, just to be honest with you. So, they stood the test of time. Excellent brands to purchase from.

For the plastics, there's a plethora of soft plastic baits out there in every shape and size, and color that's imaginable. Very confusing. Stick with the basic ribbon tail worm. It's been around since the '70s and has been catching fish ever since. Why? It's just so natural. It's very appealing. The fish will bite it time and time again. They just don't get used to it, and then start to avoid it. I would get a six-and-a-half-inch ribbon tail worm. Big Bite Baits makes one called the B2 Worm, that's my favorite. And just get in two colors. That's it. Green pumpkin and watermelon red seed, those two colors. You can use green pumpkin in murky water to dingy water. And if you have really clear water, then you use the watermelon red seed. And that's not a hard rule. Sometimes you can interchange them, and don't be afraid to experiment. There's no wrong here. But those are the two colors that are the most popular for a good reason. They catch fish time and time again. So, don't waste your money in buying a whole bunch of other colors to begin with. Just start with those basic lures and those colors, and you're good to go. Now, where should you go fish, and how do you find these fish?

I recommend starting off on small lakes and ponds for a couple of reasons. First of all, they usually don't have as much pressure unless they're an urban pond in an urban setting. But a lot of times, the fish there are smaller and smaller bass are more up to bite. They're very eager to bite. Sometimes they're overly eager. I mean, they bite bigger lures than them sometimes. But that's important in the beginning stages because getting the confidence in catching fish, learning what the bite feels like, you have to understand the bite is really pretty much the same regardless of fish size. So, being able to detect that bite is important. And then that experience when you hook a fish and you bring them to the boat, the way they fight, learning what they're gonna do really helps. Even largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fight differently.

Getting that experience under your belt is something you're gonna lean on when you catch the bigger fish. So, going to an area that has a population of smaller bass is really gonna ramp up your learning curve very quickly. Now, where do you find these fish? Bass are not like trout, where trout, they roam in schools, and they're going all over the lake, and you wait for them to come by. Bass are different. Bass, they lie and wait. They're ambush predators. They hide in things and wait for baitfish to come by, and they jump out and ambush them and eat them. So, you wanna look for areas where bass can hide. These are gonna be weed lines, under docks, rock piles, sunken logs, stumps, boulders, anything where they can suck up to, to kind of conceal themselves, and then dart out and attack unsuspecting prey.

Kind of...think of it as a cat. Cats like to do that too. If you're playing with a cat with a string, they like to hide under things and then they'll dart out and attack whatever you're playing with. So, you have to go after the bass. You need to go cast to those areas where they're going to lie and wait. Ideally, you want to cast just past that target and bring it by them just like an unsuspecting baitfish would be. Not on top of the target because you might spook the fish. It's kinda like throwing a rock at them then and you're gonna spook them. So, accuracy is more important than distance when it comes to bass fishing. I'm gonna say that again. Accuracy is more important than distance. With bass fishing, it's all about getting that lure in the right place. So, you bring the lure at the right angle, right where the fish are, so you can get bit, not how far out you can get your bait. So, that's really important when you're learning how to cast. So, let's talk about how to fish these lures I just mentioned. Let's start with the crankbaits. Now, with crankbaits, you can cast them out, wind them back in on a regular, you know, medium-speed retrieve, and catch a lot of fish doing that. And that's a great way to start off, just doing that.

I would reel it back at a slower speed because you tend to get more bites at that speed. But sometimes the bass will want it really fast. They want a reaction bite. They like to chase something down, or they will just... You bring them by them so quick. They've gotta, you know, either bite it now or let it go by, and you don't give them a chance to really examine the lure. So, sometimes bringing it back really fast elicits a bite. You have to play with that. There's no set way of doing it. And I'm telling you one day they may want it slow, and another day they may want it fast. So, you have to experiment every day to figure out what they want. But also keep in mind, you're trying to mimic a baitfish. And a lot of baitfish don't swim in a straight line.

They stop, they pause, they dart, they look around. So, sometimes that's a better way of catching them, just reeling and giving a pause. And reel some more, and then pause. And vary how long that pause is, and how long you reel before you make a pause, just make it look erratic. Sometimes giving a quick pop with your rod just to make it dart erratically all of a sudden will elicit a bite, or using the rod, just lift up on the rod, and then reel back down and lift up on the rod. Gives that bait kind of an erratic and pausing motion, rising up in depth and going back down. Things like that often trigger a bite. One of the things I found out when I was fishing in a small lake early on, I don't even know how I came across doing this, but I grabbed a deep-diving crankbait or a deeper-diving crankbait, and I had just fished this lily pad field, and I came up to the edge of the field and I threw out.

Now, I remember what happened. I accidentally... I didn't realize what... I didn't look what I had cast on. I thought it was a shallow-diving crankbait. I threw right up to the shoreline and started to reel back in. And this thing dug into the ground, and just dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig. I'm like, "Oh, I got the wrong crankbait on." So, I sped up and it just did this on the bottom. And right out from that lily pad field that I had just fished came out a four-pounder and walloped it. He just attacked it. So, another great way to fish crankbaits is to bounce it off of objects. If you find rocks or stumps, or maybe off a dock piling, you run the risk of snagging it because they've got treble hooks and you might lose your lure.

So, be wary of that. But if you can bounce it off of objects to make it just suddenly bounce erratically, that can often trigger a bite. So, those are some tips fishing crankbaits.

Spinnerbaits, they're even easier to fish. You can cast and wind them in. There's really... You can burn them back so they just bulge to the surface. The most common way is to reel them back at a speed where you can still see them, deep enough in the water where you almost can't see them, but you can still see them. That's typically the best way to fish them as far as if you're learning, learning how to fish the spinnerbait.

You can also slow roll them, which means just very slow on the bottom, bumping along the bottom. The nice thing about spinnerbaits is that they're really weedless. They got that big wire guard on them so you can throw them in the lily pads and in the weeds, kind of drill them whatnot. And for the most part, they'll come out without snagging, and you can bounce it off those objects I just mentioned without fear of getting hung up. Speaking of getting hung up, don't get hung up on how they look. I know spinnerbaits don't look like anything natural in a lake at all. They don't resemble anything. They look weird. Why would a bass hit this piece of hardware? Get over it. Seriously, forget about it. Bass loves spinnerbaits. They've been around for decades, and I've caught hundreds if not thousands of bass on spinnerbaits.

It's one of my favorite lures, they just attack it. They really do. And everybody can talk about what it's supposed to resemble in the water. I don't care. Bass love it. They hit it, throw them, forget about what they look like, just throw them. Trust me, you're gonna catch a lot of fish on them.

The last bait is the plastic worms. What you wanna do is with the six-and-a-half-inch worms, get two different bullet sinkers, one's a quarter-ounce, the other's an eighth-ounce. The eighth-ounce is the one you're gonna use the most because you want a slower fall. And the eighth ounce will get that tail moving. It's perfect for fish in most conditions. When you'll use a quarter-ounce it's when you're throwing it in heavier weeds and cover where it might not sink through and get through the cover. It may just sit on the top.

That's when you want to use that quarter-ounce, or when it's really windy. When that line gets a bow in it, and now it's kind of hard to detect the bite, using a heavier sinker enables you to pull up on that line and tighten it up a little bit more and get a little bit better feel. The way you fish a plastic worm, most of the bites happen on the fall while the worm is falling through the water column. So, that's what you wanna do, cast it out and let it fall. Again, the slower the fall, the more bites you'll get. Let it sit on the bottom for a count of two to five seconds, and lift up on the rod tip, and let it flutter back down. Reel up the slack as it falls back down and wait for that bite.

You gotta watch for the line to jump. Sometimes you'll feel the bite, and the bite is going to vary. If you got a perch or a bream, or something like that attacking it, you'll feel this little like shaking on the end of your line. That's not a bass, that's a small fish. And you'll learn, you'll make... Swings are free. Hook sets are free. Set the hook if you think it's a fish. But after a while, you begin to realize what is a bream or a perch bite versus a bass. A bass, sometimes they grab and they just swim away, and you just feel heavy. It just got heavier. You're used to fishing this... How much the weight of the lure is, and it'll feel a little bit heavier. Or sometimes you'll feel a tug tug at the end of the line.

There's no set way I can tell you as far as when to set the hook. Sometimes the bass will grab it and suck the whole thing in and take off with it. And you set the hook right away and you got them. Other times they'll pick up the tail and then they'll swim off with it, and you'll feel the tug, and then they'll open the mouth and grab the rest of it. And if you set the hook when you first feel them, you come back with a broken worm because they just had the tail and you rip the tail off. Days are like that. They change, they vary. And sometimes if you wait too long because you wanna wait for that second bite, sometimes they swallow it. Now, you got the hook down on their throat. You run that risk with these baits.

You just have to learn that day, are they really attacking them? Or if they're being a little more tepid and need a little bit more time before you set the hook. But be wary of that. It's not the same every time when you go fishing, it does change. That's enough with these lures. That's enough for you to go out with all the tips I just gave you and catch a bunch of fish, and really get into bass fishing before you spend more money on more equipment. Hope that helps. For more tip... Wait a second, wait a second. Hold on. If you watched this video this long, then you'll be sure to wanna watch one of these two videos. Now, this one, this is the one that I recommend. I handpicked it for you. I think this is the one you should watch next. This is the one that YouTube thinks you should watch next. Either way, I'm in both. So, I'll see you in a few seconds.