Tokyo Rig

Urban Bass Fishing

Fishing Techniques
Urban bass fishing

Have you ever wondered where all the big bass are?  I have fished numerous rivers, lakes, and streams in search of the lunker of a lifetime.  Something I have discovered in recent years is that some of these lunkers may be right under your nose.  What am I talking about?  I am talking about something I call “Urban Fishing,” which is simply taking advantage of your surroundings to find big bass.  I will be the first to admit that I have looked with envy at the guys in my bass club that have $30K plus boats with all the latest electronics and top end motors to blast them to fishing spots at over 70 mph.  Surely some of you can relate to this statement, “I know I could catch big fish if I only had a top end rig like the other guys have. “   

 Well, the reality is that you may already have a rig that tops out over 70 mph and will get you to big bass much faster than any top end bass boat could ever dream about doing.  That rig would be your car or truck.

Over the past four years I have caught more citation-sized bass by fishing areas that are right around all of us.  Urban Fishing is just that, fishing wherever and whenever you can.  How many times have you driven past that pond or lake and never given it a second thought?  I will tell you that if you like to catch bass there is nothing better than fishing waters that are not pressured and many of the lakes and ponds I am talking about are just that.  Now I know that you may think I am a bit crazy when I say fish in the middle of downtown, but here are a few ideas that may just land you the bass of a lifetime.

Urban bass fishing
  1. Take your wife to the mall.  I have never seen a mall that did not have retention ponds around it.  You will be surprised at the bass in these lakes, and you will be able to say that you like going to the mall which can score big points with your significant other.  Black Friday doesn’t seem quite as black does it, guys?
  2. Always pay attention to your electronics.  Just like on your bass boat, the GPS in your car or truck will point out many lakes ponds and creeks you did not know even existed.
  3. Unless you like hand lining for bass, carry a rod with you at all times.  I have an advantage because I have a pickup truck, but a 2-piece rod fits nicely into everyone’s trunk.  I also find that 6 foot rods often times work best in urban fishing due to the tree limbs and brush you sometimes have to fight through to get to areas and make efficient casts.
  4. Put a compact tackle box in the trunk of your vehicle.  Stock it with basic tackle and soon you will figure out what works in your area.  I also find that carrying an extra spool of line can be important.  One of the by-products of fishing with overhanging branches can be a nasty backlash when you get your lure hung up while casting.
  5. Carry a garbage bag with you at all times.  I can honestly say that many times people will ask me what I am doing.  When I tell them I was picking up trash and doing some fishing they usually are very nice and never stop me from fishing (I will say that you must be respectful and follow all posted signs, especially if fishing on private property.)    It is, however, very important to leave the areas you fish in better condition than when you got there.
  6. It only takes one cast sometimes in urban fishing.  I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a pond or a drainage ditch and pulled over and made one cast and caught a five-pound plus bass.  I never take any body of water for granted, and I always take advantage of the time I have.  If you have twenty minutes before your next presentation, that is more than enough time to land an eight-pounder.
  7. Take a quick picture and then release the ones you catch so you can catch them again the next time you are near the spot.  I usually give them a quick kiss before I toss them back in as a tribute to Jimmy Houston.  You will want to have pictures to document your trophy fish caught. Your friends will be amazed that you caught that citation behind the apartment complex or wherever you landed the lunker.  With cameras on cell phones now it is easy to send a quick picture to your buddies at the moment you catch your monster.
  8. Set goals with your fishing to make it fun.  Last summer I documented something I called “The Streak.”  I caught bass for sixty-five straight days.  It was a challenge that was well documented on my facebook page for the urban fisherman.  It made it more fun to hear the comments from people following the quest for one hundred straight days of bass catching.  You can do the same type of thing to try and catch a fish at all the malls in town or whatever you decide.  The bottom line with it is to have fun.
  9. Lastly, I would tell you to always put safety first.  I love bass fishing as much if not more than the next guy, however, I have not found any bass worth dying over.  When fishing in an urban environment numerous hazards exist such as cars, snakes, bugs, and everything else that goes along with bass fishing.  Please be careful and aware of your surroundings.

I hope that the idea of fishing in the middle of downtown, at the mall, behind your apartment complex, or wherever you can find a body of water has made you aware of the bass fishing opportunities out there.  Don’t feel trapped because you do not have that high dollar bass rig.  Get out and fish no matter where you are.  I am not trying to downplay the idea of tournament fishing or fishing from a bass boat because I certainly love doing that as well.  My goal is to open your eyes to the fact that even if you can’t get out on the lake you can still catch bass and many times they can be quality bass.  So see you out there and the best of luck.


Mitch specializes in fishing in urban settings. He is a tournament fisherman as well and enjoys every aspect of bass fishing. For more information on urban fishing, he can be contacted at or found on his fan page on Facebook at The Urban Fisherman