Over the last year, more and more people have been turning to the outdoors for new forms of adventure and excitement. The popularity of fishing has grown exponentially and there is no shortage of lakes, rivers, and coastal waters in the United States. If you’re one of these new anglers who is totally new to the sport of fishing, the sport as a whole might seem a bit overwhelming at first. Many anglers are fortunate enough to have a close friend or family member help bring them around when it comes to fishing. There are several different aspects of fishing you’ll need to pay close attention to in order to be successful. If you’re interested in getting started in fishing, this article will serve as a helpful guide as it outlines 10 of the most important bass fishing tips for beginners.
10 Bass Fishing Tips for Beginners
It can be very enticing to see photos of giant trophy game fish and want to go straight into the sport hoping to catch something of similar size. Experienced anglers will tell you that, in order to catch a trophy fish of any species, it takes a good amount of skill and a lot of luck combined. Some anglers may fish for years without catching a fish that’s considered as being close to ‘trophy’ size.
Your best strategy will be to start out targeting small, easy-to-catch game fish. The many lakes and rivers that run throughout America are often teeming with bluegill, bass, crappie, and many other common species. These fish can grow to large sizes, but the young, smaller ones can be caught very easily using the right combination of strategy and tackle.
Going after the larger species of fish will require you to use larger gear and tackle, which is much more costly than the average ultralight rod and reel combo. In order to get more acquainted with fish behavior and the basics of the sport, it’s very important that you start out going after small fish and work your way up to the large, trophy variety.
Get a Fishing License
Some of the best bass fishing tips have nothing to do with any technique or lure, but are sure to save you a headache or wasted time on the water. Many beginner anglers often don’t take others seriously when they tell them to get a fishing license. Even if you only plan to try your luck at fishing in a small pond near your home, you’ll need to do it legally. This means you’ll have to purchase a fishing license and also obtain any other stamps or other regulatory measures related to the species of fish you’re going after.
Having to purchase a fishing license might seem like an inconvenience, but it actually increases the quality of the sport of fishing in a lot of ways. A fishing license is usually relatively inexpensive (less than $20) in your home state and the money you invest in the license will be used to pay for a number of state-provided measures related to the sport.
A license will be more expensive if you’re fishing in a different state than the one you live in. There are also many other options offered by states such as one-day or three-day fishing licenses or even a lifetime license. Regardless of the particular license you will need to get, be sure to purchase it before you leave to go fishing.
Understand Your Rod and Reel
If you purchase your rod and reel online, be sure to read as much material as you can about how to properly use the rod, as well as how to use all of its different features. Thanks to innovations in online websites and video platforms, we now have a plethora of informative videos and articles that teach you virtually everything you could want to learn about fishing.
Before you purchase a rod and reel, be sure that it will be effective at catching the species of fish you’re going to be targeting. If you’re going fishing in saltwater, you’ll also want to make sure your rod and reel are saltwater-rated and feature corrosion-resistant technology that will guard against the damage that can be caused by saltwater.
There are three main types of fishing rod and reel combos currently on the market: spincast, spinning reel, and baitcasting reel. If you’re a beginner, we strongly recommend going with either a spincast or spinning reel because a baitcasting reel is very difficult to get the hang of and can result in massive amounts of tangled fishing line that will ruin your trip.
It’s also crucial that you pay attention to your reel’s drag and understand how to adjust this feature on the fly when you have a fish on the end of your line. Having the drag set too low will result in you having to work overtime to reel in your catch. You will want to set the drag just tight enough to let the fish pull off some line when it dives and makes hard runs away from your position without breaking your line.
Practice Good Fishing Etiquette
Most beginner anglers are largely unaware of the proper etiquette that’s expected of anyone fishing. This etiquette relates to your fellow anglers, as well as the natural beauty of the waterway you’re fishing at.
Be sure to give other anglers plenty of space when fishing and don’t crowd them. It’s usually acceptable on most public lakes to remain about 50 feet apart so you don’t risk getting your line tangled with theirs. It’s also a good idea to be as quiet as possible since making too much noise will spook fish out of an area and work against you in the long run.
Another important thing to remember is to pick up any and all trash you have and take it out with you. Nothing will ruin a good fishing spot faster than having trash pile up that other anglers leave behind. If you plan to keep any fish, be sure that you’re not keeping any more than is allowed in one single day. Each state has its own regulations regarding the size and the number of fish you’re allowed to keep.
Match the Hatch
Once you’ve purchased your license and rod and reel combo, you’re ready to start narrowing down your list of gear and getting the kind of lures you’ll need. There is a common saying among anglers that originated from fly fishing many years ago: match the hatch. This simply means that you should choose a bait that will look like and mimic the movements of the type of creature your chosen fish will bite.
Remember to start out with smaller lures since larger ones are intended for larger fish. In order to properly select the right kind of lure, you’ll need to do a good amount of research on the particular type of fish you want to catch. Thankfully, you have access to thousands of free articles and videos online that will help you along the way.
Keep Safety in Mind
Safety is paramount, and as such makes it one of the most important bass fishing tips you should focus on every time you cast. Like any other outdoor activity, you’ll want to take the appropriate measures to make sure you’re staying safe on the water. This means you’ll want to make sure you’re using all the gear and equipment in a safe and proper manner. It’s also crucial that you pay careful attention to your surroundings while casting your lure as the sharp hooks can severely injure you or anyone around you.
Be sure to pack items like bug spray and sunscreen if you plan to be fishing for an extended period of time. It’s also a good idea to bring along plenty of water and snacks that make sure you stay hydrated. This is especially important if you’re fishing in warm weather.
If you’re not able to swim, it’s crucial that you wear a life vest or life jacket anytime you’re on or near the water. It can be very easy to slip and fall into the water and suffer a head injury, which will render you incapacitated and unable to swim. This is how many drownings occur each year in the United States and wearing a life vest is one sure way to prevent such events.
Learn How to Tie Fishing Knots
One of the most important bass fishing tips we can give you, you’ll have to learn how to tie your fishing lures using the fishing line you’ve chosen or else you’ll lose your biggest fish with regularity. There are a huge number of different types of knots you could use, but most anglers only use a select few when it comes to fishing. It’s a good idea to watch a number of videos that give a tutorial on how to tie certain types of knots that are used in fishing and to practice these knots at home before you go fishing.
Certain knots are recommended to be used with specific types of lures. Most anglers might even use one single type of knot to tie on their lure, but we encourage you to use the ones you feel most comfortable with starting out. Learning and utilizing new knots are one of the many things you can do as you become more familiar with the sport of fishing.
Get Your Colors Right
One of the most misunderstood aspects of fishing is which type of color to use depending on the water conditions, weather, and other factors. Most beginner anglers don’t have much of an understanding when it comes to which one they should use, but there’s a very important rule of thumb you can follow when it comes to selecting the type of color lure to use.
For water that’s especially dark and murky, you’ll want to use lures that are bright in color. This can be bright yellows and reds or any other color. Using these colors helps fish see the lure better in the dark water and be enticed to bite it. If you’re fishing at night, you’ll actually want to use black lures since fish won’t be relying on their sense of sight to find their next meal.
For very clear water, it’s a good idea to use lures that are more natural in color. This means using colors that more closely resemble an actual bait fish or other type of prey fish will be looking for. It’s also good to use fluorocarbon line when fishing in clear water since fish are less likely to see this type of line underwater.
Fish Early or Late
When it comes to fishing, most beginner anglers wonder what fish behavior is like throughout the day. You might be surprised to learn that fish are much like humans when it comes to the desire to avoid uncomfortable conditions like excessive heat or sunlight. Most fish in freshwater lakes will stick to shaded areas of the lake during the midday heat when the sun is especially bright.
Fish will be most active during the early morning or late evening hours since they use the changing levels of sunlight to ambush their prey from the shadows. This means you’ll have much better luck if you plan to fish in the early morning or late evening. It’s also a good strategy to avoid the heat and stay cool while fishing since the sun and heat isn’t as harsh in low-light conditions.
Night fishing is another ideal time if you’re fishing in the summer. During these few warm months, most fish will be much more active after dark since the water has cooled down and they’re able to avoid sunlight. Remember, if you plan to fish at night, be sure to use very dark or black-colored lures since fish will be relying on their sense of smell and feel instead of sight.
Be Patient and Have Fun!
Our last in the series of beginner bass fishing tips, but certainly not the least, patience is the name of the game when it comes to fishing. Sooner or later, you’re likely to hear the joke that the sport is called ‘fishing’ and not ‘catching’ for a good reason. There will be some days when you simply can’t seem to get as much as one little bite. Don’t worry, even the best of professional anglers have days when the fish are simply not biting.
It’s important that you focus more on the fun you’re having as you enjoy nature instead of placing too much value on catching fish. Most skilled anglers view the sport as a way to get out and enjoy the outdoors while catching fish is just an added bonus.
Bonus Bass Fishing Tips
To finish it off with a bonus on our top 1o bass fishing tips, be sure to go fishing without any major expectations as to the number of fish you’ll catch, or if you’ll catch anything at all. This will ensure that you focus more on enjoying the opportunity to be outside in nature and aren’t too let down on the occasional trip that isn’t successful!