Ontario Bass FishingLargemouth & Smallmouth Bass Fishing Techniques
Seven Tricks for Improving Your Bassin’ Results
Bass fishing is a game of highs and lows. Going from banner days on the water to empty live wells the next is a fact of life when chasing these challenging adversaries. There are, however, a number of tricks that can improve and elevate your bassin’ game to the next level. Test these out on your next trip to the lake and watch your success jump in leaps and bounds. (With the Fishing Shows upon us, it might be the perfect time to pick up some of these items in anticipation of the coming season…)
#1. Bring a Map
Topographic and hydrographic maps can do wonders for your bass productivity. Fishing blindly on the water is a thing of the past, and these maps are the current key to your underwater view of the lake. Maps can help in pinpointing productive areas of the lake long before you set foot on the boat ramp, and can narrow down feasible spots in order to make your fishing less time-consuming. Marking or highlighting humps, shallow flats, spawning areas and breaklines will enable you to quickly run to these spots and figure patterns out – a definite advantage in helping you catch more and bigger fish.
#2. Push Your Way Through
Getting into shallow water when targeting bass can oftentimes be a real problem. Trolling motors can choke up with weeds and muck, and running the big motor can be a real risk. Carrying a “push-pole” in your boat can be the answer to your prayers – and will help you discover those previously out-of-reach places. Push-poles are telescopic rods that have duck-shaped feet on the bottom that literally allow an angler to push his boat through and around shallow water. These poles are also dynamite in reducing noise when traversing through the thick salad – something the trolling motor is quite inept at doing. Try pushing your way into uncharted water during your next outing, and discover the hidden bass that you’ve been missing.
#3. Mark That Spot
How many times have you found a productive bass spot, only to drift or be blown off it, ultimately losing it in the end? This can be a frustrating occurrence to endure, but the remedy can be had for less than ten dollars. Marker buoys are an ideal apparatus that allows an angler to mark a key spot and remain in direct contact with it. Dropping a marker on a hump, point or weedline will help you stay on top of your underwater honey-hole, meaning more fish due to this innovative and simple beacon of the water.
#4. Tools of the Trade
Much the same way a golfer needs a variety of clubs when hitting the links, a bass angler needs an equal amount of rods and reels when scouring the lake. Trying to use one rod for different techniques and applications can be extremely frustrating, and will certainly equate to less fish in the well.
Choose a minimum of four rods to cover a wide range of tactics, (flipping rod, medium-heavy baitcasting rod, medium spinning rod and a medium baitcast rod,) and learn to use each for different tactics. Throwing a spinnerbait or buzzbait on the medium-heavy rod, a tube on the spinning and a Pop’R on the medium set-up is a step in the right direction, and will enable you to face different cover and water variables with the right equipment. Matching the rod and reel to the task at hand will lead to easier fishing and bigger stringers.
#5. Pass the Bait Bucket….
When conditions become tough and the bass seem to have a severe case of lockjaw, a switch to “Mother Nature’s bait” may be the answer to your prayers. Live bait has a place in the bass anglers arsenal, and can be hard to beat when artificials are striking out. Minnows, worms, frogs and crawfish are all dynamite bucketmouth baits, and can turn a frustrating day into an unforgettable one. A variety of hooks, floats and weights are all it takes to get in on the action.
#6. Squirt Some Scent
Largemouth bass have a keen sense of smell and taste, and can often be fooled more easily by adding scent to your artificial baits. Scent works two-fold – it attracts bass and it causes them to strike and hold on. If your plastic worm or tube tastes good to Mr. Bucketmouth, the likelihood of him dropping or spitting out your bait before you drive the hook home will be lessened. Choose a bait to match the natural prey in the water you fish, be it crayfish or minnow, or experiment with one of the garlic of anise based scents to see which works best.
#7. Keep a Log
Keeping a journal or log of your day on the water can be one of the best ways to improve your catching prowess. By marking down weather conditions, the time of day a fish struck, what lure it was caught on and the area of the lake it happened will enable you to adjust your tactics and techniques for future days on the water. By patterning the largemouth bass on your lake, you will begin to see what works best and when, and can compensate when faced with the same conditions. My log has been a great help in fishing tournaments as it enables you to shorten the learning curve and improve your chances for success.
Bass fishing can be a tough game to play, but it can also be easy when everything falls in place. Having the right knowledge and adapting to new techniques is part and parcel of winning the bassin’ game.
by Justin Hoffman