There are lots of basic mistakes that people make when fishing for bass such as being too noisy and impatient, not knowing how to best use and maintain the gear they have, and preparing improperly for some situations. The next time you go on the water in your small fishing canoe, make sure you keep our tips in mind.
Making mistakes while out on the water is not something to be ashamed of, especially if you are not a professional angler. However, if you do want to fish competitively and catch more fish, our list of the top 5 mistakes anglers seldom do when fishing for bass will certainly prove itself rather useful.
1. Fishing too fast and noisily
There is a reason why fishing is known as a hobby that entails a lot of waiting, and while it may seem tempting to fish your lure quickly after waiting for minutes on end for the bass to bite, this is, in fact, one of the biggest mistakes bass anglers make.
While it is true that you can get a reaction strike by pulling the lure fast if you are lucky, and some lures do require a fast retrieve, in the vast majority of fishing situations you are better off by simply being patient and slow.
A fast retrieve can generate short strikes and pulling the lure too quickly without letting it sit or sink long enough can easily spook any interested bass in the area. Furthermore, you shouldn’t overwork your lure; a small nudge does not necessarily mean that the bass is in the hook since these fish like to see and inspect the bait first.
You will also need to learn how to be quiet since bass can hear very well and sound waves can travel through water just as well as they do through air. In fact, sound travels over four times faster in water; it gets amplified and reaches further distances due to the denser medium.
Many anglers make the mistake of talking, laughing, knocking a paddle, or banging the boat while fishing and spooking the bass they may not even have been aware were around. If you’re 100% focused on fishing and less so on chatting, you will be rewarded with useful clues only sharp-eyed anglers can see.
Birds diving, shad dimpling the surface, buzzing of flies over the water or a conglomeration of herons can all be a dead giveaway as to where the bite is best. If you are too focused on your phone or talking with your buddies, you might miss these subtle clues that can help maximize your catch.
2. Not knowing how to select the lures and hooks
Knowing how to handle the lures and hooks is also very important and most novice anglers make many mistakes that involve these two essential types of fishing tackle. With that said, there is no need to worry because most of these errors are very easy to correct.
Many fishers find it easier to put the blame on the lure when they are not getting a fish, even in situations where it is obvious that is not true. In most cases, it’s not that the bass does not want your lure but rather that the action of the rod, noise, casting accuracy, or fishing location is slowing you down.
Instead of trying to correct the other issues, most amateur anglers assume that the lure is to blame and decide to switch it with something else in the hopes that the new one will prove more successful.
In fact, constantly switching lures will not increase your chances of catching bass, but reduce them significantly since your fishing time with a line in the water will be greatly reduced.
Using the right hook size is also important and quite easy to address. Bigger is not better in this case and when fishing for bass, almost no hook is too small. You have bigger chances of making the bait look unnatural if you use a big hook. Bass are not stupid – if they notice the hook then they will know that something is not right and they won’t come back for your bait.
You can catch four to five-pound bass while using a size #1 hook, and if you are not familiar with hook sizes there are lots of useful resources online. You can also go to your local tackle shop and ask for help there since getting a hands-on approach will help you get a better understanding of the various hook sizes and the situations in which they should be used.
Setting the hook is also something that anglers dread and there is no surprise to see that many don’t do it correctly. A lot about setting the hook depends on what line you are using, how much of it is out and what hook you’re using.
Most anglers set hooks aggressively because they use a line that stretches such as monofilament and there is a lot of it out. If you’re using line that stretches, an aggressive hook setting can be useful. On the other hand, when using a static line such as fluorocarbon or braid, an aggressive hook setting action should be avoided unless you want to hurt the fish.
3. Using all-purpose line
When the time comes to choose the line, many anglers opt to go with an option that can cover all situations since it sounds better than to carry spare spools on the water or to change the line every time. Once you look at it from this perspective, the decision makes sense, but by doing this, anglers put themselves at a major disadvantage.
There is no single line that can provide you with the best performance for all situations since one that is too thin will increase your break-offs while a line that is too thick will impact the action that you can give to your lure.
Different types of lines are also needed depending on the type of lure you use. For example, a deep-diving lure will work better with a sinking line such as fluorocarbon while a topwater line can benefit from line that offers more buoyancy such as braid.
If this sounds like too much for you to consider, and you still don’t like the idea of changing your line based on the lure, at the very least you should use an appropriate leader size for the fish that you are going to catch.
4. Not maintaining the fishing gear
Once you come back from a fishing adventure, you should take the time to take care of your gear instead of throwing them all in the garage until the next trip. If you take the time to maintain your gear, it will not only last longer but it will also give you the best performance every time you use it.
When fishing in saltwater, you should rinse off the reels and lures in order to prevent rust. You can also take the reel apart and re-grease and lube the inner components after each use if you can spare the time since that will keep it smooth and working properly.
Hooks will also need to be kept clean to prevent rust and because they can lose their sharpness, you will need to test them by seeing if they can grab your fingernails when pulling at a 45 degree angle. If they can’t, you will need to sharpen them using a hook sharpener.
The line will also need to be maintained by using a line conditioner to make it last for longer. You will also need to keep your eyes out for abrasions or nicks and you can re-spool it in reverse if you want to extend the lifespan of the fishing line even further.
5. Not thinking seasonally
It’s not uncommon for anglers to rely entirely on their memory when fishing, because for many that is the natural thing to do since we remember fondly of the places we’ve had the most success in the past which makes us more compelled to visit them again.
The best spot in the spring can be barren in the fall, and it is important to schedule your fishing trips based on the season and on what the bass are doing at that moment rather than using the same spot or technique you’ve used last month.