Find and Catch Bass Year-Round with Top Bass Anglers
Day 1: Kevin VanDam and Denny Brauer on How to Locate and Catch Bass
Editor’s Note: Professional bass fishermen must catch bass year-round. Here’s what they say about some of their best bass-catching tips.
Kevin VanDam: First Find the Fish
Most anglers spend too-much time checking out a potential fishing spot when they look for bass. When I hunt bass, I won’t spend more than 5 or 10 minutes at a place to see if I can get a bite. When I’m searching for bass and trying to establish a pattern, I don’t want to catch every bass on that spot. I’ll hit a large number of different fishing sites to determine if bass are in that area, what the bass are holding on, and what lures they’ll take. Then I’ll know where to fish, what type of lures to use, and where I can catch the most fish in the shortest time. Once I’ve found bass on several different spots, then I’ll go back to those same areas and fish them thoroughly with various lures to catch all the bass in them.
I believe the faster I fish when I hunt bass, the more bass I’ll find. Once I’ve located the bass, I’ll return to those spots, fish slowly and catch as many bass as possible. If I encounter intense fishing pressure, I’ll watch other anglers to determine how they fish, as well as what lures and what kind of cover they choose to fish. Once I know how other anglers on a lake catch bass, I’ll go back and fish that same water with a different lure and another type of presentation. Often you’ll catch more bass utilizing this technique.
Denny Brauer: Seasons and Weather
If you know the seasonal migration patterns of bass, you can learn where to find bass at any time of the year. Spend the most time in that area each day you fish. For instance, during the wintertime, bass will most likely hold on deep creek channels, river ledges and deep-water cover. In the spring of the year before the spawn, bass will move-up to the first breakline near the spawning region or will hold on cover near the spawning. During the spawning season, bass will move-into shallow water and become very active. After the spawn, bass will go to that first breakline close to the spawning area and move back and forth to the shallow water to feed. In the summer months, you’ll find the bass shallow during the early-morning hours.
Later in the morning, they’ll move to deeper water and hold in even-deeper water during the hottest part of the day. They’ll reverse this pattern in the late afternoon toward dark. When the water cools-down in the fall of the year, the bass will move shallow. If you learn the fish’s seasonal migration patterns, you’ll know where to find the fish throughout most of the year. Pay attention to your surroundings and the changes that occur each day you fish. If you fish on a sunny day and a storm blows-up, think about how that storm will affect the fish, and how you must change your lures and your approach to fishing to catch bass. When storms move onto lakes, bass usually will swim-out from under the cover and closer to the shoreline-away from bridges, stumps and logs and will be more aggressive.