Water, Weather, Timing and Other Environmental Aspect, Facets and Considerations for Bass Fishing
As mentioned throughout this text so far, there are numerous factors that we often do not consider, and or dismiss, when we first start out, angling for bass. These would include consideration of:
- Water stratification and depths (bass are found at varying levels and knowing where (at which level), to fish for them is paramount); shallow or deep, sometimes both.
As far as water temperatures goes, during a yearly/seasonal cycle, waters move, turn and gets re-oxygenized. As temperatures fall, from deep below and throughout ice forms, floats to the surface, melts and moves down again. Science has provided us with enough evidence that THREE distinct layers from in a body of water – say a lake for example. Deeper/colder, Middle-ground/milder – transitional layer and the top/surface/warmer waters.
Heeding these levels and varying temperatures, and looking oxygen-rich spots are all factors to consider even before heading out. Think the process through. Think like the fish would – ask yourself, where would you go in all likelihood, if you were faced with the same situation – the answer will mostly lead you to where the fish most likely ARE!
A temperature gauge and depth meter can all prepare you better, as an angler, knowledgeable and prepared, to assess the environment, better understand it, learn from it, and use the information you gather and have on hand, due to these readings and instruments, to KNOW or best judge, where the fish will be at!
Depth is a great indicator of what the bass are up to and where they will be most likely found. This will dictate your approach, tackle and how you execute you’re angling skills to land THE NEXT BIG ONE! If you fish at the right level, understanding why the fish are there, on the move, feeding etc., you will increase your odds drastically of getting strikes and hooking your next big catch. It might even be a trophy! The depth is related to water temperature and the optimal comfort zone of the bass – always ask you, what they would prefer on a day like today and then go fish there. Measure with temperature, depth sensors, GPS etc. to establish the ‘pattern’ and depth of the day.
- Temperature – optimal and changing
Most bass species prefer a temperate climate –their metabolism is influenced, if not governed pretty much by the surrounding waters they find themselves in. They can also tolerate quite a wide range of temperatures; therefore we can fish pretty much throughout the year. (60-75 degrees Fahrenheit)/ It is also less widely known that ice-fishermen hook bass at around 32-39.2 degree water temperatures, in deeper waters! When it does get colder, they get somewhat more sluggish, as their environment cools down significantly and bearing this in mind will yield and improve your catch.
Oxygen is also very important to fish. The hotter it gets, the closer they will stay to shore, and to plant-life, which produces oxygen and or where they might catch the occasional breeze. Reading these signals nature provides right, will prepare any angler better to go where the fish are and hook your next BIG ONE. Also look for spots that are not too stagnant and filled with decaying plants, as this might be an oxygen-deprived area with not a large concentration of fish – they need to ‘breathe’ to stay alive too!
- Water conditions: Clarity
Clear and or murky – you will find bass in both! Their behavior and mode of attack will change as they plan how to best expend their energies in the hunt for food, survival etc. Predators by design, they prefer cover and structure and deeper waters. When spawning,) or on very hot days, you will most likely, find them more in the shallows.
Bass always have a ‘back-door’ access to deeper waters. These facts should be able to point you in the general vicinity of where the fish are quite aptly. The male bass is also very protective of the nest/spawn site and will defend it, strike at any perceived threat or intruder. Fishing is no more left up to random, contemplative, reflective trail and error casting.
Now, today, replaced with more a more driven, focused, thought-through, rationalized and analytical competitive approach, that tries to understand habits, patterns, environment, conditions, time of year etc. at times relying on the aid of technology and devices to assist and better your changes of spotting, finding, hooking, retrieving and landing the fish successfully (mostly in deeper waters!). Therefore, it the waters are clear, head for deeper waters as a general rule of thumb.
DO NOT DISTURB signs are hard to post in the water! Always remember that there is some truth to not chasing the fish away and being somewhat careful and quiet around them. The bass particularly uses its whole body as a sounding board. Any surface disturbance, water movement and or displacement will attract their attention – this can in fact help and or hurt your angling hopes and dream.
Rusty, squeaky oars, noisy motors and even the sound of a fast, far cast may interfere and or get their attention. Being aware of any, movement, spotting fish so to speak in their environment, things (water, plants) moving around, can be good indicators. Wearing a good pair of Polaroid sunglasses may also help you ‘see’ better in the bright sunlight and glare, reflections off the surface of the water(s).
- Color, Sunlight, Time of day
Most bass anglers propose dawn and duck to be the best feeding time for the bass – not the height of day or when the sun is at it brightest and the water maybe a degree or two too warm for our fishy friends and when they head for the deep and or cover. It is a matter of appealing to their natural instincts.
They are keen observers and movement and color have been researched in the bass species. Picking presentation of bait, lure that is closest to live or live bait resembles their prey, in other words, will maximize your chances of catching more bass. This does not mean that they will not strike at night for example or at other times during the day – you might just have to adapt and use some specialist techniques to lure them out of hiding a bit!
- Time of year: Seasons and things are a changing!
Surroundings, weather and angling rules change and keep changing. The stage and players do not remain the same and even on the same day, day to day, things will vary. This variety (the spice of life most say) is what keeps most of us guessing, adapting, changing strategy, bait, depth etc. all in the continued hope and pursuit of catching the NEXT BIG ONE.
As to the best time to catch bass – opinions vary greatly on this topic. In some areas, fishing is only allowed after spawning. Spring, summer and fall (with fall being the best for most bigger fish) and even winter some form of bass fishing is available to you, depending on where you are, what the weather conditions are like and what type of year the bass are having (spawning success, health of the body of water they live and thrive in, the eco-system, stocking, pollution etc.) Even ice fishing is possible (more about this under specialty fishing closer to the end of the text).
As pointed out earlier, weather affects behavior and the season and type of water, might all require different approach, equipment and bait and lures/preparation AND presentation.
As an angler, avid bass angler, this will not faze you in any way! On the contrary, it provides you with the opportunity to shift gears, change strategy, tools, refine skills, and learn more about your opponent and its habits. By being alert, aware and observant, you will learn a lot about the fish – it is no longer a passive sport! Windy, low and or high air pressure, water temperature, choppy waves and or surface movement of the water, cloudy skies, with lots of cloud cover, masking the sun, could dictate whether fish will be biting or not, color of plastic worms might be adjusted from blue (on bright days), to black (on cloudy days with not a lot of sun around). Modifying your fishing techniques and adapting to weather patterns, even adjusting your bait/lures, strategy, all bear witness of an alert bass master!
Bass are also sensitive to very bright sunlight, so then you might find them looking for some shady cover and or cooler waters. That knowledge will prepare you well for where to go and look for them. Increasing your odds of finding them too!
- Predatory Nature and creatures of habit – what the fish themselves tell us (or not!)
There predators of the deep are rich in their life cycles, habits and patters. It is their nature after-all. They are somewhat predictable. As hunters, they do certain things, instinctively and as anglers, we capitalize on it. There are lots of facts about the species, worth knowing and key to understanding – the secret to unlocking the success of bass fishing. Thinking like a hunter ourselves and at times like the fish, can increase your odds and success significantly. Being one with nature and its intricate patterns, behavior, balance and quirkiness, allow fisherman to be skilled, precise, well prepared and more successful, rather than leaving it up to eventuality and random chance to secure a bite!
- Preferred habitat and fishing structures
One author likens contour and topographic maps to bass fishermen, like treasure maps to pirates once were. Lines show elevation, depth etc. Get an idea of what the ‘floor’ or bottom of the body of water (like a lake for instance) would look like – it is rarely flat, often characterized by rises and humps, slopes and drop-offs.
Slopes and access-points into deeper water should also yield more frequent, larger hauls and more strikes, as bass prefer to have access to deeper waters and are constantly on the move, hunting and feeding and or defending territory.
- Natural Diet and Menu – the art of enticing fish: creating the right atmosphere/conditions/allure for a strike
Lots have already been said about this topic.
The belief in your ability to locate and catch the various bass species is by far the best tool of the trade to foster and develop over time. This cannot be purchased and is the personal call to every fisherman, to include in his/her tackle-box!
Whether you choose to use spinners, or swear by plastic worms, crawfish and other live bait, chum or have a favorite lure for reasons and or secrets that are your very own, you use what works the best and what you believe will produce the bass you want, desire and must have! Positive attitude goes a long way when learning how to fish for bass. Profiting from on-going experience, success and failure, your angling and odds will keep improving. Practice in this case, will go a long way to enable success in this unpredictable, varying situation – when you are one-on-one with the most popular game and sporting fish of them all: The Bass itself!