Best Time to Fish for Bass
As bass is one of the most sought-after gamefish in the world - the exact conditions that need to be met may be tricky, but this article should provide you with everything you need to know about the best time for catching bass, so you can have an enjoyable fishing experience.
What is the Best Time to Catch Bass (in General)?
In general, the fish are much easier to catch during the early hours of either the morning or the evening since bass are well-adapted to hunting and feeding in low-light environments. With this in mind, it is also possible to spot them in the middle of overcast or rainy days.
Typically, bass prefer warmer waters - anywhere between 60 and 80 degrees, either during Spring or Summer. During the latter, bass may stick to deeper waters on particularly hot days, where they keep active by hunting and feeding.
Bass are also active in the week's preceding spring, their spawning season. During this period, bass frequently roam the waters in search of food to gain all the energy they need for reproduction and fatten themselves up, all of which makes them much more likely to bite your bait.
What is the Best Time of Day to Catch Bass?
As previously mentioned, bass are generally at their most active during the early hours of the morning and evening. The periods of time between 5:30 to 8:30, and 17:00 to 19:30, present some of the best opportunities to find and catch bass, as bass' activity increases with the return of low-light.
However, these windows may be longer or shorter depending on both the weather, and the season. The key thing to note is that so long as the light is low and the water is relatively warm, bass can and will be found.
It is also possible to catch bass during warm nights, especially considering that not many fishermen are around to disturb the bass. In general, however, bass are much more likely to stay hidden on a cold and dark night. If you do choose to go night-fishing, go during a full moon and bring along some large, noisy lures like spinners and poppers.
What is the Best Time of Year to Catch Bass?
By far the best season to fish for bass is spring, when the fish are becoming more active, moving into shallower, more open water from their winter hideaways. However, it is not impossible to catch bass in the other seasons as well, so long as you understand their habits.
Spring is the spawning season for bass when the fish rise from deeper, darker waters and search out good nesting locations during their pre-spawn period. Once they have located a good nesting spot, they will begin spawning in earnest - these nesting locations are typically near shallower areas of water with good cover from the light. Note that bass will generally not nest within 30 feet of another nest, unless there is no direct line of sight between the two spots.
Rain now brings warm water, and bass are easily found near the shallows. Be on the lookout for cold fronts which may keep bass in deeper waters - bring along spinners and chatters to mitigate the issue. During the post-spawn period, bass will return to their normal activities, which include freely roaming the waters and in much greater numbers.
Once the waters reach the 55 to 65-degree range, the bass will stick to well-covered shallow areas, making them much easier to spot and catch - make sure to use large lures in order to catch their eye and draw them out.
Summer is another great hunting season for bass, because their behavior becomes very predictable. Like people in hot weather, bass search for shaded areas, which means you know exactly where to find them.
They can be found in pretty much all areas of the water - both deep and shallow - and will only be more scarce on particularly hot days when the intense heat forces them to move deeper. All kinds of lures and baits are applicable here, so bring along some jigs, swimbaits, and plastic worms.
Fall represents a return to the norm for bass. They can be found during the early hours of the morning and evening and will be particularly scarce on cold, dark days. Bass will be on the lookout for baitfish such as shiners and shades, so spinners and swimbaits will work wonders for you.
In the winter, bass are at their slowest and least active as they conserve their energy. If any bass are to be found, it will be in deep waters undercover. They may also be found at midday when the water temperature is at its highest.
Best Time to Fish for Different Types of Bass
Some bass are much easier to catch than others, but with this knowledge, the possibility for you to catch a bass may increase.
Largemouth bass can be quite elusive. They tend to stick to deeper waters regardless of the time of day or year and are well-adapted to low-light environments. They can, however, be lured out by striking baits and are at their most prevalent at the time immediately before, after, and during spawning.
Striped bass frequently migrate to waters with suitable temperatures, between 55 and 65 degrees. Their migrations occur during spring and fall when striped bass fishing yields its highest results, especially if poppers are used.
Smallmouth bass are fierce, active predators and can be found all over the country at pretty much any time of the day or year. As is typical for bass, they are at their most prevalent during the hours of dawn and dusk and are especially numerous during summer when their high metabolism forces them to constantly be on the move in search of a bite.
Luck should not have to be a factor when it comes to determining the success of a fishing expedition. With the right tools and knowledge, any trip should have the potential to yield great results. By now, you should have some basic knowledge to make this true. All that’s left now is for you to visit your favorite bass fishing spot, cast your line, and reel in a big ol’ bass. Good luck, sailor!