Fishing Info You Need to Know to Catch More Bass

Bass are rather finicky about their environment!  If the water isn’t between 68 and 78 degrees, bass are likely to be moving on to waters within their narrow range of comfort – instead of eating.

This Predator Lies in Wait for a Tasty Morsel! *


When the weather heats up, bass head for cooler waters.  Look for deep pools in the body of water in which you are fishing. Bass are very fond of hiding near the drop-off points of deep holes s0 they stay cool while waiting for something smaller than themselves to stroll by.

Fall and Winter

As  the water starts to cool, bass moves back to the shallows (from the deep pools) to do some serious feeding.  They must eat enough to carry them through the winter months – no matter how much cold comes their way.


During the early chilly mornings, bass are likely to be lazy and slow-moving.  As the sunlight strikes the water and warms it, bass will become more active. Under these circumstances, bass like to live in shallow waters, hiding in grasses and weeds, around submerged stumps, etc.

How Can You Apply this Info?

  • It is important to know the water’s temperature.  You will be wasting your time fishing for bass in a shallow pond if the water is over 80 degrees.
  • Having a topographical map of the body of water in which you fish is a great investment.
  • Predator fish, such as bass, tend to hide in submerged structures (rock piles, weedy areas, around fallen trees, etc.), watching for a tasty tidbit!
  • The TV meteorologist is your best friend!

If you live in an area near water, as we do, the meteorologist adds water conditions to the weathercast: high and low tides, water clarity, water level and water flow.

When you find water at the correct temperature, your task is to figure out what he’s in the mood to eat – and serve it up on the end of your line.


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* ‘Missed Opportunity’ – displayed through arrangement with Vantage Point Graphics.


How Fish Use Their Other Senses!**

Fish Use All Their Senses to Stay out of Your Net!

As I mentioned last time, fish have 4 senses to our 5.  Unfortunately, they do a great job of staying off your dinner table by using those 4 senses very effectively!

How Fish See

Fish see colors!  Biologists have proven that fish see :

  • red
  • yellow
  • blue
  • green

Many articles encourage anglers to wear bland, solid colors (think: beige). Now, lots of anglers don’t believe that fish see color.  You can read about the pros and cons here.

Did you know that “if you can see fish … they can see you!?   Thank goodness, there are some limits to their eyesight.

What are the Limits to a Fish’s Sight?

Light only travels so far into water. The sun’s rays stop brightening the water at about 25 feet.  From that point on, objects just seem to be dark shapes.

A fish’s ability to see in water less than 25 feet is affected by various factors.  Is the water muddy or clear?  How far are the objects away from the fish?  Is light reflecting off of the object?

Fish  aren’t too far up the food chain but they certainly recognize the shapes and smells of the things on which they feed!

A Fish’s Sense of Smell

Of all the things I’ve learned about fish and their senses, I think this was the most surprising.  Fish have a killer sense of smell!

Fish can smell odors hundreds of yards away.  The smells that turn them off the most are:

  • gasoline
  • nicotine
  • human scent
  • oily substances

To put things another way, fish can smell these “stinky” substances if they are only 1 part in 80 million parts of water!  That is some serious nose action!

How can you rid yourself of your human scent?  Use a ‘good scent’ or a fish soap that removes your smell!  In a pinch, you can rub your hands together with sand — it absorbs smells.

Special Circumstances

Not all fish have the same level of sniffing.  Predator fish (muskie, pike, bass, and others) rely on their sense of sight more than their sense of smell — to find a ‘meal deal!’

Scavengers (carp, catfish, trout, …), rely more on their sense of smell, rather than their sight — when checking over the buffet choices!


** Some word changes made for clarity.


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Have You Ever Tried Night Fishing?

It may seem as if I have lost interest in my blog.  Not true!    However, I’m participating in the world’s longest transfer of a website from one hosting company to another!

I’m going to be very happy when everything is finished, however … right now I’m not enjoying the experience!


Why Night Fishing is Cool (Pun Intended)

Dropping Your Hook as the Sun Goes Down = Some Great Fishing!

Where I live, daytime temperatures are already hovering around 100.  I also have very fair skin with lots of freckles.

Night fishing isn’t just cool, it’s healthier for someone like me.

Let’s talk about the least fun prospect of fishing in the nighttime hours:  mosquitoes and other aggravations.

Insects are one of the main food groups of fish.  (You know that fish cannot be very far up the food chain when they neglect to have ‘chocolate’  as one of their food groups!)

By dark, mosquitoes and other bugs are tired of dancing around to stay out of fishes’ mouths.  They can smell you coming and eagerly anticipate eating on you instead of being dinner for some fish.

Therefore, insect repellant is critical … don’t leave home without it!

One Joy of Night Fishing: Quiet

As  the sun sinks behind the horizon, Peace and (his best friend) Quiet take over.  I do some of my best thinking while fishing!

Generally, the pace slows and I get to tune into the night-time sights and sounds of nature:   the fire flies dance and sway and the stars wink down from the night sky.

Another Bonus: Fish Action Increases

Biologists say that fish seem to increase their feeding behaviors  just after the sun goes down and around dawn.

Whether out on a boat or on shore, I like to go out when the moon is full.  The water tends to calm down and the moonlight is enough light to keep an eye on any rippling in the water.

By fishing near the  top, I’m able to throw my line out where the top feeding fish are snacking on those mosquitoes and bugs that are not chewing on me!


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Published in: on June 22, 2010 at 5:48 pm  Comments Off on Have You Ever Tried Night Fishing?  
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How is Fishing Different in a Low Water Level Situation?

The answer in 3 words is:  It’s very different!

The Truth About Low Water Levels

Fishing in Low Water is More Difficult!

The ugly truth about fishing when the water is at low-level (in a pond, stream or lake) is:  You will probably only get one chance at a nice-sized fish.

Going fishing means spooking the fish.  Those guys didn’t get to reach their size by hanging around after seeing folk’s shadows on the water or hearing humans talking.

You might not know the truism:  If you can see a fish, he can see you!

Here are a couple of past articles that explain this in greater detail (what fish can see and hear, etc.).

Things to Take Fishing

If you take (and use) these items, you will be a much smarter (and more successful) angler!

  • topographical map of the body of water
  • an understanding of the currents in that body of water
  • get the latest readings on prevailing breezes

A good topographical map will tell you where the underwater formations and structures are.  The water currents have a profound effect on fishing in streams and larger bodies of water.

By knowing how currents swirl around underground structures and submerged rocks, trees, etc., you will be able to make good guesses about where the fish are hiding.

While the Water Level is Down

This is a great time to search for submerged structures (dead trees, artificial reefs, outcroppings of rocks, etc.).  If available, use a GPS (Global Positioning System) device to pinpoint the structures you find (for future reference).

Fish & Sunlight

Last time (The Effects of Sunlight on Fishing), I talked about the effect sunlight has on fish and fishing.  When the water level is down, fish will respond faster to sunlight.

Fish are out trying to snag that last morsel before the sun warms the water too much. Conversely, in the evening, they are starting to feed more aggressively as the sun goes behind the horizon.  Those are two great times to dip your hook in the water.


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Published in: on June 9, 2010 at 8:54 pm  Comments Off on How is Fishing Different in a Low Water Level Situation?  
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The Effects of Sunlight on Fishing

Being a strong proponent of ‘reading the water’ to catch fish, I would like to touch on another aspect: reading sun movement on a lake or pond.

Here Comes the Sun

Understanding the Effects of Sunlight on Fishing is Important to Fishing Success! *

You will learn the easiest by doing these exercises in a familiar pond or lake.  Why?  Because you already have some idea of the hotspots where you find fish.

The idea is to watch the effect of the sun, as it moves across the sky, on your favorite fishing spots.

You want to learn:

  • Where does the shade hang on longest in the morning?
  • Where does the sun abandon the lake/pond first?

Once you have mapped these areas on paper, or in your mind, let’s go fishing!

Sunrise Fishing

Fish in the spots where the sun strikes first.  As soon as that area becomes warmed, fish will either:

  • become less aggressive (less likely to bite), or
  • move into deeper water, or
  • both

Fish spots before morning light hits them. Fish feed most actively just before daylight or as the sun is sinking below the horizon.

After Work Fishing

Now, you will work in the reverse.  Which of your favorite spots have been out of sunlight longest?  These are the areas to start your fishing.

Move to your other hotspots only after the sun has moved away from those areas.

For Everything There is a Season

In the early part of the year: Because water temperature is still rather low, fish still respond positively to sunlight.

From the end of spawning till Labor Day: (or later, depending on where you live) Reading the sunlight will be an important factor!

Now: If you are fishing during hot weather, concentrate your attention on the shadows.  If fish have not moved into deeper water for the daylight hours, they will concentrate in or near structures (submerged logs, rock formations, weed beds, etc.).


* Used through the courtesy of Vantage Point Graphics.


Other Helpful Articles:


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How to ‘Texas Rig’ a Soft Plastic Fishing Lure

Last time I was talking about rigging for fish, I had the “Average Fisherman” show how to do the Carolina Rig

Today, I’d like to show the Texas Rig (in East Texas, it’s called “draggin.'”  This is an adaptation of the Carolina Rig.



Texas Draggin’ Rig

This almost 3 minute video leaves out a few things I’d like to mention.

  • a 1-ounce bullet sinker (instead of the flat, stone-looking  one on the Carolina Rig)
  • a large glass bead (red is nice and obvious)
  • 20 lb mono or 30 lb Spectra line
  • tying onto a size 10 barrel swivel
  • a 3 foot, 12 lb. mono leader
  • plastic choices: lizard, worm or crawworm

Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

Why a glass bead?

It keeps the sinker from damaging the knot and provides a nice clicking sound.

Why use a lighter leader than the weight of the line?

If the hook gets snagged, you have a better chance of not losing the whole rig.

Keep an eye on the mud/grit/sand/whatever comes up around the top of your bullet sinker.  Why?

If your sinker’s hole is bringing up mud, the area is too soft for bass.   They prefer a sandy bottom!


Give them both a try; let me know which one works better for your situation!


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‘Carolina Rigging’ vs. ‘Texas Dragging’

The Carolina Rig

This is a 2-part blog on two slightly different techniques of catching fish. Decades ago, the ‘Carolina Rig’ was created in South Carolina.   Locally, it was a popular way of catching fish, especially bass.

In 1991, along came Jim Nolan — to the Texas BASSMASTER Tournament at Sam Rayburn Lake.  With this clever technique, he caught a record-breaking 86.6 pounds of fish!

Nolan gave all the credit to his Carolina-rigged lizard.

How to Make One

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, how much is a video worth?  This quick video from the “Average Fisherman” makes the concept easier to understand.



This is a great way to catch bottom feeding fish.

Next time, I’ll explain the adaptation: the Texas Dragging Rig.


This blog is a companion to my website:

Fishing with Crankbaits

Here’s some interesting info on using various colored crankbaits for fishing.  The speaker is known as Roger, the ex-bass guide.

In this video, he explains why he uses certain colors of crankbaits, depending on the clarity of the water and the amount of light available at the time of fishing.



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Published in: on May 25, 2010 at 1:34 am  Comments (2)  

How Do Underwater Structures Affect Fishing?

Knowing About Under-ground Structures Helps You Catch More Fish!

This article is a continuation of some interesting points in Tim Lilley’s book, Ultralight Fishing. *

The previous article is here:  Catching Fish with Ultralight Tackle

Lilley takes pains to explain the value of having a topographical map of any body of water you plan to fish.  Each body of water has unique structures that will affect fishing.

Structures That Affect Fishing

Topographical maps show “the lay of the land” — in this case — underwater.  The map will show shallow areas versus sharp drop-offs (into deep pools).

This is important because fish move into deep pools when the shallow water gets too warm and they stay in deep pools during cold weather (because it is a consistent temperature).

Smallmouth Bass are notorious for living in submerged rock piles.  If your topographical map indicates a rock formation, it’s an area that you can investigate.

Fishing Underground Structures

Most fishing books talk about finding predatory fish.  Why?  If you are going after a predatory fish, he’s larger than his supper, thus a bit higher up the food chain.

Also, since these predators are looking for a “meal deal,”  they are hungry and likely to attack an attractive bait or lure.

Your task is to figure out what he’s in the mood to eat  — and serve it up on the end of your line.

Using Your GPS While Fishing **

When you are successful in a day’s fishing, it’s a great idea to use your GPS** to mark any hotspots you find.

Lilley also makes a point that with a GPS device, you are never really lost on a large body of water (or anywhere else).

Matching Lures with Structures

Lilley’s suggestion for fishing around a deep drop-off is to use a plastic worm.  He lets it free fall to the bottom.

Because it only weighs 1/4 ounce,  it will take a long time for the worm to drop, thus having the lure in front of  fish for the greatest time, while the fish decides how to react!


Next Time: More about Fishing Around Underground Structures


* Ultralight Fishing, Tim Lilley, Creative Publishing, 2005.

** GPS = Global Positioning System.  A device to mark your good fishing spots.  These systems use the space satellites  to mark the coordinates of a spot (longitude and latitude).  It’s a snap to find them again later.


This blog is a companion to my website: Great

Catching Fish With Ultra-Light Tackle!

Using Ultralight Tackle Means You Probably Need a Heavy-Duty Net!

I picked up a book on ultralight fishing yesterday by Tim Lilley. His opening line is, “You don’t need heavy tackle to catch heavy fish.”  O-k-a-y.

Frankly, it will be a hard sell to get me to go to light-duty line.  When I go fishing, I want all the help I can get!

Unless Mr. Lilley changes my mind, I think turning in my tackle for the puny line he suggests, will be along the nature of “… prying my cold, dead fingers from ….”

What is Ultralight Fishing?

Tim Lilley is specific:  no more than 6 lb. test line and using lures weighing no more than 1/4 of an ounce!  He uses rods of various lengths, depending on the situation.

How Does it Work?

The thing I note throughout the book is that Tim Lilley “reads the water.” People who do this well, are great anglers — no matter what they use for tackle.

He is all for returning to the scene of earlier fishing trips.  He says that you learn by seeing the same stream/pond/river at differing states of water depth.

Learning to Read the Water

Predator fish have scoped out their habitat and found great places to lie in wait for their dinner to stroll by.  Lilley asserts:  If you catch one fish in a great place, another will take its place.  Therefore, cast your line there again.

There are variables that we can’t control; but over time, those same spots where you have been successful, will be successful again.

Like humans, fish find a great spot to get a meal and they return there time and again.

Lakes and Ponds

Mr. Lilley makes an excellent point that fish like particular kinds of cover in lakes and ponds: “brush piles, weedlines, flats, bluffs, rocky banks, flooded trees.”

Once you can consistently find these hiding places in the lakes or ponds you regularly fish, you can generalize this knowledge to unknown bodies of water.  Why was a fish in that spot?

When you figure out why fish are where they are – in your regular fishing places – you can transfer this knowledge to unknown bodies of water and become a more consistently successful angler.


From: Ultralight Fishing, Tim Lilley, Creative Publishing, 2005.


This blog is a companion to my website: Great

Published in: on May 22, 2010 at 9:07 am  Comments Off on Catching Fish With Ultra-Light Tackle!  
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