Things to consider for Bass Fishing

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.

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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!



Techniques For Bass Fishing Like A Pro

(Worms, Skipping, Ripping, Drift Trolling, Flyrodding)

The art of accurate casting

Mastering basic casting is key. Most spinning and bait-casting reel and rod combinations today, are made for hassle-free, ease-of-use flexibility by a variety of anglers (multi-level at that too!)

Try to eliminate errors from your basic style and technique. Skill and accuracy should matter more than strength and it is not always about getting it as far out, as fast as you possibly can (although this might be important in certain situations and circumstances too!)

Casting, getting your line/hook/bait, sinkers, weights and leaders in and into the water, at the exact right depth, imitating �prey�, and doing so with extreme, pin-point accuracy, is what this is all about. Hitting your target with confidence is a very basic skill to master and refine. Getting the hook out to exactly where you wanted it to be, what you should practice and work for.

Casting is one part of this process, getting the lure to the right depth quite another. Advanced bass anglers suggest using a countdown OR counting method. Quite simple really. Form the moment the bait hits the water, start counting, 1000, 1000 and 1, 1000 and 2, 1000 and 3� estimating the seconds it will take for it to �drop� into the water. This will help you know better what you are doing, when it hits the bottom for example, whether or not it got caught on something in the process etc. YOU establish reference points for yourself on and in the water.

Hands-on and rod in-hand is the best way. Practice-plugs in the park, or your own backyard (be it on �dry land�, so to speak), will make you that more effective and accurate, in and on the water, no matter what the body of water, or style of fishing you choose to pursue. Whether spinning, bait casing or fly-rodding, there is something for every taste. Even missed targets, attempts and failure, are also good teachers, as this technique is somewhat of a routine you can master and learn.

Casting a lure with a spinning reel for example, casting float and or leger rig, bait casting are very similar. Lure fishing, spinning, floating, spoons, plugs, surface or top-water lures, crank bait, trolling etc. are all basic techniques that require exposure, quick demos and hands-on practice. We suggest a video or DVD, or online in-depth explanation, watching a fishing show or two and getting pointers from other anglers and professionals, as well as finding and defining your own style that you are comfortable and successful with. The beauty of bass fishing is that it offers something for everyone, no matter what your prior experience with fishing might be!

Focusing on your grip, spinning reels, bait-casters and or closed-face spin casters techniques and mastery, picking a target, aiming to land your lure (terminal tackle) in the middle of that target, is a good approach.

As a general rule of thumb, a good arch in the air as a travel path en route to the water, is a good reference and goals to have, as you set out to improve your casting technique and accuracy. Line-control is crucial to avoid overshooting, get a gentler landing, slow flight (by touching the lip of the spool with the tip of your index finger (also known to anglers as �feathering�) is useful.


Playing and landing fish

Getting to know the feel of a fish on your hook, line and rod is very important. Retrieval is about more than simply getting the fish into the eager hands/net/boat. Mastery, maneuvering, responsiveness, knowledge of your tackle, well-balanced control, reel-clutching, fighting curves and arching/bending rods and the various controls and settings, techniques (including casting, hooking, playing, reeling in, retrieving and landing is important. They are so much more than mere steps in a process and or sum-total of parts.

To translate into a true blue-blood bass-fishing experience and success, appreciation of the symphony of the interplay of process and outcome, tactic, technique, angler, equipment, the catch and haul is what is at play here. When using a spinning reel/bait-casting, there are three key techniques to master that would include reel control: with anti-reverse on, back winding (anti-reverse off) and thumb-pressure control

There is nothing more exciting than a fish on the run, apply pressure, keep the rod up slightly and increase the �drag� if required, using one of the techniques above. Watch tension and avoid line-breaks and allow the fish to tire.

It is one thing to prepare, cast, tease and tempt, hook and eventually reel in. The process however does not stop there. More of the basic technique mastery includes methods of landing fish, like beaching (not suitable for catch and release), tailing (not suited for all species), lipping (watch the teethed species here!), netting or even gaffing (banned in most areas, due to the risk of the stroke injuring the fish).

The most useful tip we can provide or suggest is remaining in control, alert and not upset or startles the fish even more. Allow the tired fish to turn, submerge the net and avoid lunging at it.

When lipping, grip the lower lip gently between your thumb and forefingers, unhook carefully or hold in the water while freeing it gently, but efficiently, without hurting the fish, adhering as far as possible, to current and accepted, and catch-and-release practices.

Lure-fishing and spinning

Spinning tackle and artificial baits and lures are increasing in popularity and the most popular form of fishing worldwide. As far as bass fishing is concerned, one of the easiest way to attract the species � even for novices and beginner anglers of all ages and fishing style and skill-levels. Rotation, color and movement, staying as true as you can to the natural diet and target prey of the bass will optimize your chances. The shape and thickness of the spinning �blade� on the lure affects the action and mobility of the lure � how it responds and acts in and under water.

Floating lures are also common and effective especially for deep-water bass fishing. Watch for snagging on the bottom and ensure to weigh it done appropriately using suitable weights. This method ensures getting the bait at eye-level of the fish.

For spoons, there are two broad categories, namely trolling and casting spoons. Weed-less lures mostly have hooks with nylon or metal weed-guards that prevent snagging and or non-weedless spoons are also commonly used. How to tell which one to use, most bass anglers look for shape, weight and speed. The best way to find your way around in any tackle shop or box is to practice and get to know the behavior and or success in different conditions. Trying to get to know the optimum retrieval and success rates, maybe even logging it in a personal journal as you undertake your bass journey/hunt for the NEXT BIG ONE!

Plugs, surface lures, useful at all fishing levels, at all speeds make these lures versatile, agile and an all-time favorite of many a bass angler. Matching the lure to the conditions you face and the circumstance, body of water and specific species you are fishing for (small-mouth, large-mouth, striped, spotted, rock, yellow, black, white etc.). Shallow-diving crank-bait and or surface or top-water lures have proven themselves most effective for bass fishing � great for fishing shallows. Stick-baits and jerking, minnow plugs (or the real thing!), prop-baits, surface disturbers, crawler-type top-water baits and even a floating, driving crank-bait can prove useful.

The true secret lies in what some call the �one-two punch� � teasing and enticing with a top-water or teaser (surface disturber) and then following it up with a plastic worm for example on a second rod, for optimizing strikes and yet again tipping the scales in your favor.

Plastic worms

There are a vast array of worms available on the market (both live bait and artificial). For avid bass anglers they are a necessity. The technique to master is hooking them properly. When hooking a worm for bass fishing, it is of utmost importance to ensure that you thread it properly. Get a lot of the body onto the hook, hooking it twice, at top and bottom. This is to ensure that it does not fly loose when you are casting it out into the water. It also protects it somewhat in the submerged paradise that the bass shares with other fish, who might want to come and take a bite or sample! Using worms in combination with other baits/lures and enticing techniques like top-water and or hard-bait surface disturbers or frogs, eels or whatever species and body of water would deem appropriate �feeding prey� for the bass of your choice and preference is the key. Again adapting your strategy when necessary and giving the bass a variety of foods to choose from, will all hopefully increase you odds of hooking your next bass! � Even if it is not yet the BIG ONE!

Chapter 2 - Mistakes and Secrets Related to Bass Fishing

As we have discovered throughout these pages, there is a lot more the bass fishing than meets the eye. Once you are familiar with the species, different bodies of water, different and sophisticated fishing and angling equipment and accessories, as well as familiarizing yourself with habits, patterns and nature, behavior, natural diet and preferred foods, mastering some basic skills like preparation, presentation, tackle, bait and lures, casting accuracy, knots, hooks and the intricacies and complexities in retrieval and landing, the journey has but started.

There is so much more to explore and learn about an through the activity, sport, art and competitive science that is bass fishing, that we can almost say no more than the water await and let�s go!

Although, there are some last thoughts we can offer on some of the more common casting mistakes. All these �errors� are well-documented in an existing literature and could easily overcome to optimize your bass fishing experience and haul. Here are but a few issues most beginners struggle with:

Overshot lure with too much power in the initial cast and the line release not slowed, or

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The lure falling short or being too light, with the line being release too early during the cast and or the rod held too high after the line was released.

Lure landing too hard, due to the release at too low of an angle and not arching enough in the air , and

Inaccurate casting (the most common) � missing the mark, where the lure goes off-course with too much side-to-side action/motioning of the rod while casting. Practicing reel and line control, as well as the overhead cast might help.

Lots of texts (like the Dorling Encyclopedia mentioned earlier, pg. 212-213), suggests thinking of �casting�, compared to the movement of the arms on a clock-face, beginning in the two o�clock position, pushing back to around the noon-position and back to the 2 again, with the rod slightly lowered as the lure drops deeper into the water. For most beginners this �visualization� often helps refine technique.

Chapter 3 - Styles and Specialty Bass Fishing Techniques

(Return to Contents)


This technique might remind you a lot of throwing rocks onto the surface of the water to see it �skip�. As a water/top-water disturbance and movement simulator, it triggers and teases our predator to come up and see what is there to eat/attack.

Spinning rods and reel combo is best used for this technique � perfect for fishing and reaching bass where they swim and hide under piers, docks and pontoons. Also useful for getting under and into underbrush and growth. Remember their �comfort zone�. On sunny days, bass look for shade, food and shelter and often rest here in shady areas, under cover of structure.


Some call this the throw it out, twitch, jerk and go method. A medium-action rod with parabolic bend and action to it. If might actually trick our bass-friend into thinking there is a �wounded� prey around. Like a pro, let the worm drop and settle to the bottom, remaining there for a period of time. Reel some slack out of the line, picking up the worm with a long, sharp upsweep of the rod tip. Let �er rip! Let it drop down again to the bottom, under tension while slowly lowering the rod tip � keep on imitating live prey like this, moving, swimming and bobbing about and your predator will strike it with a vengeance.


Drift Trolling

Trailing behind the boat, covering the bottom worms crawl and move, simulating prey in its purest form. Raise and lower it occasionally, looking natural and alluring to any bass in the vicinity hunting for a tasty morsel.


In ponds, ,rivers, streams and lakes this approach is quite effective. Fly-fishing like techniques are very effective with bass. Begin by preparing and rigging a plastic worm, weed-less adding a small split-shot just before the hook. This will enable it to sink slowly. Flip or cast and allow it to drop and bob to the bottom. Quite the tease and hard for the bass with keen sight, sound and smell to miss. Keep the tip of the rod very low, to make it possible for you to make a well timed, strike when you feel a bass hit.

Night and Ice-fishing

Schooling, effective tackle and dropping the lure/bait right in front of the fish, not having them expend a lot of energy is the key for these timings and conditions. Water tends to be cooler and all your approaches, strategies and techniques need to slow down a notch. Bass also tend to school, during these times. Knowing this fact can help you in acquiring your target better and increasing your odds of getting a hit under these unusual or specialty conditions.

It is almost an impossibility to provide here for every unique condition and we barely scratched the surface on most of the contexts bass anglers might find themselves. We look forward to sharing more secrets with you and learning from your journey!


Final Thoughts : Summary and Conclusions

Catch-and-release fishing

Doing your part to protect nature and conserve it for future generations, is mandatory and regulated. Using barb-less hooks and or removing them easily. Holding the fish in the water, gently while unhooking, minimizing the trauma and damage to the fish is crucial. Support the fish and let it go with the current, swimming away and left to live another day, for many battles more to come!

Do all you can to understand and adhere to licensing, permits, closed season stipulations, minimum size and catch limits. These and other measures are there to protect and serve, to minimize the risk of over-fishing and species becoming extinct.

This might not be the utter finest book on bass fishing ever written, but may the passion and contents inspire you to greatness as an avid and successful angler. If we can but ignite confidence and hints of excitement for fisher-folk, young and old, then these pages have succeeded!

May the road (and the waters, The Bass), come up to meet you� May your journey and journal grow each entry teaching more, increasing confidence and aptitude!

May the pleasures of Bass fishing and the many ways we can choose actively to partake of it, bring you continued and continual enjoyment, reward, haul and immense pleasure!

References And Other Handy Books

Miesen, G, Hauge, S., 2005: The Freshwater Angler - Live Bait Fishing. Creative Publishing International Inc., Minnesota. ISBN: 1589231465

Roland, M. 1998: Roland Martin's 101 Bass-Catching Secrets (Hardcover)Winchester Press; 2nd edition. ISBN: 0832904570

Sosin, M., Dance, B., 1999: The Field and Stream Bass Fishing Handbook. Where to find and catch large-mouths and small-mouths � match baits and lures to every situation. The Lyons Press, New York. ISBN: 1558218955

The Dorling Kindersley encyclopedia of fishing � 1st American Edition. 1994 Dorling Kindersley Publishing, London.

ISBN: 1564584925

Vaughan, A. Ladle, M., 1988: Hooked on Bass/ The Crowood Press, Great Britain. ISBN: 1861266294

DVD and other online links and resources

Dave Mercer�s Facts of Fishing, DVD Series Volume 1

Bass Fishing: The Basics with Chuck Woolery, DVD, 2004

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Action - Measure of rod performance that describes the elapsed time between flexion and return to straight configuration; ranges from slow to fast, with slow being the most amount of flexion; also refers to the strength of the rod (light, medium and heavy) with light being a limber rod and heavy a stout rod; also refers to gear of reels.

Active Fish - Bass that are feeding heavily and striking aggressively.

Adaptation - Biological adjustment that increases fitness.

Algae - Simple plant organisms.

Alkalinity - Measure of the amount of acid neutralizing bases.

Alley - An opening between patches of emergent weeds; also the parallel space separating emergent weeds and the shoreline.

Amp - Measure of electrical current.

Amp Hour - Storage capacity measurement of a deep-cycle batter obtained by multiplying the current flow in amps by the hours that it is produced.

Angler - Person using pole or rod and reel to catch fish.

Anti-reverse - System that prevents reels from spinning in reverse.

Backlash - Tangle of line on a bait-casting reel due to spool overrun.

Backwater - Shallow area off a river.

Bag Limit - Restriction on the number of fish that an angler may harvest in a day.

Bail - Metal, semicircular arm on an open-face spinning reel that engages the line after a cast.

Bait - An artificial lure is usually what is meant even though bait can also mean live bait.

Bait casting - Fishing with a revolving-spool reel and bait casting rod; reel mounted on topside of rod.

Baitfish - Small fish often eaten by predators.

Bar - Long ridge in a body of water.

Basic Needs - Refers to the three survival requirements of bass: reproduction, security, and food.

Bay - Major indentation in the shoreline of a lake or reservoir.

Bite - When a fish takes or touches (or hammers) a bait so that the fisherman feels it. Also known as a hit, bump, or a strike.

Black Bass - Common term used to describe several types of bass, including the largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass.

Blank - Fishing rod without grip, guides or finish.

Brackish - Water of intermediate salinity between seawater and freshwater.

Break - Distinct variation in otherwise constant stretches of cover, structure, or bottom type. Basically anything, that "breaks up" the underwater terrain.

Break line - A line of abrupt change in depth, bottom type, or water clarity in the feature of otherwise uniform structure. A place where there is a sudden or drastic change in the depth of the water, or weed type. This may be the edge of a creek, a submerged cliff, or even a stand of submerged weeds.

Brush line - The inside or the outside edge of a stretch of brush.

Brush pile - Usually refers to a mass of small- to medium-sized tree limbs lying in the water. Brush piles may be only one or two feet across, or they may be extremely large and they may be visible or submerged. They can be created by Mother Nature or manmade. They usually hold fish. And fishermen.

Bumping - Refers to the act of making a lure hit an object such as a log, tree, or pier piling in a controlled manner. This is often done unintentionally, but can get the same reaction from the fish. Also, a lure making contact with the bottom.

Buzzbait - Topwater bait with large, propeller-type blades that churn the water during retrieve. Comprised of a leadhead, rigid hook, and wire that supports one or more blades.

Buzzing - Retrieving a lure, such as a spinnerbait or buzzbait, at a rate fast enough to cause it to remain partially out of the water, causing a noisy disturbance. Sometimes called ripping or burning.

Cabbage - Any of several species of weeds, located above the surface or underwater, of the genus Potamogeton.

Carolina Rig - A style of terminal tackle normally used to keep a lure a foot or two (or more) off the bottom. This is most commonly used with a plastic worm, but is also used with floating crankbaits and other lures as well. A barrel slip sinker of 1/2- to 1-ounce is first slipped on the line and then a swivel is tied to the end of the line. A piece of line 18 to 30 inches long is then tied to the other end of the swivel and a hook or lure is tied to the end of this piece line. Rigged Texas style (weedless with the hook buried in the body of the bait), the combination is excellent for fishing ledges, points, sandbars, and humps. Diagram

Channel - The bed of a stream or river.

Chugger - Topwater plug with a dished-out (concave or "cupped") head designed to make a splash when pulled sharply.

Clarity - Refers to the depth you are able to see an object (such as your lure) under the water.

Cold Front - A weather condition accompanied by high, clear skies, and a sudden drop in temperature.

Contact Point - The deepest position on structure where a bass angler can first effectively present his lure to bass as they migrate from deep water.

Controlled Drift - The act of using an electric motor, drift sock, or oars to allow a drift to be accomplished at a certain speed and/or direction. This term is often called "drift fishing" by most anglers.

Coontail - Submerged aquatic plant of the hornwort family typically found in hard water; charactreized by stiff, forked leaves.

Cosmic Clock - The sun's seasonal effect on water and weather conditions relating to barometric pressure, wind, and cloud cover.

Count It Down - Timing a sinking lure to determine when it will reach a specified depth. This is accomplished by finding the rate of sinking of a lure in feet-per-second. Often used when fishing for suspended fish.

Cove - An indentation along a shoreline.

Cover - Natural or manmade objects on the bottom of lakes, rivers, or impoundments, especially those that influence fish behavior. Anything a fish can use to conceal itself. Examples include stick-ups, tree lines, stumps, rocks, logs, pilings, docks, weeds, boathouses, duck blinds, bushes, etc. (not to be confused with structure).

Crankbait - Typically, a lipped lure that dives under the surface during the retrieve. So-called lipless crankbaits are thin, minnow-like lures that sink at a rate of about 1-foot per second.

Dabbling - Working a lure up and down in the same spot a dozen or more times in a bush or beside a tree.

Depthfinder - A sonar device, either a flasher unit or LCR recorder, used to read the bottom structure, determine depth, and in some cases actually spot the fish; also called a fishfinder.

Disgorger - Device for removing hooks deeply embedded in the throat of fish.

Drag - Device on fishing reels that allows line to pay out under pressure, even though the reel is engaged; set correctly, it ensures against line breakage.

Drop-Off - A sudden increase in depth, created by gulley washes, small creek channels, land points, and the general lay of the land.

Drop Shot - A hook tied directly to the line from four-inches to four-feet above the sinker. The hook is attached from the back side or opposite the point, with a simple Palomar knot with a tag end about four or five feet long. The weight hangs and the hook is at a 90-degree angle to the line with the hook point up. The hook can be 18 to 24 inches above a bell sinker tied on with a slip-knot.

Ecology - The branch of biology dealing with the relationship between organisms and their environment.

Edge - Refers to the borders created by a change in the structure or vegetation in a lake. Some examples of edges are tree lines, weed lines, and the edge of a drop-off.

Euthrophic - Highly fertile waters characterized by warm, shallow basins.

Fan Cast - Making a series of casts only a few degrees apart to cover a half circle (more or less).

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Farm Pond - Small manmade body of water.

Feeder Creek - Tributary to a stream.

Feeding Times - Certain times of the day when fish are most active. These are associated with the position of the sun and moon and are referred to as solunar tables (also called moon charts) and are predictable for any time and place. See Moon Times.

Filamentous Algae - Type of algae characterized by long chains of attached cells that give it a stringy feel and appearance.

Feeding Cycle - Certain regular intervals during which bass satisfy their appetites. Examples: Major or Minor Solunar periods; sunrise, sunset.

Finesse Fishing - An angling technique characterized by the use of light tackle - line, rods, reel and artificial baits (often tube worms, grubs, or other small-sized soft-plastic lures); often productive in clear, fairly uncluttered water.

Flat - An area in a body of water with little if any change in depth. Small and large, flats are generally surrounded on at least one side by deeper water, the bottom comes up to form a flat area where fish will often move up for feeding.

Flipping - (generally shortened to flippin') The technique of placing a lure in a given spot precisely, and quietly, with as little disturbance of the water as possible using an underhand cast while controlling the line with your hand.

Flipping Stick - Heavy action fishing rod, 7 to 8 feet long, designed for bass fishing.

Florida Rig - Very similar to the Texas Rig, the only difference is the weight is secured by "screwing" it into the bait.

Fly 'N Rind - Same thing as jig-and-pig - a combination of a leadhead jig and pork rind trailer.

Forage - Small baitfish, crayfish and other creatures that bass eat. May also be used in the sense of the bass looking for food (foraging).

Front - Weather system that causes changes in temperature, cloud cover, precipitation, wind and barometric pressure.

Gear Ratio - Measure of a reels' retrieve speed; the number of times the spool revolves for each complete turn of the handle.

Grayline - Grayline lets you distinguish between strong and weak echoes. It "paints" gray on targets that are stronger than a preset value. This allows you to tell the difference between a hard and soft bottom. For example, a soft, muddy or weedy bottom returns a weaker symbol which is shown with a narrow or no gray line. A hard bottom returns a strong signal which causes a wide gray line.

Grub - A short plastic worm used with a weighted jig hook.

Habitat - The place in nature where a plant or animal species lives. The water, vegetation, and all that makes up the lake, which is where bass live. Habitat, for other creatures, is also in the woods and cities, it's basically a term used to indicate a "living area" or home environment.

Hard Bottom - Area in a body of water with a solid base - clay, gravel, rock, sand. The type of bottom that you would not sink far, if at all, were you to walk on it.

Hawg - Usually refers to a lunker-size or heavyweight bass weighing 4 pounds or more.

Holding Area - Structure that habitually holds three to five catchable bass.

Holding Station - Place on lake where inactive fish spend most of their time.

Honey Hole - A super fishing spot containing a number of big bass; also any place with a large concentration of keeper bass.

Horizontal Movement - The distance a fish moves while remaining at the same depth.

Hump - An area higher than the surrounding area. A submerged dam or island might be considered a hump.

Ichthyology - The branch of zoology that deals with fishes - their classification, structure, habits, and live history.

Inactive Fish - Bass that are in a non-feeding mood. Examples of typically inactive times: following a cold front; during a major weather change that causes a sudden rise or fall in water temperature, or when a rising lake lever is abruptly lowered.

Inside Bend - The inside line of a grass bed or a creek channel.

Isolated Structure - A possible holding spot for bass; examples include a single bush on a point; a midlake hump, or a large tree that has fallen into the water.

Jig - A leadhead poured around a hook and featuring a skirt of rubber, plastic, or hair.

Jig-N-Pig - Combination of a leadhead jig and pork rind trailer; among the most effective baits for attracting trophy-size bass.

Keeper - A bass that conforms to a specific minimum length limit established by tournament organizations and/or state fisheries department.

Lake Modification Sources - Elements that change bodies of water, such as ice action, wave action, and erosion.

Lake Zones - Designation that includes four categories: shallow water, open water, deep water, and basin.

Laydown (or Falldown) - A tree that has fallen into the water.

Light Intensity - The amount of light that can be measured at certain depths of water; the greater the intensity, the farther down the light will project. This measurement can be significantly affected by wind conditions and water clarity. In waters where light intensity is low, brightly colored lures are smart choices.

Line Guides - Rod rings through which fishing line is passed.

Lipless Crankbaits - Artificial baits designed to resemble a swimming baitfish. Such plugs vibrate and/or wobble during retrieve; some have built-in rattles. Also called swimming baits.

Livewell - An aerated tank in boats used to hold fish in water until weigh-in time so that they have a better chance of survival when released. Similar to an aquarium.

Logjam - A group of horizontal logs pushed together by wind or water flow to form an obstruction. In lakes, logjams are usually found close to shore and in the backs of coves.

Loose-Action Plug - A lure with wide and slow movements from side to side.

Lunker - Normally, a bass weighing 4 pounds or more.

Micropterus Salmoides - Scientific term for largemouth bass.

Migration Route - The path followed by bass when moving from one area to another.

Milfoil - Surface-growing aquatic plants.

Mono - Short for monofilament fishing line.

Moon Times - Four phases of the moon are usually what the fisherman is concerned with. Generally the "best times" in a month occur three days prior and three days after, and include the day of the new or full moon. First quarter and second quarter periods are considered as only "good times."

Off Color - Refers to the color and or clarity of the water. Brown is muddy like from rain runoff, greenish from algae and black from tannic acid are the normal off-color conditions.

Our Hole - Proprietary term used by anglers to describe the area they intend to fish. (My hole, their hole, etc.) Though actually all holes are all angler's holes since the lakes being fished are mostly public water. It's only your hole if you get there first. Otherwise it's their hole.

Outside Bend - The outside line of a creek channel or grass bed can be considered on outside bend.

Oxbow - A U-shaped bend in a river.

Pattern - A defined set of location and presentation factors that consistently produce fish. Example: If you catch more than one fish off a pier or stick-up, then your chances of catching more bass in such places are excellent. This is commonly called "establishing a pattern".

Pegging - Putting a toothpick in the hole of a slip sinker to prevent the sinker from sliding along the line. Other items such as rubber bands slipped through the sinker have also become popular and don't snag line.

PFD - Initials that stand for Personal Floatation Device; also called a life vest.

pH - This is a measurement for liquids to determine whether they are acidic or alkaline. On a scale of one to ten, seven is considered neutral. Below seven the liquid is acidic and above seven it is alkaline. This is a factor that plays a role in the health of the lake and the fish as well as where the fish may be found in a lake.

pH Meter - Just as a thermometer measures heat and cold, a pH meter can be used to measure the acidity and alkalinity of water. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. Bass generally prefer water that is slightly alkaline in the 7.5 to 7.9 range. Water with a pH less than 7 is acidic. Once popular among serious bass fishermen, the device is no longer widely used.

Pick-Up - The act of a bass taking a slowly fished lure, such as a plastic worm, crawfish or lizard.

Pit - Area excavated for mining operations that fills with water.

Pitching - Presentation technique in which worms or jigs are dropped into cover at close range with an underhand pendulum motion, using a 6 ? to 71/2 foot baitcasting rod. The act of pitching bait into a pocket or under tree limbs. Similar to flipping, but requires less stealth and usually done from further distances (known as pitchin').

Pocket - A small indentation of the shoreline.

Point - A finger of land jutting into the water; deeper water is usually found just beyond the exposed tip and along the length of both sides. Fishing on and around points is often exceptionally rewarding. They almost always hold fish.

Post Front - The period following a cold front; atmosphere clears and becomes bright; usually characterized by strong winds and a significant drop in temperature.

Presentation - A collective term referring to choice of type of lure, color, and size; structure targeted; amount of disturbance a bait makes when entering the water; and retrieval technique, speed, and depth used to catch fish. This refers to the circumstances and manner (speed and direction, etc.) in which a lure is presented to a fish.

Pro - A very few of the nation's top bass fishermen can truly claim the word professional. Not only must the pro be a consistent money winner on the major tournament circuits, but he or she must also be articulate, a good salesperson, present a clean-cut image, and have the ability to teach others to catch fish.

Professional Overrun - A polite term for backlash.

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Revolving-Spool Reel - Another term for baitcasting reel. The spool turns during casting, unlike the spool of a spinning or spincasting reel.

Reservoir - Artificially created place where water is collected and stored; also called an impoundment.

Riprap - A man-made stretch of rocks or material of a hard composition that usually extends above and below the shoreline; often found near dams of big impoundments.

Saddle - Site where structure narrows before widening again.

Sanctuary - Deep-water bass habitat.

Scatter Point - Position along structure where bass start to separate or scatter; often found in shallow water, at or very close to a breakline.

Short Strike - When a fish hits at a lure and misses it.

Slack Line - The loose line from the tip of the rod to the lure. This can be a slight bow in the line to an excess of line lying on the water.

Slicks - Bass not long enough to meet tournament standards; typically less than 14 inches. Such fish also are called "nubbins ", "through backs", "pop corns", "babies" and "dinks".

Slip Sinker - A lead weight with a hole through the center. Threaded on line, a slip sinker slides freely up and down.

Slough - A long, narrow stretch of water such as a small stream or feeder tributary off a lake or river.

Slow Roll - Spinnerbait presentation in which the lure is retrieved slowly through and over cover objects.

Slush Bait - Topwater plug with flat or pointed head.

Spincaster - A manner of fishing employing a push-button, closed-face spinning reel and baitcasting rod; reel is mounted on topside of rod.

Spinnerbait - A leadhead lure similar in shape to an open safety-pin with a hook; other features include a rubber, plastics, or hair skirt, and one or two blades of various shapes and sizes.

Spinning - A manner of fishing employing an open-face or closed-face spinning reel an spinning rod; reel is mounted on the underside of the rod; rod guides are on the underside of the rod.

Split Shotting - Often called stitch fishing because you move the bait in increments no larger than a sewing stitch and made just as slowly and patience is the key. Use a small #5 split-shot and crimp it about 18 inches above a light wire 1/0 or lighter small hook. Spinning tackle is a must. Small worms, 3-inch salt craws and others are perfect for the gentle application required.

Spook - The act of alarming a fish in a negative way. Examples: excessive noise, casting a human shadow.

Stick-Up - Stationary structure - stump, limb, section of pipe, fence post - that extends about 5 feet or less above the surface; a favorite casting target of bass fishermen.

Stragglers - Bass that remain near shore following a general migration.

Stringer - Antiquated term for a limit of fish, used by tournament anglers to indicate their catch (10-pound stringer = 10 pounds of fish. Not actually used any longer to retain bass, just a term people can't seem to stop using. (see livewell).

Structure - Changes in the shape of the bottom of lakes, rivers, or impoundments, especially those that influence fish behavior. This is probably the most misunderstood word in bass fishing. Structure is a feature on the bottom of the lake. Some examples of structure are creeks, humps, depressions, sandbars, roadbeds, ledges, and drop-offs. Some examples that are not structure: a stump, tree, or brush pile (these are cover).

Suspended Fish - Bass at midlevel depths, neither near the surface nor on the bottom.

Swimming Lures - Sinking-type artificial baits designed to resemble a swimming baitfish. Such plugs vibrate and/or wobble during retrieve; some have built-in rattles. Also called lipless crankbaits.

Tail-Spinners - Compact, lead-bodied lures with one or two spinner blades attached to the tail, and a treble hook suspended from the body; designed to resemble a wounded shad; effective on schooling bass.

Taper - An area in a body of water that slopes toward deeper depths.

Terminal Tackle - Angling equipment, excluding artificial baits, attached to the end of a fishing line; examples include hooks, snaps, swivels, snap-swivels, sinkers, floats, and plastic beads.

Texas Rig - The method of securing a hook to a soft-plastic bait - worm, lizard, crawfish, so that the hook is weedless. A slip sinker is threaded onto the line and then a hook is tied to the end of the line. The hook is then inserted into the head of a worm for about one-quarter of an inch and brought through until only the eye is still embedded in the worm. The hook is then rotated and the point is embedded slightly into the worm without coming out the opposite side. Diagram

Thermocline - The layer of water where the temperature changes at least one-half a degree per foot of depth. Basically, a layer of water where rising warm and sinking cold water meet.

Tight-Action Plug - A lure with short, rapid side-to-side movement.

Tiptop - Line guide at top of fishing rod.

Topwaters - Floating hard baits that create some degree of surface disturbance during retrieve.

Trailer Hook - The extra hook, or cheater hook added to a single-hook lure, such as a spinnerbait or weedless spoon.

Transition - The imaginary line where one type of bottom material changes to another.

Treble Hook - Hook with single or bundled shaft and three points.

Triggering - Employment of any lure-retrieval technique or other fishing strategy that causes a bass to strike.

Trolling Motor - A small electric fishing motor, typically mounted on the bow, that is used as secondary boat propulsion, for boat positioning, and to maneuver quietly in fishing areas.

Turnover - The period when the cold water on the surface of a body of water descends and is replaced by warmer water from below.

Vertical Movement - Up and down movement of fish. Can also be movement of a lure such as a spoon (verticaljigging).

Weedless - A description of a lure designed to be fished in heavy cover with a minimum amount of snagging.

Weedline - Abrupt edge of a weedbed caused by a change in depth, bottom type, or other factor.

Wormin - The act of fishing with a plastic worm, lizard, crawfish, or similar bait.