Spring is definitely here. The weather is warm, but not too hot. The trees are already covered with this year's growth, and the flowers are in full bloom. Spring is also a good time to take up bass fishing, and many people are doing so. The water is starting to warm up, and the fish are more actively feeding. However, many people are having trouble catching their first bass. It's a common problem that many beginner fishermen face, and even I ran into some hurdles as a new bass angler. I spent two months trying to catch a bass I caught panfish, catfish, and even some trout, but I just wasn't getting a bass. So what is a surefire way to catch your first bass?
Above: Playing a numbers game is easy: Use small baits.
There are many factors in why a person can't catch a bass, such as technique or rigging, the the thing I would look at most is my gear: are my baits too large? Is my line too thick? Are my hands covered with anything that may deter fish (gasoline, sunscreen, tanning lotion)? The most common mistake I see with many beginning bass anglers is using to wrong line - 50lb is not going to get you anywhere. The fish, especially if they are in a highly pressured public lake, will see your line and be suspicious. I would use line between 10-20lb test for mono or fluorocarbon in most situations, but anything above 17lb is pushing it; you would only use such thick line in very dense weeds. I recommend using 12lb to 14b for most situations. For braided line, though, things are different due to braid's extreme thinness. I would use 80lb braid at most for topwater applications, and would use 30-40lb braid for very dense weeds.
Larger baits, while good for catching larger fish, scare off the smaller fishes. Remember, a good majority of the bass in a given waterway are small or medium sized fish. The larger the fish you are after, the less of them there are in a lake or pond. It's just how the food chain works. If you want to catch fish, you should use smaller baits. A 2" grub on a 1/16th oz jighead is a surefire way to catch a lot of bass, although they may be small.
Lastly, I would make sure there are no noxious chemicals on my hands or tackle. Nothing causes a bass to develop lockjaw more than a coating a motor oil or cleaning solution on your hand. I often wash my hands before I go fishing.
Hi. I am Ian, an extremely avid bass fisherman living in Howard County, MD. I like to bank fish and fish at local ponds and small creeks. I will explore budget friendly options for people to use in this blog. I hope I can teach you something.