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Pro Bass Fishing Tips

bass fishing tips

We’ve rounded up the biggest names in professional bass fishing and put together a comprehensive video guide built to address some of the most asked questions in the bass world! This Mossy Oak Fishing University themed video collection is designed to help you become a more successful angler utilizing many different tips, tricks and strategies from the pros – enjoy!

  1. Kevin VanDam
  2. Kevin VanDam - Summer Season
  3. Jordan Lee
  4. Ott DeFoe
  5. Brandon Palaniuk
  6. Gerald Swindle
  7. Bill Lowen
  8. Matt Lee
  1. Kevin VanDam


    Where To Fish Throughout the Day?



    There’s not a bad time to fish in the spring. As long as you can see early in the morning, make longer casts at visible targets. Bass will usually be a lot more aggressive in the morning. As the day warms, you see more bass move into the shallows to spawn. Sunny afternoons are a great time to fish for those spawning bass, especially in those areas that get direct sunlight.

    Where Do Bass Spawn In Rivers?



    Bass want to get away from the current. They’ll look for backwaters where there’s less current so they can build a nest. Smallmouth bass can spawn in some current, but look for areas that will help block the current. Rivers are a challenge when the water isn’t clear and it’s hard to see the objects they can spawn around.

    Best Lures for Spawning Bass



    The spawn is tricky when it comes to choosing baits. You want to get down on the bottom and get in front of the bass’ faces. Jigs and plastics are hard to beat. When the fish can see well, when the water clarity is better, a wacky rigged plastic worm that has a lot of action and slow sink and stays in the strike zone for a long time.

    Finding and Catching Bass in the Spring



    The focus of spring bass fishing is shallow water. The clearer the water, the deeper they can spawn. The murkier the water, they’ll be tight to the cover in the water. Bass want their spawning areas to be protected from big waves or wind. Look for those protected areas. Use baits with a lot of action that stay in the strike zone for a long time like plastics and creature baits. For clearer water, use reaction baits. Use baits that imitate bluegill and sunfish, because those are the bass’ main targets during the spawn.

    How Long Does the Bass Spawn Last?



    Bass spawn at various times in about a two-month period. The first bass will move up to shallow waters that are protected and warm earlier. As the main lake warms, you’ll see bass spawn in deeper waters where the nests are more protected. In most lakes, the spawn will trickle in and peak in the middle and trickle out at the end.

    Largemouth Bass Fishing and Water Temperature



    Cold water isn’t necessarily a negative, because the fish still have to eat. In colder water, you have to slow down. In warmer water, the fish are more active and aggressive. Water temperature is relative to the area of the country you are fishing. Pay attention to the water temperature, but don’t let it rule the way you fish. Time of year, general seasonal pattern and conditions trump water temperature.

    Largemouth Bass Spawn | Water Temperature and Moon Phase



    The bass spawn lasts for several months across the country. The water clarity and moon phases do trigger the spawn. Full moon and new moon are spikes in fish movement. You can also follow spawn as the temperature starts to warm. The bluegill and shad spawn happens after the bass spawn. The bass will be around those beds feeding the next month after you see the bass move into the shallows.

    Where Do Bass Spawn?



    Generally speaking, turbid water results in shallower spawning where light can penetrate. If the water is clear, the bass will spawn deeper. Deeper water warms later, so the spawning will happen in those areas later.

    What Do Bass Eat In The Spring?



    Bass are opportunistic feeders. The springtime gives them a lot of options, and they typically go for the most predominant forage. Look at the terrain, what’s moving in the water and what you see. Try to determine what the bass are targeting whether it’s bluegill, shad or crawfish.

    In What Temperature Do Largemouth Bass Spawn?



    The water temperature can have an effect on the spawn, but it’s not the one variable that determines when the bass spawn. Length of day or time of year and moon phase are really important to the bass spawn. There are movement spikes during the new moon and full moon. Water temperature and air temperature can influence the spawn, but it typically happens around the same time every year.

    What Triggers Bass to Spawn?



    Water temperature and moon phase triggers the bass to move into the shallows to spawn. Consider the region of the lake, the areas that warm up sooner, when you’re looking for spawning bass. As long as the water temperature is warming up, you’ll see a spawning wave during a new moon and full moon.

  2. Kevin VanDam - Summer Season


    Best Early Summer Bass Lures



    In the summer, the bass start moving deeper. But before you can fish them, you have to find them. Kevin VanDam looks for bait that is more efficient in those deeper depth zones. His favorite is a deep diving crankbait. Once you catch a few bass on a crankbait, you can always move to a slower bait.

    How To Catch Bass In Hot Weather



    First thing in the morning and late in the evening is prime feeding time for bass. As the water warms and the current moves more, the bass will move to those points where they can ambush bait fish. Early morning fishing is best in the shallows with a topwater or buzzbait. As the day warms up, go to deeper water for the fish oriented to the current on the main lake and fish them with a crankbait.

    Summer Bass Fishing Patterns



    Bass will go to where the best food source is at that time of the year. Bass will move with the bait fish, so know when those bait fish spawn and where they are. After the shad spawn, the bass will start to move deeper as the shad move deeper where cooler water is. The bass always relate to structure, which is a depth change or contour change. Look for that structural feature close to a food source when summer bass fishing.

  3. Jordan Lee


    Soft Plastic Styles and Colors for Summer Bass Fishing



    I've learned over the years, in the summer, you can't really go too big with a worm. A 10-inch power worm Texas rigged is an all-time favorite. Around more rock when you need to drag a bait more, a 7-inch fatty bottom hopper on a shaky head is great for dragging through cover better than the ribbon tail. Green pumpkin and plum are Jordan's favorite colors for these baits.

    Best Summertime Soft Plastic Bait Colors



    Jordan Lee has 3 main soft plastic colors that he loves to flip. Green pumpkin works well in dirty or clear water. The dirtier the water, he like to go with black and blue, because the silhouette shows up better. If it's sunny and you need a bait with more flake to trigger bites, he goes with the California 420, which is like a green pumpkin color with red flakes.

    How To Setup A Baitcasting Reel



    This baitcasting setup is great for a beginner or experienced angler. After it's spooled, make sure the drag is tightened down so the line won't come out when you set the hook. Adjust your reel to the speed you want the bait to fall. You don't want to free your spool up right off the bat, especially if you're new to baitcasters. To keep it simple set your adjustment in the middle and go from there.

    Favorite Bait to Use When Bass Fishing



    The one bait Jordan Lee likes to fish no mater where he is is the drop shot. From south Texas to New York, whether smallmouth or largemouth, deep, shallow or bedded fish, this techique catches them. The Strike King finesse worm in green pumpkin with a straight shank hook and quarter ounce drop shot weight is his favorite setup.

    Favorite Bait Colors to Use When Bass Fishing



    With the thousands of soft plastic colors, it can be overwhelming. Jordan Lee likes black and blues and naturals. The black and blues are good for dark water. The green pumpkins and natural colors are great for clear water. Those are the main colors that get it done for Jordan Lee.

    Fighting and Landing a Big Bass



    One of the most important moments when fighting a fish is when you get it close to the boat. Don't loosen your drag; keep it tight. When that bass is close to the boat, apply pressure to the spool to help control the fish.

    Selecting the Best Bass Fishing Rod



    If you're looking for a rod action and length for just about anything, Jordan Lee says to go for a 7'4' heavy. You can throw a frog, flip, throw a football jig, or big worm. The heavier action is good for getting a good hook set. You can skip and make long casts with it. It gives a little of everything.

  4. Ott DeFoe


    Best Time To Catch Bass In The Fall



    Daylight to dark, there have been times and windows open up throughout the day. That window is typically determined by weather conditions or moon phase. On full moon and new moon conditions, there's a strong early bite and later in the afternoon. With cold fronts, the early afternoons seem to be the best times. Cloudy days to bring more consistent biting. Midday seems to get the most bites on those days. The wind is your friend in the fall. Get on the windy banks where the bass will be setting up. 

    Fall Bass Fishing and Feeding Patterns



    Knowing what the bass are eating is solving a big piece of the puzzle  before getting to the lake. The shad from the spring hatch are a good size bait during the fall. In the north, there are perch and other bait fish. Know the lake and location and what bait the fish are on in that location. Crawfish is consistent across the country, so that's always a good choice for the fall. Just try to match those bait fish and you'll have success fishing in the fall.

    Fall Bass Fishing Secrets



    The fall can be a tricky time to fish with cool fronts and warm spells coming in and out. Topwater fishing in the fall is Ott DeFoe's favorite way to catch bass in the fall. Regardless of where you are, the bass are feeding up for the winter. Key in on the primary forage baits and look for feeding flats or cover where bass will ambush those bait fish.

    Fall Bass Fishing and Water Temperature



    When the water temperature starts to drop, the bass know the days are getting shorter. That triggers the fall feed. The fish become more active when you get those cool fronts. When the water temperature gets below 70, the fish really begin to feed. As the temperature gets lower, the fish get fewer but the size gets bigger. The cooler the water, often the bigger the fish. You may not have as many bites though. 

    Best Locations for Fall Bass Fishing



    Locating bass in the fall comes down to bait fish and cover. Perch, shad, herring, bluegill, shiners - figure out the bait fish and find out where they are becuase that is where the bass will be set up. Shallow water with a little cover are productive areas where the bass ambush the bait fish. Mud seems to attract bait fish in the fall, so never think you're fishing too shallow.

    Best Baits for Fall Bass Fishing



    Keep 2 things in mind: bait fish or crawfish. No matter where you are in the country, the local bait fish and crawfish are what the bass are after. Rocky banks are a great place to throw crawfish. Imitate the bait and you'll have more success catching fall bass. 

  5. Brandon Palaniuk


    Selecting the Right Bass Fishing Rod



    Brandon Palaniuk breaks down his favorite rod and why his spinning rod is ideal for catching bass.

    Favorite Spring Bass Fishing Baits



    Brandon Palaniuk uses a 2-bait approach when fishing a new body of water. He uses a jerk bait for fishing in and out of cover. When he gets to a specific spot, he chooses a jig that fits the water he's fishing.

    Favorite Bait to Use When Bass Fishing



    The one lure Brandon Palaniuk would use no matter where he's fishing is the Zoom Trick Worm. It can be used with a lot of different rigs and with so many techniques. It's offered in many different colors so it will work no matter when or where you're fishing.

    Fluorocarbon vs. Braided Fishing Line



    Choosing line can be tricky because there are a lot of different options. Consider the cover and the stretch of your line when selecting what to use. Generally, for soft cover, you'll want braided line and for hard cover, use fluorocarbon.

  6. Gerald Swindle


    Winter Jig Fishing Tips



    Water temperature and clarity controls bait selection. For Gerald Swindle, the colder the water, the less action he wants with his bait.

    Winter Jerkbait Fishing



    Winter jerkbait fishing is all about the rod. Make sure your rod is the right size for you to control and drive rhythm for your bait.

    Winter Crankbait Fishing



    When the water temperature cools off, think flat. The flatter crankbaits catch more bass. They have tight action and cast well. The bait fish are cold, so your bait should be too.

    Favorite Bait to Use When Bass Fishing



    Gerald Swindle's favorite bait is a 3/8 ounce Ballin Out Jig by Buckeye, brown and green. You want the weed guard strong and a color that works almost anywhere. The green pumpkin Zoom Z-craw Junior is his trailer. He gets bites with this setup.

  7. Bill Lowen


    Favorite Bait for Bass Fishing Year Round



    The one bait Bill Lowen would choose for the rest of his career is the Strike King Pro Model 4 to 3.5-inch flipping tube. It can be used everywhere from Canada to Florida for all three species of bass, in shallow or deep water, grass, laydowns, flipping, rigged weightless or weighted for offshore. This bait is very versatile and Bill Lowen's favorite bass bait. 

    How to Tie a Weedless Palomar Knot



    Here is Bill Lowen's tip for fishing grassy lakes. Keep grass off the tip of your jig with a palomer knot fishined off with his special technique.

    How to Choose the Right Bass Fishing Line



    How do you select line for fishing in heavy cover? Always try to use the lightest line possible. The more action you can get out of your bait, the more bites you're going to trigger. The lighter the line, the more action. Don't sacrifice by going too light. 17-20 pound line is Bill Lowen's go-to for heavy cover. 

    Shallow Water Bass Fishing Tips



    Bill Lowen is known as a shallow-water angler 365 days a year. That's where he is comfortable. Concentrate on areas leading into spawning pockets. That's where they stage before they spawn. The first cover on the drop is a good place to key on for shallow-water fishing. The bass will be waiting for those bait fish. From shad to bream, find those bait fish beds and you'll catch quality fish. Creeks with an influx of water are where the big bass like to go in the summer.

    Swim Jig Setup



    A swim jig excels in shallow water. Time of year and water temperature determines Bill Lowen's trailer selection. The cooler the water, the less action he wants. The spawn also determines trailer and color selection. Find out what jig setup works for Bill at different times of year.

  8. Matt Lee


    Favorite Bait to Use When Bass Fishing



    Matt Lee's favorite bass bait no matter where he fishes is a drop shot. He can fish it vertically, cast it, fish on heavy line, pitch around cover...when the bite is tough, it gets bit.

    Best Topwater Frog Fishing Setup



    When using a topwater frog, you want a stiff rod that will work the bait and get it through heavy cover. You'll want to use braided line. Trim the tails down so that you don't have as much hanging off the back. Making it shorter makes it easier to determine a good bite.

    Using Braided Line on a Spinning Reel



    Braided line on a spinning reel prevents a twist and keeps you from having to change out the line. Matt Lee finds it to be much less frustrating than monofilmanet or flurocarbon. 

    Two Perfect Setups for Punching Grass



    Flipping in grass is a lot of fun but can be overwhelming to start. Look for a hard edge and bait fish. Matt Lee shares his bait and rod setups for fishing stained water and water with submerged vegetation. 

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