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It’s Time for Some Bass Fishing

Summer is well underway, and so is the bass fishing.

If it’s smallmouth bass you are after, you are probably better off fishing the river or large streams, and if largemouth bass is your main target, a lake or pond is a good choice.

That’s not to say you can’t catch smallmouths in a lake or largemouths in moving water, but the largemouths prefer the still and slightly warmer water, while smallmouths are more at home in moving water that’s slightly cooler.

One thing that is pretty safe to say when it comes to the catching factor is that both species will often take the same presentations.

Since I don’t keep bass, I prefer to use artificial lures over bait since bass are less likely to swallow the lure and easier to release with less stress.

Without a doubt, one of the most exciting ways to take a bass is on a surface presentation, and early or late in the day are usually the best times to pitch surface lures. Don’t misunderstand, though. I’ve used surface lures in the river throughout the day with great success all day long, and I’ve had some good action mid-day from time to time on lakes for largemouths and a surface plug.

There are a host of surface lures available these days for the bait-caster and spin fishermen, including prop-baits, chuggers, the good old Jitterbug, and the soft plastic weedless rigged frog pattern. That weedless frog lure is great for working around lily pads, weed edges, and wood structures.

The fly fisherman can also score well on surface poppers, and this technique has been very productive on the river for smallmouths at times.

Just recently, my wife and I were out on a local lake where I decided to concentrate my efforts on bass, and since it was mid-day, I decided to go with one of my favorite subsurface lures, the wacky rig. With the wacky rig, you simply use a wide gap hook and hook the soft plastic worm right through the middle, letting both ends dangle. I like to put a plastic O-ring over the worm and then run the hook through the worm and the O-ring; this helps keep the worm from coming apart after it’s been grabbed a number of times. Something else that works well is to slice up the right-sized tube jig lure in quarter-inch pieces and, slide that piece over the worm, and run the hook through the combo.

Often, when fishing subsurface lures like lead head jigs and tubes, we want to set the hook right away when we feel a strike; that’s fine, but with the wacky rig, it’s usually best to hold off a couple of seconds before setting the hook since bass will often grab an end and run before actually gulping the lure.

When my wife and I were out last week, I was able to pick up nine largemouths on the wacky rig. I also had at least four others on, but I was over-anxious, set the hook too soon, and lost them.

There are a host of other presentations that will also take bass, especially if the bottom weeds aren’t too bad, including any number of different jig heads and Ned-rigs rigged with soft plastic grubs or tubes, as well as Texas-rigged plastic worms.

If the weeds are becoming a problem, try a Carolina-rigged worm that will stay above the weeds, depending on how you rig it.

Don’t leave out the lipped crankbaits and jerk baits either; good old-fashioned minnow-type lures like silver and black Rapala have taken a good number of smallmouths while floating slowly downriver.

There’s a lot more presentations that will no doubt put a bend in your rod, but these are some possibilities that will very likely get you off to a good start this summer pursuing bass.